2022 was quite a year for travel. As the world adjusted to post Covid-19 travel, and the “new normal” went back to the old normal, travelers were hitting the road and taking to the skies again with great freedom and comfort – but also slimmer wallets, new demands, and plenty of changes in the travel and tourism, including changes with hotels, major shifts in loyalty programs, astronomical airfare and destinations that still feel like ghost towns. Remote work has truly had an impact on the way people travel — they are checking into properties for longer periods — and vacation rentals are outshining traditional hotels as preferred places to stay. When we look at emerging travel trends for 2023, we’re seeing changes that may not be just trends, but permanent fixtures.
One thing that will affect travel trends for 2023 is the rising costs in pretty much anything related to travel: hotels, vacation rentals, airfare, restaurants, Ubers, attractions and more. Since the tourism industry took a massive hit through the pandemic, it only makes sense economically for travel businesses to make up for lost revenue. This means extremely steep prices. The good news is that it’s not stopping travelers from taking vacations. In fact, millions of travelers are already planning trips, which actually helps the travel industry with a projected 20% increase in earnings.
Take a look at our top emerging trends that will impact travel for 2023.
7 emerging travel trends to expect for 2023
1. Travelers will prefer short-term rentals and vacation rentals (such as Airbnb and Vrbo) over big chain hotels.
If you know us, we love vacation rentals. In fact, the benefits of vacation rentals are enormous compared to a hotel (cheaper, more space, kitchens, plenty of outdoor space, more intimacy, better bang for the buck, etc). We even predicted this would happen last year: more travelers will start booking Airbnbs and vacation rentals over chain hotels — and now the proof is in the pudding.
American Express Global Business Travel (Amex GBT) reported that chain hotel rates will significantly rise in 2023. This price surge has been predicted by CNBC as far back as June 2022, well after our prediction emerged. Not only are travelers seeing benefits, the inflation cost will have a bigger impact on hotels than it will independently owned properties.
The short-term rental market is offering more affordable properties in the same places as chain hotels, and we’re seeing major growth in independent accommodations, including Airbnbs, vacation rentals, inns, boutique hotels, B&Bs and unique privately owned properties such as castles and yurts. Even eviivo, a leading property management platform, named the number one PMS by Tech Times, has seen a significant rise and demand. Further, Expedia’s 2021 Q4 Travel Recovery Trend Report showed vacation rentals edged out hotels in popularity for bookings in 2023.
There will be endless options as well. More people are renting out their private spaces and buying second homes to turn into vacation rentals to supplement their income, according to The Wall Street Journal. Airbnb also released data that shows 2022’s rocketship increase in new listings, and new hosts in the US earned over $1.8 billion, up 34% from the previous year.
It’s crystal clear: short-term rental bookings will be hot for 2023.
2. Travelers are SPLURGING, not pinching pennies as other outlets deem.
As we mentioned earlier, travelers are booking despite inflation and rising costs — and they’re actually not holding back when it comes to spending. This is not just our trend: according to Booking.com’s Travel in 2023 report, nearly half of travelers said they will be more indulgent in their vacation spending habits to make up for the lack of travel in the past two years. 72% report traveling will always be worth it with the mood of travelers shifting to “bold adaptability” for 2023.
As a frequent traveler myself, I am now splurging for that amazing suite in a hotel rather than a standard room to treat myself — and to make up for lost travel days. Also, if you KNOW how to look for savings and book smartly at either a hotel or vacation rental, you know that you can always get the price you seek. TRAVELERS have the ball in their court; not hotels. Keep that in mind when you book. You can always negotiate. In any case, this will be one of the top travel trends for 2023.
“We’ve seen a surge in bookings in many of our most luxurious properties across Europe,” says Michele Fitzpatrick, eviivo CEO. “After two years of lockdown, quarantine and a stream of change in tourism infrastructure, travelers are ready to treat themselves no matter the cost, even if it means booking a higher-tier room category from what they normally book. They’re also seeing the added value of staying in a wonderful independent property that offers more space, amenities and privacy versus a chain hotel room, which gives them plenty of reason to splurge.”
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Travel spending is actually 6% above 2019 levels as of December 2022, according to the U.S Travel Association.
It’s not to say travelers won’t consider budget as they travel in 2023, but they will be smarter when booking, including taking advantage of never-before-seen travel deals, participating in loyalty programs, and booking directly on an accommodation’s website to get the best rate. In fact, according to an eviivo survey conducted in August 2022, over 53% global travelers prefer to book their stays directly with the accommodation.
3. The top 5 destinations for 2023 have a theme: relax, relax, relax!
“From our own data, we’ve seen a strong rise in interest and bookings in these picture-perfect, relaxing destinations,” says Jill Walker, Director of Distribution at eviivo, “so, of course, there is proof in the pudding.”
FRANCE. From Paris to Marseille, France is the most sought after destination for 2023, having appeared in almost all the top lists for 2023 travel.
The cities and regions that made lists include: Paris by American Express, Marseille by Lonely Planet, The Jura wine Region by T+L, Megeve by Forbes and the Loire Valley named by Conde Nast Traveler.
UNITED KINGDOM. Not only did Travel + Leisure name the entire country of The United Kingdom on their 2023 list (versus specific cities, towns or regions), Conde Nast Traveler named Wales, Fodor’s named Rye, and both National Geographic and Lonely Planet named Manchester, England as top 2023 destinations, not to mention Time Out also included Manchester as the 4th best UK city to visit in 2023.
We can thank Ted Lasso, The Crown, Enola Holmes, Bridgerton and many other popular British series that have inspired travelers to seek out the UK, as TV-themed itineraries are on the rise, according to The New York Times.
In Expedia Group’s Traveler Value Index 2023, among travelers surveyed from the US, 68% said they considered visiting a destination after seeing it in a show or movie on a streaming platform – and 61% of those travelers booked a trip based on this viewing alone.
PORTUGAL. Portugal is hot for 2023. Conde Nast Traveler US named Melides, Portugal; CN Traveller UK named Lisbon and Madeira; American Express namedLisbon; and Alentejo by Forbes.
NEW MEXICO. Known for its stunning desert landscapes and national parks, New Mexico was named by Lonely Planet as a top 2023 destination, as well as Travel Lemming, a reputable travel website with 6 million unique monthly visitors.
4. Travelers will embrace nature more than cities – but they won’t leave their devices
Travelers more inclined to lighten their luggage, choose trains over planes to reduce their carbon footprint and opt for an “off grid” vacation experience. Sustainable, eco-friendly and responsible travel will gain momentum, especially with millennials and GenXers. With the stress of traveling alone, travelers want simplified travel, and they want peace and quiet. After all, the pandemic truly took a toll on us!
Booking.com’s report revealed almost half of global travelers want their 2023 getaway to have a more “back-to-basics” feel – such as eco-friendly cabins, beaches, forests – but 53% still want phone and internet connection at their destination. So, those resorts where they take your laptops and mobile phones? Sure, they’ll still get booked, but devices are basically “family” now — and we don’t leave our family behind on trips, especially in 2023. This is a big indicator for the “work from roam” trend (see below #7) and why it’s one of the top travel trends for 2023.
5. Wellness will be a priority to improve mental health and healing.
2023 will see the rise of the “culture shook” vacationer, but as we mentioned in #4, people still want peace, quiet, nature and beautiful surroundings, especially post Covid-19. This includes all aspects of wellness and improving mental, physical, emotional and spiritual health. Spas will have their moment, as will silent retreats and experimental wellness (forest bathing, anyone?), including journeys that are lined with spirituality (yes, Burning Man will be a thing this year).
While solo travel is not a trend, it’s definitely been on the rise for people who just want moments for themselves, whether it’s for soul searching or just that need to do some personal development as they come out of Covid-19 and into a brand new era. According to RateGain, a global expert in hospitality data and forecasting and eviivo partner, “solo” travelers were just as high as “couples” over “family” traveler profiles for the busiest days at London Airports in December 2022.
Wellness is going to be quite contagious. Not only will travelers look for it, so will people who WORK in travel.
eviivo, which launched a mobile app in May, surveyed property hosts and boutique hoteliers in a recent report. 91% said a booking and property management mobile app is “extremely important” for running their business – and 47% noted that a mobile app is important for their work-life balance. A 2022 report from Skift and AWS suggests that improving employee experiences in the travel sector has a direct impact on customers.
6. Hospitality technology will be prioritized — and ubiquitous.
Automation is everything, and it is going to dictate how people travel. Think virtual reality and the Metaverse, as well as contactless everything. Travelers will book and manage their vacations through all types of advanced tech, including automated check-in at hotels and properties and booking directly on your phone.
Travelers are starting to see this everywhere. At airports, hotels, attractions, restaurants, you name it. Some hotels even have robots that do things for you, and a lot of luxury hotels have iPads where you can do everything (open curtains, get room service, call for housekeeping, etc) with the touch of a button.
7.“Work from roam” is the new “work from home.”
Even before the pandemic, I worked from home for 20 years. Now, I’ve taken my laptop on the road and go on monthly stints often. I’m glad to see this go viral. Between 2019 and 2021, work from home tripled from 5.7% to 17.9%, according to new data released by the U.S. Census Bureau. As of the second quarter of 2022, Airbnb reported long-term stays (28 days or more) increase nearly 25 percent from 2021 and nearly 90 percent from 2019, according to The New York Times. It’s possibly the most exciting top travel trends 2023.
Remote work is a new normal, and it’s allowing people to “work from roam” so they can work anywhere in the world. If there’s one blessing in disguise from the pandemic, it’s this. We can do our Zoom calls from our laptops, and in-person meetings are on the decline as we are seeing workers actually become more productive when they’re not chained to a desk and in back to back in-person meetings. Best of all? Work from roam allows people to see and explore the world — and that’s why it’s significantly on the rise. The New York Times pointed out employers, countries and travel brands are making it easier for people to work internationally, and more than 20 countries now offer specialized visas to let foreigners live and work remotely within their borders, including Portugal and Spain.
For example Romania, ranked 3rd most attractive country for digital nomads, introduced a digital nomad visa in 2022 making it easier for remote workers to stay 6 months in the country. And since it’s an underrated tourist destination, cheaper than most in Eastern Europe and with the 5th fastest internet in the world, going on a Transylvania tour looking for Dracula seems like a good idea!
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