Family vacations. Corporate trips. In many ways, travel is back! In July 2022, spending on travel surpassed 2019 levels for the third consecutive month. Emerging trends show that travelers are making decisions with purpose in mind. These five recent travel trends are shaping the industry.
Travel trend #1: Customers pairing corporate travel with leisure travel
Corporate travel remains a crucial part of a business, in a new way. Travel for employee networking and training is replacing all the reasons corporations used to travel. In this new model of remote work, companies are recognizing that purposeful, in-person interaction increases morale, facilitates networking, and supports skill development.
A recent study by FinancesOnline found that over half of international business travelers extend their work trips to take advantage of their destination, tacking on a few days of personal time at the front or back end of their trip. Two-day business trips can become weeklong ventures filled with business, sightseeing, and independent travel. Those planning corporate travel have been looking to destinations that provide a balance of a comfortable work environment and local flavor.
Travel trend #2: Rise in the importance of sustainable travel
Sustainable travel is a growing trend that maximizes the benefits of tourism while minimizing negative consequences on the environment. A recent Vacationer article reported that nearly 90% of Americans said sustainable travel is either somewhat important or very important to them. This growing trend stems from practical actions you can take before, during, and after your trip to prioritize environmental sustainability and local community investment. As a result, many established tourism brands are partnering with local vendors and non-profits while promoting their carbon offsets.
To fulfill this responsibility, some are choosing to travel locally to reduce their carbon impact and contribute to their own local economy. Others are still participating in international travel, but are choosing destinations such as Costa Rica. Named one of the most sustainable countries, Costa Rica produces nearly 93% of its electricity from renewable sources, and 30% of its territory consists of protected natural land.
Travel trend #3: Multigenerational family travel is on the rise
From cruises to road trips to international travel, families are eager to make up for lost time. Multigenerational family travel is rising in popularity again. According to a recent Zicasso report, bookings for trips of six or more people grew 57% from 2019 to 2022. Many family travelers are booking residential rentals rather than hotel rooms to provide their family with more space and amenities.
According to a recent Tripadvisor report, most families believe that traveling requires more planning ahead nowadays. The pandemic has changed the way families plan their vacations and removing stress from travel planning is a priority. Many families now choose destinations within driving distance of their home as a result. Instead of their routine family vacation, many families are considering more frequent vacations to new local destinations.
Travel trend #4: Increase in solo travelers
Rather than waiting on a partner, friend, or family member to embark on a much-needed getaway, people are also traveling solo with more frequency. Those who travel on their own are free to explore the destination their way while prioritizing their own personal interests and passions.
Some experienced solo travelers are ready to meet other people on destination package tours. Meeting up with others on organized trips allows solo travelers to introduce themselves to other like-minded individuals. Organized travel groups also take on all of the planning with the travel itinerary, allowing peace of mind to the travelers.
Travel trend #5: Increased willingness to spend on dream European destinations
For many, dream destinations are no longer just a fantasy. Spending on travel is surpassing pre-pandemic levels, with European destinations continuing to be a strong draw. Italy, Greece, France, and Spain being in the top four, as found by a recent Zicasso report. Availability to book flights and hotels for most of Europe is scarce due to high demand and the continued rebooking of postponed trips.
Compared to 2019, travelers are willing to pay more for their dream trip, including for upgraded hotels, private guides, and high-end experiences. The average spend for tailor-made trips is up 27% compared to 2019. Inflation is contributing to the increase, but much of it is driven by a desire for next-level experiences.
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Editorial note: This article was originally published on October 7, 2019, and has been updated for this publication.