What is influencing global travel in 2023? Consumer travel behavior is evolving and adapting to the wider economic market. We aim to uncover that in our Global Travel Trends Study 2023.
Travel is back on the agenda and people are busy making holiday plans. But there’s a significant change in the way we travel. We reveal the six major trends from our latest Global Travel Trends Study here.
A quick overview
Increasing costs and the threat of inflation have led to changing consumer travel attitudes. Personalized travel is gaining traction over all-inclusive holidays. Business trips are shorter with more train journeys instead of flights. Sustainable holidays are popular with holidaymakers willing to pay more for sustainable options.
Top six global travel trends to look out for in 2023
These six trends can be divided into four categories:
Summer holiday bookings
Cost-of-living shifts consumer priorities
Our study finds a large majority of people (84 percent) are making holiday plans and not deterred by higher prices. However, around one in five will not go on vacation, with financial constraints being a major reason. This number is down compared to previous years. The rising cost-of-living is driving people to focus on spending on essentials and traveling outside peak holiday seasons.
Holidaymakers in the UK and the Netherlands are the most likely to have already booked their holidays. Conversely, those in the US are the most likely to not have booked a holiday.
- Inflation drives advance booking
Consumer booking lead time has remained unchanged from 2022 with 41 percent of holidaymakers booking their holidays more in advance than last year. The fear of inflation influences people toward more advance booking – 37 percent want to avoid inflation-driven price hikes. 38 percent of advance bookers do it to benefit from attractive booking deals and 25 percent fear everything will be sold out, so they book their holidays early.
- The rise of personalized travel
Through our research we have seen a rise in popularity of personalized trips. Our study shows that more consumers are opting for personalized holidays over all-inclusive ones.
Half of holidaymakers in the US selected a personalized trip for their most recent holiday. Across all markets, personalized trips have increased by five percent, up from 28 percent in 2022.
While preference to organize and book a holiday through a travel agent has remained unchanged from 2022 to 2023. Travel agents are more prevalent in the UK and UAE. In contrast, most holidaymakers in France prefer to book themselves.
Segmented travel spending
Despite inflation, consumers’ leisure travel budget in 2023 is anticipated to increase by eight percent. But inflation has given rise to three types of travelers – splurge, cautious, and stable. Where the splurge travelers plan to spend 20 percent more on average this year, the cautious ones plan to spend six percent less. The stable travelers’ budget will remain the same.
Splurge travelers show an inclination toward personalized trips whereas cautious and stable travelers lean more toward all-inclusive holiday packages. The rising popularity of personalized holidays can be perceived with bookings going from 42 percent last year to 60 percent this year.
In 2023, holidaymakers are planning to curb costs when it comes to souvenirs and local experiences. However, they will generally spend more on food and accommodation.
Strained business travel
Business travel budgets are scaling back. One in five respondents are not traveling for work. For those who do travel, the business trips are shorter. Companies are also changing their travel policies with nearly two out of three now encouraging employees to travel by train. This recent adjustment is seen more in the Netherlands, France, and the US.
Embracing sustainable travel as a new norm
Sustainability is a vital lifestyle choice for many and those who wish to travel sustainably are willing to pay extra for it. Our research shows that nearly one in three holidaymakers are ready to pay more for sustainable options.
UAE (46 percent) and the US (33 percent) are the most willing to pay more for holidays that meet environmental sustainability expectations. Holidaymakers are prepared to spend on average 55 percent higher on sustainable food, accommodation, and flights. In general, however, only 20 percent would agree to pay for carbon emission charges on flights.
Why these trends matter
Despite inflation and rising costs, the excitement for travel is still ongoing. Holidaymakers who plan to raise their holiday budget in 2023 expect to do so by almost a fifth, compared to 2022.
However, the different trends indicate how consumers are behaving during the holiday season. By understanding these tendencies and planning for them, businesses can be well-prepared to meet consumer needs.
For example, in the two trends – personalized trips and sustainable travel – there is great opportunity for the leisure, travel, and tourism sector to explore. Tour operators and travel agencies can offer curated trips to holidaymakers and create personalized pricing around those.
Another opportunity for the sector is around sustainable holidays. Businesses must build a strategy around green holidays and focus on pricing them correctly.
Interested in a deeper look at our Global Travel Trends Study? Reach out to us here.