8 Significant Travel Trends to Expect This Year

Girl witnesses a Northern Ireland stunning coastal landscape from a window – Best things to do in Northern Ireland

It’s official: Travel is back. 

2022 marked a return to form for travel and tourism – and while there may be rising costs globally, it’s not stopping travelers from taking vacations and exploring the world. In fact, 2023 is promising, with millions of travelers already planning trips and a projected 20% increase in earnings for the global tourism sector.

Through internal data, research, and surveys with global partners and customers, as well as key data from industry experts, eviivo, a leading travel tech company that works with over 20,000 unique, notable, and luxury accommodations globally – from boutique hotels to Airbnbs and vacation rentals –  released key insights to determine the top travel trends for 2023.

Take a look at our top trends that travelers, as well as employees in hospitality and property owners, boutique hoteliers, and hosts, should expect next year.

1. Travelers will continue to prefer short-term rentals over big chain hotels.

According to American Express Global Business Travel (Amex GBT), chain hotel rates will significantly rise in 2023. In fact, this price surge has been predicted by CNBC as far back as June 2022, primarily because the hotel industry needs to compensate for losses during Covid-19 and stay competitive with current inflation costs. 

Meanwhile, the short-term rental market, offering more affordable properties in the same locations as chain hotels, is seeing explosive growth in independent accommodations, including Airbnbs, vacation rentals, inns, boutique hotels, B&Bs, and unique privately owned properties such as castles and yurts. 

Further, Expedia’s 2021 Q4 Travel Recovery Trend Report showed vacation rentals edged out hotels in popularity for future bookings. 

This trend affects both travelers and property owners. 

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 indicating 2022 saw a significant increase in new listings, and new hosts in the US earned over $1.8 billion, up 34% from the previous year. 

With the rise in travel costs, short-term rental bookings will continue to benefit both the traveler and independent accommodation owners through 2023.

2. No, inflation is not forcing travelers to pinch pennies — many are actually splurging

While inflation feels like a mountain, travelers are climbing it and won’t be intimated. In fact, according to Booking.com’s Travel in 2023 report, nearly half of the travelers admitted they will be more indulgent in their vacation spending habits to make up for the lack of travel in the past two years. The main reason? A whopping 72% report traveling will always be worth it with the mood of travelers shifting to “bold adaptability” 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.”

According to the U.S. Travel Association, travel spending is 6% above 2019 levels as of December 2022.

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% of global travelers prefer to book their stays directly with the accommodation. 

3. The top 5 destinations for 2023 are all about relaxation, exploration, and inspiration.

Most major travel publications have released their top travel destinations for 2023. 

These five destinations below overlapped the most in the reports, indicating they are high on the best places to visit in 2023 according to American Express 2023 Trending Destinations, Lonely Planet, Travel + Leisure, Fodor’s, Conde Nast Traveler, and Forbes.

“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 named Lisbon; 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. 

GERMANY. Munich is seeing explosive growth in travel, according to Expedia Group’s Traveler Value Index 2023, and Lonely Planet named Dresden as a top 2023 destination. 

4. Travelers will return to nature – but without being completely unplugged.

Sustainable, responsible, and rural travel will continue to gain momentum in 2023, with travelers more inclined to lighten their luggage, choose trains over planes to reduce their carbon footprint and opt for an “off-grid” vacation experience.

Almost half of the global travelers want their 2023 getaway to have a more “back-to-basics” feel – think eco-friendly cabins, huts, and yurts – but 53% still want a phone and internet connection at their destination. 

We also found in our internal data that travelers are increasingly seeking a combination of city and nature.

For example, NYC Glamping, a trending, unique property right on the East River in Brooklyn, New York, offers the one-of-a-kind experience of staying in a well-appointed (and of course, Instagrammable) industrial shipping container with breathtaking sunrise and sunset views.

“We’ve noticed a trend of travelers wanting to get back to nature, but not being completely unplugged or too far away from city life,” says NYC Glamping manager Lana Surzhivoka. “The general feedback is a sense of relief… they get to experience something new and they don’t even need to leave NYC!”

The property is among thousands in the eviivo collection where guests can be completely removed in unfurled natural settings — while having the instant gratification of high-speed Wifi, top-notch cell service, and high-tech amenities in the property. 

5. Wellness and improving quality of life are fueling 2023 travel.

2023 will see the rise of the “culture shock” vacationer, as more people are embracing completely new and novel experiences in their travel journeys — but they still want wellness as the main driver for their trip, especially post-COVID-19. This includes overall wellness, spa, relaxation, and spiritual journeys.

It’s why solo travel has been on the rise for solitude and soul searching, and the number of solo travelers reserving trips for 2023 is up 24% compared to 2019. 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.

Global travelers are seeking silent retreats and experimental wellness experiences for 2023, with more than two-fifths wanting a “health hiatus,” so accommodations offering meditation, yoga, or just the promise of simplicity with a beautiful view will continue to trend.

“Guests crave a curated, framed experience that helps them slow down, sign off, breathe deeply, listen, know again from one’s own sense,” says Raymond Linam, owner of Desert Harbor Retreat in New Mexico and Eviivo customer. “In a world of seemingly unlimited options, we find guests repeatedly – and surprisingly to them – find nurture in the narrowing.”

Independent accommodation owners and hosts are focusing on their well-being, too – including automating their business to improve their work-life balance, reduce stress, and enhance their quality of life. 

An Eviivo survey conducted in April 2022, in partnership with SurveyMonkey, polled 1,000 property hosts, owners, and boutique hoteliers specializing in short-term rentals and independent accommodations. The response was clear: 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. It’s why eviivo launched eviivo Mobile in May 2022 to help simplify their lives. eviivo Mobile essentially mirrors the award-winning eviivo Suite right in the palm of their hand.

Convenience for our customers was our biggest factor in launching eviivo Mobile, as was prioritizing health,” says Eric White, eviivo’s Chief Technology Officer. “We don’t want our customers sitting behind a desk all day. With attention turning to improved mental health and quality of life, we want property owners and hosts to go explore, be outdoors, visit family and friends, and truly live life.

Furthermore, a 2022 report from Skift and AWS suggests that improving employee experiences in the travel sector has a direct impact on customers. Of the travel executives surveyed, more than half stated that the most impactful digital strategy to help attract and retain employees would be an investment in modernized employee software.

6. Hospitality technology will be prioritized — and ubiquitous.

We’d be remiss not to mention the rise of virtual reality and the Metaverse as it pertains to travel in 2023 and beyond. While most people say virtual-only trips leave too much to be desired at present, 46% admit they would be more likely to travel to new places after visiting them virtually.

As virtual touch points are now expected on vacations, travelers should be able to book, preview and manage their trips through elevated, enhanced technology, such as easy-to-use apps, but also on-premises, like automated check-in at a property.

Future-forward tech is not only crucial for guests, but also for hoteliers, B&B owners and vacation rental hosts who want a clean virtual throughline for their property management system (PMS) to manage remotely. In eviivo’s mobile survey, 84% of respondents said they want to be able to monitor and access their business anytime, anywhere, and always at their fingertips.

Thus, eviivo Mobile launched in May 2022 further automates and revolutionizes the booking and property management process — and over 80% of customers have downloaded the app, a true testament to demand.

7. “Work from roam” is the new “work from home.”

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, and in the UK, remote workers skyrocketed in the past two years. As of the second quarter of 2022, Airbnb saw long-term stays (28 days or more) increase by nearly 25 percent from 2021 and nearly 90 percent from 2019. 

Remote work gave people the possibility to “work from roam,” where they could virtually work from anywhere in the world. This not only allows them to work remotely, but continue to explore the world, meet new people, and get inspired.

“‘Work from roam’ is not a trend; it’s a new normal that’s here to stay,” says Michele Fitzpatrick, eviivo CEO. “Our customers are seeing much longer stays and bookings from guests who are toting laptops and setting up their ‘office’ in their room, balcony, or by the pool, wherever they feel inspired. Travelers are increasingly working outside their actual homes since they have the freedom, and it’s become a lot easier to do so. ”

“Work from roam” is indeed rising across the globe. According to The New York Times, employers, countries and travel brands are making it easier for people to work from anywhere in the world, and more than 20 countries now offer specialized visas to let foreigners live and work remotely within their borders, including Portugal and Spain. 

In a 2022 Conde Nast Traveler summit focused on the future of travel, panelist Perry Cohen, founder and executive director of the Venture Out Project, commented on the phenomenon as it pertains to younger people: “It’s the post-college age where people are working from home and looking for friends but don’t have a way to meet new people — they are booking organized group trips to meet people and make friends.”

A group of young people sitting on Baleal beach

 

8. Artificial Intelligence is taking the world by storm

The Future of Travel Bookings

AI is expected to disrupt the digitalized travel bookings industry in the near future.

Leading travel brands such as Expedia, Kayak, OpenTable, TripAdvisor, GetYourGuide, Klook, and Trip.com have already embraced ChatGPT and integrated it into their platforms, offering personalized recommendations, virtual travel assistance, and itinerary planning.

This integration of generative AI into the travel booking process has the potential to revolutionize how travelers plan and book their trips. Thanks to real-time data availability through plug-ins like Microsoft Bing, the travel industry is on the brink of a major transformation.

Addressing Concerns and Embracing Automation

While the adoption of generative AI holds immense promise, concerns regarding consumer privacy, misinformation, bias, and inequality need to be addressed.

The rise of generative AI will likely lead to increased automation across all stages of the customer journey in the travel industry. However, it is essential for travel brands to strike a balance between embracing automation and preserving the human touch in travel and hospitality.

Only those who embrace this balance can truly thrive in this era of digital transformation. By addressing concerns and proactively implementing measures to ensure consumer privacy, mitigate misinformation, eliminate bias, and promote equality, the travel industry can navigate the challenges associated with AI adoption.

Embracing automation should not come at the expense of the human touch that makes travel and hospitality truly special. Finding the right balance between technology and human interaction will be crucial in creating unforgettable experiences for travelers while maintaining the authenticity and personal connection that sets the industry apart.

As the travel industry continues to evolve with the integration of generative AI, it is imperative to prioritize the safety, security, and satisfaction of travelers, ensuring that technology enhances, rather than replaces, the human element.

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