The world is coming back online, and the travel industry is adjusting to the post-pandemic landscape. As travel returns and travelers’ needs change after navigating more than two years of Covid-19 restrictions, some key trends are emerging that will define 2023.
With international travel set to grow, a big opportunity exists for tour operators to develop packages that combine business with leisure. For example, a foodie-focused tour could be combined with the opportunity for a client to meet their favorite celebrity chef at a restaurant or take part in a cooking class.
Another opportunity is to tap into the growing interest in intimate group travel. As more people are able to return to work and plan vacations, hoteliers and tour companies can appeal to this group by offering small-group experiences. A recent Hilton report found that intimate group travel is becoming the norm for milestone celebrations like birthdays, anniversaries and weddings. This trend will continue to expand, making it critical for hospitality brands to consider how they can appeal to small groups of friends and families who want to experience a destination together.
In a post-pandemic world, more people are considering the culture, environment and other social issues of their potential destinations. According to a 2023 Travel Trends report, nearly half of travelers feel that it is important for them to consider these issues when planning trips.
As the year progresses, travelers are starting to dream of extended long-distance trips again. As a result, more people are booking a trip to a new destination that would have been difficult during the pandemic. This trend will be an opportunity for tour operators to offer package deals that include the cost of airfare as well as accommodation and activities.
With the specter of COVID-19 variants appearing to fade, more businesses are expecting their travel budgets to recover and reach prepandemic levels by 2023. The spring season of live industry events is expected to see better attendance than in fall 2021, as more corporate travelers can make it to conferences.
Travelers are also rethinking what “wellness” means and looking for accommodations, destinations and authentic travel experiences that address their holistic wellness. This is particularly true of younger generations who prioritize emotional and mental well-being as much as physical fitness.
The industry is finally starting to walk its talk on sustainability. In a survey of 11,000 global travelers, more than half said they were willing to pay more for sustainable travel options. Several innovations are popping up that can help the industry make this happen, from hotels that are designed to be carbon-neutral at all stages of their lifecycle to companies that allow travelers to search for properties using a filter that includes the word “sustainable.” With so many options available, the future looks bright for these travel trends to continue to drive growth for decades to come.