With vaccines widely available, the travel industry is experiencing a strong recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic. With bleisure (business plus leisure) back on the rise, sustainable travel is also gaining momentum as more travelers seek to minimize their impact on the environment and local communities. In addition, the growing interest in off-the-beaten path destinations continues to provide a unique opportunity for travelers to find more authentic and personal experiences. These trends are shaping the future of the travel industry, and travel professionals should consider them when developing their 2023 business plans.
With travel-related concerns gradually fading, corporate travel leaders will focus more on the bottom line this year as they plan their budgets and programs. While health risks and directly pandemic-driven factors remain top barriers to travel, they are less of a concern than in 2021. However, increased travel prices are a major deterrent that is expected to push against corporate travel growth this year and into 2023.
A new generation of travelers is taking a fresh approach to travel, prioritizing their well-being and connecting with nature as they set out on their next adventures. This group is redefining the concept of luxury and expects their travel companies to share their values of sustainability and environmental responsibility. Travel brands that align with the needs of this demographic will attract new customers and hold a competitive edge in the future.
Travelers want to feel like they’ve gotten value for their money, and this is particularly true when it comes to hotel stays. Amid a resurgence in wellness-based getaways, guests are seeking hotels that offer healthy dining options and fitness classes on-site to help them get the most out of their time away from home. As the demand for value grows, hotel brands are offering more and better amenities to stand out from their competitors, including in-room wellness kits with everything from water bottles to yoga mats.
As business travel recovers, companies will continue to look for ways to reduce costs by increasing productivity. One way to do this is through remote work, as more employees are choosing to combine work with travel by working from home or other locations around the world. In fact, some are even redefining their jobs and careers by becoming digital nomads who move between destinations every few months.
While a strong recovery is underway, the travel industry will face challenges this year as it attempts to rebuild itself following two lean years and a labor crunch. As a result, travelers may encounter higher-than-normal travel frustrations in 2023, including chaotic airports, long TSA lines, and limited airline options. In order to improve the travel experience, both suppliers and travelers will have to work together to create a more seamless and productive process. This will be key to ensuring that the next generation of travelers is able to enjoy the full benefits of travel when they start planning their own journeys in 2023 and beyond.