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Flexibility, preventing overtourism, wellness will be this year’s travel trends, Expedia says

  • Buzz
  •   01-20-2022  9:23 am
  •   Pax Global Media
Flexibility, preventing overtourism, wellness will be this year’s travel trends, Expedia says
Expedia’s Traveller Value Index for 2022 is out. (File photo/Ethan Robertson)
Pax Global Media

After two years of enduring a global pandemic, people value travel and personal time more than ever, according to a new outlook study released by Expedia Group on Thursday (Jan. 20).

Travellers have also started to adapt to the realities of COVID-19, ranking flex travel at the top of their priorities and focusing intently on travelling for good, including taking steps such as tipping industry workers more and choosing less crowded destinations to limit effects of overtourism, Expedia says.

These are just some of the findings in Expedia’s Traveller Value Index: 2022 Outlook, which was done in collaboration with Wakefield Research among 5,500 adults across eight countries using Expedia Brands proprietary data.

The report underscores the resilience of the travel industry and reveals how travel companies can adapt to achieve a competitive advantage in this rapidly evolving environment.

“Travel is about to experience a year unlike ever before as people plan purpose-driven trips, value vacation time more, and up their investment in unique experiences,” said Ariane Gorin, president, Expedia for business. “Still, travellers are preparing themselves for possible trip changes as COVID-19 persists, and they want an array of options at their fingertips. Travel companies that prioritize safety and wellbeing, innovative solutions, and transparent communication will be the clear leaders as the entire industry shifts from survival mode into accelerated demand and growth.”

Wellness trips

There will be a “surge” in travel for personal wellness, Expedia reports, as the pandemic forced people to reflect on the importance of spending time with family and preserving their own personal wellbeing.

According to the study, most people (81%) plan to take at least one vacation with family and friends in the next six months, and the majority are seeking quick doses of adventure, with more than three quarters (78%) expressing an interest in frequent short trips.

Similarly, the Expedia 2022 Travel Trends Report found that nearly half (41%) of Canadian travellers are searching for a sense of contentment and mental wellbeing on their next trip.

The “new world” of working

The new world of work will alter traveller priorities too, the study says.

As companies prepare to return to the office and evolve remote work policies, employees are looking to make greater use of their vacation time, and in some cases, combine work and play.

More than half (56%) of those who often work remotely will take a “bleisure” style trip — extending a work trip for leisure, or vice versa.

The 2022 Vrbo Trend Report also found that, compared to pre-COVID, 84% of U.S. families have a greater appreciation for vacation time and 77% have a greater appreciation for separating professional and personal life.

The post-pandemic boom

Investment in travel will “boom” compared to pre-pandemic, the study finds.

More than half (54%) of respondents say they plan to spend more on trips than they did prior to the pandemic.

Two in five (40%) plan to use loyalty points for at least part of a trip in 2022, with Gen Z in the lead.

Responsible, sustainable travel

People will travel more responsibly and consciously, with an increased focus on sustainability, Expedia says.

Over half of people (59%) are willing to pay more fees to make a trip sustainable, and 49% would choose a less crowded destination to reduce effects of overtourism.

Nearly half (43%) will add in extra time for services and transit, helping to minimize long lines, stress on workers, and missed flights.

Deals + flexibility

Travellers are also expected to be on the hunt for great deals and flexibility, the research shows.

This trend was seen in the What Travellers Want and Traveller Value Index.

Almost all (84%) respondents agree that a discounted fee is influential when booking a flight online. A nearly identical percentage (83%) say flexible fare options makes a world of difference.

The full report can be downloaded here. It contains more data from the study and actionable steps for travel companies based on the findings to help to grow traveller loyalty, trust, and business in 2022.

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