2022 was a year full of contrasting opportunities and challenges for the travel sector: from a substantial rebound in the first half of the year to economic shifts in the latter, never has there been more importance placed on keeping abreast of the changes occurring in this fast-paced industry.
Now as we explore the next twelve months and all the challenges and opportunities that it will bring, we must also consider: which travel trends will define 2023, and who are the travellers behind the bookings?
In this article, we focus on the top four types of traveller who will continue to shape the industry for travel providers and hoteliers like yourselves this year.
The Gen Z Traveller
As the youngest demographic able to book their own travels (the oldest being born in 1997), the title ‘Gen Z’ represents an audience that has been largely untapped – at least, until recently. That said, there is much that we already know about Gen Z; namely, the importance of understanding their psychographics to win them over as clients.
What matters to the ordinary Gen Z-er? As a generation that is most defined by its desire for equality, diversity, and continually rising climate change, Gen Z-ers will undoubtedly be considered tourists. In conclusion, Gen Z-ers will be extremely demanding tourists, but with a list of expectations to rival the most discerning travellers.
Although some might unfairly view the Gen Z crowd as high maintenance, savvy advisors understand that conscientiousness is a boon. According to a study by YouGov, Gen Z-ers are likely to spend more on travel versus other demographics (followed by Millennials), while a different study suggests that they have the greatest intention of travelling internationally – even in the face of economic instability. And with long-haul destinations such as Japan and South Korea open for exploration, now is the perfect time to capitalize on a demand for far-flung escapes beloved by these fresh-faced explorers.
Where you as hoteliers will succeed is by showcasing how your property caters to their ideals: flexibility, personalization (where possible), and offering appealing rates for short-term vacations over long-term deals, as it’s suggested that Gen-Z prefer multiple quick-stop visits over fewer, longer trips.
This, plus being showcased in a global portfolio of ancillary products, in the hands of skilled travel providers such as travel agencies and tour operators, will help you capture the attention of this all-important traveller profile. This is where partnering with a global distribution company, like us at Hotelbeds, is so pivotal to increasing your exposure as the perfect choice for this traveller profile.
With access to global source markets and hard-to-reach segments, our 71,000+ travel bookers get your properties into the hands of your ideal audiences, to effectively maximize your occupancy.
The Luxury Traveller
Did you know that 43% of travellers are planning to increase their travel budget in 2023, even in spite of a looming recession?
Luxury travel is sure to be one of the trends that should be at the forefront of your attention as hoteliers, alongside other unmissable travel trends set to shape the industry this year. Post-pandemic, there has been a strong sense of increased appetite for travel, with 46% of respondents in a recent study by OTA Expedia stating that travel is more important to them than ever before. In times when customers are prioritizing getting away and are willing to spend more, it’s key that as hotel owners, you are seeking to get in plain sight of these eager travellers.
The luxury market is most likely to remain profitable even in times of a potential economic downturn. Should you be able to target this particular sector, the rewards are undoubtedly: according to luxury service provider Virtuoso, travellers are planning to increase their expenditures by 34% in 2023 equating to an average spending of $27,800.
However, like the similarly-astute Gen Z crowd, luxury travelers are keen to express that ‘(travel experiences) that best fit [my] expectations are more important than price’ – in fact, a massive 75% agreed with the sentiment. But what exactly does that mean? Anticipated trends for the luxury market in 2023 include trips to in-demand destinations such as Japan, Italy and Montenegro; solo endeavors including regenerative yoga retreats or spa weekends; yachting holidays, cultural immersion and, as is the case with most traveler demographics, sustainable escapes.
Understanding the leading trends in the luxury market for 2023 will be critical to a successful campaign, but also equally as important is knowing exactly who these luxury travellers are. According to Forward Keys, customers from the USA, Germany, and the UK are among the biggest spenders – and one of the best ways to capture their attention is to be part of the only-curated Star Collection Program.
Designed to optimize the business potential of hand-picked hoteliers - whether that’s hotel chains, unique properties or multi-hotel chains - our Star Collection enhances the visibility of your property on non-competing platforms and gives you access to our global sales network. And because we partner with thousands of knowledgeable, skilled travel providers, your properties can be delivered to in-market end travellers through bespoke consultations!
If you’re not already one of our exclusive hotel partners, register now today
to start scaling your visibility ahead of this all-important year for the travel industry.
The Experiential Traveller
If there is one industry buzzword you’ll be unable to escape in 2023, it’s experiential.
Otherwise, referred to as ‘immersion travel’, experiential travel is a type of tourism in which travelers aim to get ‘more’ from their trip, by way of more authentic experiences and engagement with their host country – whether that’s its environment or its people.
So what is the appeal of experiential travel? Much like the phenomenon of revenge travel, experiential travel has gained considerable popularity and weight amongst travellers as they seek to remedy the ‘loss’ over the last few years as a result of closed borders or travel restrictions. It is evident that the global pandemic has caused a shift in priorities for many travellers as now, more than ever, they are eager to ‘feel the world’. Experiential travel resolves this desire for authentic connection, and slower-paced trips.
Popular methods to regain this sense of connection include cultural immersion, food tours, wildlife encounters and active holidays – in short, travellers are seeking to awaken their senses.
The Sustainable Traveller
Sustainability has been a staple of the travel agenda for some time now, including here at Hotelbeds, from the ‘Green Hotel’ filter that allows travel bookers using our booking platforms to deliver eco-hotels to their markets, to our Plastic-Free Hotels initiative and Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) commitments, we know that our industry can be a force for good.
With an estimated 90% of consumers actively looking for sustainable options when travelling, embracing this all-important trend is going to be key to the survival of our planet, and the success of your business.
Defining ‘sustainability’ and delivering on its many facets is a challenge that many organizations struggle with. However, to improve on the universal understanding of what sustainability really means, one of the best and most appropriate ways to do this is to turn to travellers themselves, as they are shaping the industry with their expectations and booking behaviours.
According to TripAdvisor, one of the 5 most common points in customer reviews for 2022 referred to the elimination of single-use plastics, providing evidence that this is an absolute priority for travellers. That being said, sustainability isn’t just limited to solar-powered hotels and plastic-free initiatives; being truly sustainable refers to the ways that the travel industry as a collective is able to support local economies by engaging with communities. It refers to the responsibility of the industry to change the ‘norms’, and provide ground-breaking ways for travellers to experience the world without contributing to climate pressures.
Consider how you as hoteliers are working within the area local to your properties - whether you have a unique location or operate in multiple destinations - and how you’re also offering eco-friendly schemes for your employees, not just the final traveller.
While there is a notable increase in luxury travellers who can comfortably afford the higher price tag that comes with industry-leading sustainability; are you also catering for travellers who want to make good decisions but are restricted by where their wallet can take them?
It’s key that you’re keeping ahead of your competitors when it comes to sustainable focus - especially considering that sustainable travel is not only a fast-growing and impactful trend, but also necessary to ensure the longevity of the travel industry.
We hope that this has been an insightful article, and that you’re feeling more inspired than ever to tackle 2023 travel and attract the right customers to your properties. Starting 2023 off by catering for these all-important traveller profiles is a key way to securing your bookings and capitalizing on increasing demand. And we’re here to facilitate that as your travel partner!