We are in the midst of the holiday travel season, and flight prices are continuing to soar as travelers are keen to take advantage of time with loved ones after the pandemic. Adobe’s research shows that domestic flight bookings in the first 10 months of 2022 have driven $76 billion in online spend compared with $65 billion in the same period in 2019, surpassing pre-pandemic levels. This is not only due to the continued rise in travel demand but also inflation and cuts to the number of flights taking off each day.
Unsurprisingly, Hopper’s Holiday Travel Outlook found that Christmas airfares are 55% higher than last year and 19% higher than before the pandemic.
As we look forward to 2023, travelers are opting for new experiences that provide a deviation from their everyday lives. They’re interested in booking authentic experiences and trips to sustainable destinations, and they want to take a trip of a lifetime NOW from their “Living List.” Booking.com indicates that “whether it’s bottled up energy, pent-up frustration or a new lease on life, the world is ready to dive into other cultures and new experiences head first.”
The following is a summary of trends and industry shifts that MMGY NJF has compiled from recent media feedback, widespread coverage, industry conferences and webinars:
TRENDS IMPACTING THE TRAVEL INDUSTRY
- Expedia Releases 2023 Travel Trends: Expedia recently released their travel trends for 2023, indicating that travelers are ditching the conventional and veering off course for all-new experiences. Next year, travelers will opt to visit cities and urban landscapes, choose to stay in rentals with kitchens, show an increased interest in three-star hotels, be inspired by television shows to book destinations, enjoy rustic getaways and hidden gems, and indulge in a new wave of wellness travel.
- Booking.com Releases 2023 Travel Predictions: Booking.com released its travel predictions for 2023, sharing that people are overwhelmingly more optimistic about traveling in 2023 than they were in 2022. They conclude that off-the-grid vacations, off-the-beaten-path destinations and small-town travel will be at the forefront of 2023 demand. In addition, travelers will be looking for vacations that take them out of their comfort zone, provide a fresh take on wellness and make them feel nostalgic.
- United Kingdom Named Travel + Leisure’s “Destination of the Year”: Travel + Leisure’s editors and contributors crossed England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland in search of what is truly great in the U.K. right now, highlighting the innovative chefs, groundbreaking galleries, majestic landscapes, stylish hotels and cozy pubs that make the nation their pick for “Destination of the Year.”
- Wellness in the New Year: Wellness is always a hot topic as the new year approaches, and with research being published surrounding a continued and growing interest in wellness travel, this will extend into 2023. Destinations and brands should take a look at their offerings and see how they can differentiate themselves with unique programming catered to the wellness traveler.
- Layoffs Hit Major Publications: Many publications have announced layoffs due to challenging economic conditions as a potential recession looms. BuzzFeed announced that it is laying off 12% of its staff, while CNN announced it will be laying off hundreds of employees. In addition, The Washington Post announced it will end its Sunday magazine, laying off the entire team. As editorial staff continues to shrink, content will need to continue to evolve as we move forward into 2023.
- Lifestyle Publications Shift Travel Content to Roundups: MMGY NJF meets with editors every day, learning the ins and outs of their latest focuses and how we can incorporate our clients into their coverage. Brands like Hearst and Trusted Media Brands have indicated that their travel content, when shared in a roundup format, reaches many more readers than long-form feature stories, so they are leaning heavily into shorter, quick-read pieces.
- Some Editors Have to Use Their Own PTO: Not all publications and not all roles allow editors to travel. While some reporters may write travel content for their publication, without a “travel editor” title many are required to use personal PTO to take press trips. Many editors don’t mind doing this, but it’s good to keep in mind when trip pitching and planning – they may be saying no because they just don’t have enough PTO left.
- A Reduced Investment in Video Content: Publications are pulling back on their investment on video, realizing it’s not as easy to make waves in the space as consumers are watching videos on social media but not on a publication’s website. While Instagram reels get more eyes, they aren’t moving the needle for a publication’s reach. Looking at TikTok, it’s becoming evident that individual content creators are outperforming brands on the platform.