2022 was a challenging year for travelers. Inflation reached 9.1% and airline tickets were up a whopping 25% with cancelations and disruptions plaguing the airlines. More on that a bit later. The good news is that travelers have not been deterred and seem willing to pay what it takes to get away. As a result, travel in 2022 reached 81% of the pre-pandemic level and is expected to reach 96% in 2023. Here’s what you can expect in 2023 as travel continues to rebound.
Post Covid travel spending continues to grow and according to an Expedia survey 68% of those surveyed said they are ready to “go big” on their next vacation. Destination analysts found that the average travel budget in 2022 was almost $4,000 and is expected to grow in 2023.
The pent-up demand is still huge, and vacationers are excited to travel more and stay longer in the future.
2022 was a tough year for air travel with cancellations and flight delays industry wide. That set the stage for unhappy customers who became very careful about who they will book with in the future. Even with rising inflation, 63% of the people surveyed said they would pay more for a better customer experience.
More importantly, 76% stated that just one bad experience was enough to stop doing business with a travel partner. So, if you want brand loyalty, you need to deliver on the promise and exceed expectations.
Almost 60% of the people planning travel next year want to stay in America and 58% will be making their trip by car. This doesn’t come as a surprise with all the air travel issues recently.
Warm weather destination are the winners with Orlando and Maui on top of the list though Maui is tough to get to by car. The takeaway for Destination Marketing Organizations (DMOs) is to focus efforts on nearby target audiences and maximize local search.
Camping has exploded along with the associated outdoor industries. 2021 saw a 500% increase in campsite bookings. That is incredible growth and industry experts expect it to continue over the next several years.
Another trend in 2022 that is expected to continue in 2023 is eco-friendly travel or sustainable tourism. Travelers want to feel good about the impact they have on the environment, the economy, and the social fabric of an area. Over 80% want sustainable accommodations and savvy DMOs will highlight their eco-friendly features to attract this market segment.
DMOs ad spending is off to the races and climbed 36% in 2022 after an increase of 24% in 2021. Analysts project that the 2023 travel industry spend on advertising will exceed 2019 levels. It’s all fueled by pent-up consumer demand and the excitement of shedding covid restrictions from the past 3 years.
Savvy marketers will funnel the increased spending into creating relationships with new customers who also come with a new set of concerns. Now it’s more than just a price consideration, it’s what they can expect from their destinations and travel partners. Are refunds available? What safety measures are in place? Make your FAQs easy to find to avoid customer frustration.
In addition to the overall increase in ad spend, DMOs will be spending more on technology to address the jump in demand. WTM and Travel Forward report a 39% increase in DMO tech spending.
It’s important to take advantage of all the 1st party data you can get. A survey of buyer experience from Invoca showed that 63% of travelers made a phone call during their purchasing journey in 2022. That’s a gold mine of 1st party data that allows you to optimize marketing and deliver a 1st class customer experience.
Travel continues to rebound and will approach 2019 levels in 2023. That’s great news for the industry, though that opportunity also brings with it challenges. MediaOne Digital is here to help our travel destination partners make the most of the year ahead. We wish you all a healthy, happy and prosperous New Year!