Shorter stays with action-packed itineraries
Travelers are ready to expand their horizons in 2022 and are eager to see new places, take part in unique experiences and learn about the history and culture of their destination. For many, the inability to travel as frequently during the pandemic underscored just how valuable and life-enriching the experience can be — making 2022 the year to explore somewhere new.
In fact, 75% of Americans say when thinking about future travel plans, it’s important that they see new places, according to a recent study from Tripadvisor. Forty-one percent of travelers report that, compared to 2019, visiting a new destination is more important to them now — presenting an opportunity for those in the hospitality industry to attract and retain new guests.
Now, even more than before the pandemic, Americans are choosing destinations where they can plan an action-packed trip and participate in “authentic local experiences.” In the U.S. alone, 22% of travelers say they plan to take part in more guided cultural activities than they had before the pandemic, an indication experiential travel is gaining popularity across all age groups. Additionally, recent research by Virtuoso found that 72% of travelers want to be more mindful about where they travel, opting for destinations where they can support local communities and economies.
While the Tripadvisor survey found that Americans are generally spending fewer days on vacation — 3.7 days in 2022 compared to 4.4 in 2019 — they are investing 29% more on their average booking. Three out of 10 Americans also say they are more willing to splurge on a trip in 2022.
So, what does all this mean for the hospitality industry? With more travelers seeking genuine experiences, those in the hospitality industry have an opportunity to leverage two things they do best — delivering high-quality service and sharing their knowledge about the things that make their community unique and worth visiting.
Travelers are looking for new destinations in 2022 and are willing to spend more on a vacation.
Opportunity: Now is the optimal time for resorts, hotels, restaurants and destinations to attract new guests through targeted digital advertising and social media influencer marketing. Survey data suggest that 52% of Americans are spending time researching before booking a trip, indicating that strategic marketing is needed to differentiate brands from their competition.
Experiential travel is gaining traction among all age groups.
Opportunity: Travelers want an action-packed trip but don’t necessarily want to plan it all themselves. Developing vacation bundles that include guided activities — cultural or otherwise — based on the target audience is key to capturing bookings from new guests. Additionally, with travelers more willing to splurge on a trip, creating a pre-planned bundle makes the trip low stress.
Leisure travelers are more inclined to travel domestically and want to support local communities and economies.
Opportunity: Developing close partnerships within the community and lifting up other local businesses is a strategic way to attract new guests. Leverage these partnerships on social media and when working with influencers, as this will help enhance the brand’s visibility.
While older generations are currently more comfortable traveling amid the latest COVID-19 outbreak compared to those younger, health and safety protocols are a key differentiator across all age groups.
Opportunity: Destinations that maintain cleanliness policies that align with travelers’ expectations are more likely to make a positive impact, and in turn, retain those guests. In fact, 63% of Americans would like to see the hospitality industry maintain new safety measures after cases decrease.