The findings of Expedia Group’s Traveler Value Index: 2022 Outlook suggest that after two years of enduring a global pandemic, people value travel and personal time more than ever. Simultaneously, travelers have started to adapt to the realities of COVID-19, ranking flex travel at the top of their priorities and focusing intently on traveling for good, including taking steps such as tipping industry workers more and choosing less crowded destinations to limit effects of overtourism. The report, based on a new study conducted in collaboration with Wakefield Research among 5,500 adults across eight countries, combined with Expedia Brands proprietary data, underscores the resilience of the 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, travelers 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 well-being, innovative solutions and transparent communication will be the clear leaders as the entire industry shifts from survival mode into accelerated demand and growth.”
Findings from the report:
There will be a surge in travel for personal wellness
- The pandemic caused people to reflect on the importance of spending time with family and preserving their own personal well-being. 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 two in five (36%) U.S. travelers are searching for a sense of contentment and mental wellbeing on their next trip.
The new world of work will alter traveler priorities
- 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.
Investment in travel will boom compared to pre-pandemic
- 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.
People will travel more responsibly and consciously, with an increased focus on sustainability
- More than 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.
Travelers will be on the hunt for great deals and flexibility
- As seen in What Travelers Want and Traveler Value Index in 2021, the ability to book travel for a reasonable price and make changes to trip itineraries is an absolute must in the eyes of travelers. 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 make a world of difference.
The full report can be downloaded here, containing more data from the study and actionable steps for travel companies based on the findings to help to grow traveler loyalty, trust and business in 2022.