Tripadvisor: 2022 is the year of the travel rebound

A new travel trends research paper released by Tripadvisor, in partnership with Ipsos MORI, reveals how consumers are planning to travel in 2022 and beyond, and how their attitudes and behaviors in relation to travel have changed as compared to pre-pandemic. While outside factors like COVID-19 variants, international travel rules and staffing shortages still can represent existential threats to traveler behaviors, year-end sentiment and search data shows ongoing demand for travel remains high. Who benefits from the tourism demand? As travelers spend more, cultural experience providers (tours and attractions), tourism businesses catering to domestic audiences and companies adhering to safety standards will win the hearts and minds of travelers.

“Travel in 2022 – A Look Ahead,” combines consumer sentiment analysis, gathered by Ipsos MORI on behalf of Tripadvisor, via surveys in five major international markets, and behavioral analysis of Tripadvisor’s first-party search data—uncovering several travel patterns, such as the average length of trip planned for 2022 and the amount travelers are looking to spend, according to searches they actively made on the Tripadvisor platform before year-end.

“Despite new variants of COVID-19, consumers across the globe still want to travel and explore,” said Kanika Soni, chief commercial officer, Tripadvisor Inc. “This is evident in our month-over-month search data which shows a consistent, healthy increase in page views post-holidays. Travelers are quickly adapting to local public health conditions, with cleanliness and safety remaining important factors in their planning.”

Unsurprisingly, the report continues to show that the pandemic weighs on the minds of people across the countries featured in this study. The good news is that reported travel intent for 2022 compared with 2019 and analysis of planned average trip spend show prospects for a strong year ahead in the hospitality industry.

Key findings from the study:

Planned travel in 2022 surpasses actual travel in 2019

  • Across the five key markets around the world that were surveyed, those likely to travel for leisure purposes in 2022 outpaces pre-pandemic reported travel levels.
  • In the U.S., 2022 leisure travel intent is up eight percentage points compared to 2019, with 71% saying they are likely to travel for leisure in 2022.
  • In the U.K., 78% of respondents said that they are likely to travel for leisure in 2022, compared to 72% of those who said that they traveled for leisure in 2019.
  • Singapore leads the way in travel optimism, with 82% reporting they are likely to vacation in 2022, up two percentage points compared to 2019. Australia (72%) and Japan (51%) are trending similarly, with those who are planning a leisure trip in 2022 up 7 and 5 percentage points from those who reported traveling in 2019, respectively.

Average spend per trip for 2022 is beyond that of 2019

  • According to Tripadvisor site behavioral data, American travelers are expected to spend 29% more on their average trip in 2022 than they did in 2019.
  • In Australia, average booking rates are expected to be up by 16% in 2022 against 2019.
  • Singaporean travelers booking values are also expected to increase by an average of 7%.
  • On the other end of the spectrum, the average Japanese traveler is expecting to spend 30% less in 2022 compared with 2019. In Italy, average booking spend is expected to be down 19%. While in the U.K., Brits are planning to spend slightly less on 2022 travel than they did in 2019 (-1%).
  • Shifting from behavior to sentiment, over a quarter of travelers in each of the five markets surveyed said it is more important now than before the pandemic to splurge on a big trip. In the U.S., 29% who traveled for leisure in 2019 said it’s more important now than before the pandemic to splurge on a big trip, while 28% of Singaporean and Australian travelers, 27% of Japanese travelers and 25% of U.K. travelers said the same.

Domestic travel continues to lead the way

  • While a sizable proportion of consumers across most of the markets surveyed plan to travel abroad for leisure in 2022, traveling within their home country is still the most favored option.
  • Nearly three-quarters (74%) of Singaporean respondents plan to travel domestically for leisure, compared with 53% who plan to travel abroad for leisure. About the same percentage of Brits (73%) say they plan to travel within the U.K. for leisure compared with 48% planning to travel abroad.
  • In the U.S. and in Australia, 68% of respondents in each market said they are likely to travel domestically in 2022, while 29% of Americans said they are likely to travel overseas in 2022 compared to 38% of Australians.
  • In Japan, 50% of respondents reported that they are likely to travel within their home country in 2022, compared to 10% of those likely to travel internationally.

Travelers are seeking new travel experiences in 2022 and beyond

  • More than a third to nearly half of all travelers surveyed in the U.S. (41%), U.K. (38%), Australia (46%), Japan (34%) and Singapore (49%) said that traveling to a destination they’ve never been to before would be more important to them now, compared to trips they took in 2019, when choosing where to travel.
  • Three-quarters (75%) of Americans said that it’s important they “see new places” when thinking about their future travel plans, while 74% of Australians, 73% of Singaporeans, 70% of Britons and more than half (59%) in Japan said the same.
  • The top three most important considerations, across the markets surveyed, in future travel plans to visit a destination was to get immersive by seeing new places, having new experiences and learning about history and culture.
  • 44% of Singaporean travelers, 38% of Australians and 34% of Americans and U.K. travelers said that it’s more important now than before the pandemic that they choose a destination where they can immerse themselves in “authentic local experiences.” A quarter (25%) of Japanese travelers said the same.
  • In both the U.S. and Australia, 30% of travelers said it’s more important now that they “pack as many activities” into their holiday travel as possible. While in the U.K., 28% said it’s more important for them to plan an action-packed travel experience in 2022 or beyond.
  • About two in 10 travelers in each of the five markets surveyed said they will do more guided cultural activities—those activities and tours where subject matter experts and professional guides allow for travelers to sit back, learn, relax and see all that an area has to offer—when planning trips in 2022 or beyond than before the pandemic (except in Japan where this proportion was 14%).

Key factors in travel decision making in 2022

  • 85% of Singaporean travelers, nearly three-quarters of Japanese (73%) and Australian (74%) travelers, 72% of British and 70% of Americans say that cleanliness measures of a hospitality business will be an important factor in their travel decision making next year, even after COVID-19 cases have dropped worldwide.
  • Approximately seven in 10 respondents in each of the markets said that destinations that have a low number of COVID-19 cases are important when making a decision on where to travel next.
  • 32% of Brits (32%) and one-third of Americans (33%) who aren’t traveling in 2022 said they’ve decided against it because of uncertainty surrounding possible travel restrictions. More than half (55%) of Singaporeans, 47% of Australians and a quarter (25%) of Japanese respondents cited the same reason.

The consumer sentiment survey carried out by Ipsos MORI on behalf of Tripadvisor polled 2,199 adults in the U.K., 2,191 in the U.S. and 2,000 in each of Australia, Japan and Singapore, using an online omnibus and ad hoc approach from Nov. 1-6, 2021.