As countries around the world progressively open borders and ease restrictions, some for the first time since the pandemic began, it feels like the travel industry is ready to turn a corner. Amadeus business intelligence data confirms this, as leisure demand has continuously improved over the past year, setting up 2022 to surpass pre-pandemic occupancy levels in some markets.
But as travelers return to the roads and skies, what is top of mind for them? Here are 5 key trends we at Amadeus expect to shape the leisure space this year, that could additionally have an impact on travel seller’s strategies and booking behavior in the months ahead.
The trip of a lifetime
After two years at home, travelers have a strong urge to live in the moment, and epic destinations or experiences have become more popular. According to Amadeus flight search data, traveler inquiries to Guam (+71.1%), Malaysia (+48.6%), South Korea (+38.5%) and New Zealand (+27.7%) increased significantly from March to April 2022.
Most of these destinations are listed in TIME’s top 100 extraordinary travel destinations. Travelers are keener than ever to book once-in-a-lifetime trips.
Go big, spend big
Exotic international travel won’t come cheap, and travelers know it. A recent joint report by the World Travel & Tourism Council and Trip.com found that 70% of leisure travelers in major countries such as the US, the UK, Canada, Japan, and Spain plan to spend more on travel in 2022 than they have in the past five years.
Another survey by PwC indicates that people are willing to spend more money for nicer accommodation and longer stays. This trend is also confirmed by our Demand360® data – in April 2022, occupancy rates for upscale and luxury hotels are higher than other property types. For the last week of April 2022, this class of service experienced an increase of 23% compared to the same period a year ago.
This year is also about reigniting a lost bond with our dearest. Amadeus data shows flight searches to popular group destinations are on the rise such as Cancun, Mexico, Cartagena, Colombia, Las Vegas, Barcelona, and Ibiza. By looking at our market insights from Demand360® and comparing the past six months to the same period a year ago, we see that for Las Vegas, Barcelona and even Ibiza hotel occupancy has more than doubled. We are expecting to see “friendcations” grow for major vacation periods this year – Summer break, Thanksgiving, and Christmas.
Making the most of business trips
Traditional work culture is unlikely to return to how things were, but this brings many opportunities as travel is consumed differently now. Companies have formalized flexible working arrangements to accommodate a work-life balance.
‘Bleisure’ travel has exploded in recent years as employees look to make greater use of their business trips and combine work with time for relaxation. This trend is a high priority for American Travel Management Companies (TMCs). 31% of organizations we surveyed identified ‘bleisure’ as a major growth opportunity.
More flexibility in the workplace is translating into longer hotel stays in many global markets. For example, Amadeus air agency booking data shows the average length of stay from the UK (3.75 days in 2022 compared to 2.80 days in 2019) and Canada (8.17 days in 2022 compared to 7.15 days in 2019) is now longer than pre-pandemic. Such trips will require more thorough planning to meet the needs of both business and leisure travelers.
Navigating through complexity
Travelers may be planning bigger trips in 2022 but requirements can still change at a moment’s notice. Travel sellers are on top of the latest policies and play a key role in supporting travelers as they navigate through this complexity. Overall, there is a renewed demand for travel sellers’ advice as trip planning has become more complex.
Now is the perfect opportunity for travel sellers to reintroduce their expertise for providing seamless, yet memorable journeys. This trend is also supported by our data – in April 2022, bookings on the GDS channels increased by 1% over the previous month, 4% over the same time last year, with the US, Latin America and Europe significantly contributing to this growth.
As travel activity resumes, staying one step ahead of clients will make their consultant an invaluable part of their trip and memories. Once their needs have been met and their fears overcome, all there is left to do is to secure the booking.
Amadeus Hotels for Leisure is a one-stop shop for leisure hotel distribution. We’ve partnered with renowned experts to provide travel sellers with a wide choice of hotel content with flexibility, options, and more control. And there is more to come! Our platform will help craft the innovative, safe, and meaningful experiences today’s travelers require.
Ready to embark on this leisure journey with us? Click here for more information.