2022 heralds a new beginning for the travel industry on the road to recovery. The Covid-19 vaccines and booster shots have injected a desperately needed lifeline for the travel industry.
According to a new report the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) shared with Travel + Leisure, “domestic travel growth has "significantly" outpaced global tourism as a whole and is expected to rise even more in 2022…. Research also shows that while the global travel [and] tourism sector is slowly beginning to recover, the U.S. is recovering faster than many other regions."
To help travel marketers navigate the ever changing travel landscape due to the Covid-19 virus, Allen Marketing Communications, Inc., a NYC boutique travel and lifestyle public relations agency, spotlights key travel trends for 2002.
GOAT (Greatest of All Time) Vacations
GOAT (The Greatest of All Time), once referred to athletes or actors or actresses, has now been embraced by the travel industry to refer to the once in a lifetime vacations.
After spending almost two years cooped up due to international travel experiences, avid travelers are fulfilling the once in a lifetime vacations. Expedia research reveals, “American travelers are going after their GOAT by stepping outside their comfort zone (22 percent) and immersing themselves in a destination, culture, and experiences completely different to their own (19 percent).”
Expedia's research, which polled 12,000 travelers across 12 countries, “uncovered that U.S. travelers are embracing the GOAT mindset by seeking out excitement/exhilaration (41 percent) and the feeling that they have made the most out of their trip (40 percent). The study also found that travelers are more willing than ever before to splurge on their future travels (40 percent).”
The Covid-19 vaccines have made it safe for multiple generations to gather together safely, in person, instead of having virtual gatherings.
During the Covid-19 pandemic, there has been a trend for those who can afford to buyout hotels, villas, condos and private yachts to reduce their contact with individuals who are not in their inner circle and to minimize the spread of the novel coronavirus. This trend will continue in 2022 as families gather once again for multigenerational vacations.
Grandparents will continue to embrace Skip Trips – grandparents travel with their grandchildren often leaving parents home alone. “Grandparents, parents, and children are booking vacations together, whether they’re road-tripping to national parks or heading abroad for a milestone celebration,” according to Barrons.
Rules are always changing as it pertains to in-person and remote learning. Parents, who opt for remote learning for their children, are embracing a new trend – Flexication – families travel off peak sometimes during the school year, stay longer in a destination, parents work remotely and children learn through remote courses.
Personalized Travel Experiences
As we enter the third year of the Covid-19 pandemic, avid travelers will be looking for more personalized travel experiences with ample room for social distancing on vacation.
Some tour companies are capitalizing on off the beaten path experiences to help travelers escape for a vacation. Other companies are offering private cooking classes to help food lovers immerse themselves in the local culture.
Train travel will be very appealing for those with the time to explore a location at a leisurely pace. Thanks to technology, savvy travelers can mix business with pleasure and stay longer at a destination while working remotely.
And, speaking of technology, hotels are always exploring innovative ways for contactless check in such as using your smartphone to unlock your room key or using a QR code to check into the hotel.
The Covid-19 pandemic has sparked new ways of embracing wellness experiences, making self-care all the buzz during the pandemic. Despite the shutdown for many spas, the wellness industry has adapted to enhance the new wellness offerings – yoga, meditation, mindfulness – for travelers.
According to the Global Wellness Institute, “the study projects a 21 percent annual growth rate for wellness tourism through 2025. Thermal and mineral spas show a worldwide increase of 18 percent expected through 2025.
Mental wellness will continue to be an important sector in the wellness industry during the third year of the pandemic, as individuals have explored ways to cope. The Global Wellness Institute reports a “strong seven percent growth from 2019-2020 (from a $122 billion to a $131 billion market), as consumers desperately sought solutions to help them cope with pandemic stresses. The largest segment, “senses, spaces and sleep,” grew 12.4 percent, while the smallest segment, meditation and mindfulness, grew the fastest (25 percent). The forecast: strong 10 percent growth annually through 2025, to reach $210 billion.”
This pandemic has taught savvy travelers that travel insurance is very important especially as the Covid-19 virus and its variants – Delta and Omicron – put a wrinkle in our best plaid plans for desperately needed vacation.
Consumer Advocate.org has a guide to help consumers navigate the different travel insurance options. Travel insurance will be an integral part of the vacation experience since there are many ever changing variables as it pertains to domestic and international travel.
Our travel and lifestyle public relations professionals are here to help. Give us a call.
By Joanna Allen, chief executive office, Allen Marketing Communications, Inc.