Despite a cost-of-living crisis, inflation and economic woes in a post-pandemic world, consumers’ desire to travel remains unabated.
The Global Traveller Report 2022, titled ‘A World in Motion’, explored the notion of ‘revenge travel’. This term is coined to cash in on consumers who have chosen to use their savings to spend more on travel in 2022 compared with spending habits before the pandemic.
The report, compiled by Trip.com group, alongside the World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC) and global consultancy Deloitte, explored why there is a solid demand for travel despite tough economic times and how consumers are economising travelling budgets and looking ahead to travelling priorities in 2023.
It showed that even with the possibility of economic hardship, people would economise in other areas rather than cut travel budgets.
For example, Skyscanner found that travellers were spending significantly more on travel ‘extras’ than before the pandemic in 2022, with fare upselling soaring by 725%. Extra checked baggage was a popular add-on, with 30% of customers saying they would pay for a higher allowance, resulting in double the number of purchases compared to 2019.
Insurance demands have also increased as travellers weigh up whether they are willing to risk losing money if their plans go awry.
Travel experts also recommend the safeguard, which is ideal for emergencies, and may be worth the additional cost. Trip.com teamed up with AXA partners in 2021 to provide a wide range of benefits, including medical, cancellation and baggage cover, which can be selected when booking a flight on trip.com.
Andy Washington, European General Manager for Trip.com Group, emphasises insurance as a key element to travel “We have worked with AXA to design insurance solutions that respond to traveller’s needs and present them in a user-friendly, easy-to-book way on the Trip.com platform.
“In the current climate, the need for insurance when travelling has never been more important and helps provide peace of mind for almost every eventuality, including pandemic cover.”
Despite the economic downturn, luxury travel has proven resilient in 2022, according to Trip.com data. The number of bookings for 5-star hotels grew by nearly a fifth (19%) in the first three quarters of 2022, compared to the same period in 2021, taking it just 7% below pre-pandemic levels.
According to Euromonitor, the global sales of luxury hotels expanded by an average rate of 39% in 2022, with more substantial and robust growth in the Middle East and Africa (53%) and Western Europe (45%).
The rise in demand for luxury accommodation is also solidified by Skyscanner, reporting strong demand for premium cabins, particularly in markets with higher GDP per capita. For instance, around one in three travellers in the US, Saudi Arabia, and the UAE said they were likely to fly in first or business class, compared to the global average of one in five.
Crucially, luxury travellers also have the purchasing power to make their sustainable travel intentions a reality.
In a Virtuoso survey, around three-quarters of high-end travellers said they would pay to make their trips more sustainable. Trip.com respondents have opted for sustainable travel by reducing their carbon footprint in recent years. More than half (58.9%) of those surveyed opted for sustainable travel in recent years, and 74.9% have the desire to choose sustainable travel methods in the future.
It is up to companies to help individuals choose greener travel options. Since 2022, Trip.com’s C02 emissions offsetting partnership with CHOOOSE offers offsetting options across almost all flight inventory, and it is most popular among Gen Z and Millennials.
Young travellers are also increasingly searching for ways to optimise their budget, as affordability is essential for Gen Z. A Skyscanner survey found that more than a third (36%) of travellers were willing to economise by picking a destination where their currency would buy more.
With today’s financial pressures and economic worries, consumers are now ever more mindful of the full range of travel options which don’t put pressure on their pockets and purses.
Although the data proves that the luxury sector may have been the first to return to previous levels of success, most consumers are keen to remain comfortable on a journey and spend on ‘extras’ for restful travel.
Looking towards 2023, it is clear that the younger generation is still taking the lead on sustainable travel initiatives when companies offer greener travel solutions.
Affordability will always remain crucial to travel, as people are determined to optimise budgets. However, Trip.com Group’s 2022 data analysis also proves that the desire to travel has strengthened as the world opens its borders again and welcomes more flexible travelling.