Expedia Group has released a comprehensive view of travel trends across Expedia, Hotels.com and Vrbo, and the broader travel industry in 2023.
Sourced from the company’s first-party data and custom research of thousands of travellers and industry professionals across 17 countries, the insights prove there is no “one-size-fits-all” travel in 2023.
Instead, Expedia Group’s data points to a year defined by the “no-normal.”
When we look at Expedia, Hotels.com, and Vrbo data together, we see a detailed and robust picture of travel into 2023,” said Jon Gieselman, Expedia Brands President. “We’re seeing a surge in trips to culture capitals, a new wave of interest in wellness retreats, and a spike in demand for outdoor destinations beyond just beaches and mountains — not a new normal but people branching out to unexpected trends in what we’re calling the ‘no normal’.”
Booking a trip after binging a popular new series will become serious business in 2023, the company says.
Expedia research confirms that streaming movies and TV shows are becoming more popular as sources of travel inspiration (22%), closing the gap on the most popular source, social media (30%).
Furthermore, the small screen is now considered on par with recommendations from friends and family when it comes to travel inspiration.
In Canada, more than half (60%) of travellers considered visiting a destination that was featured on a show or movie on a streaming platform, and 27% went and booked a trip.
Top destinations include the U.K. and New Zealand, with its landscapes featured this year in a major fantasy epic, Paris and New York also ranked highly, as well as the stunning beach resorts of Hawaii.
National parks and outdoor spaces had big moments over the past two years.
Based on traveller demand, most of the destinations seeing the largest increases are all culture-rich cities where arts and cultural festivities are getting back to full swing.
Expedia’s ranking of cultural capitals are as follows:
1. Edinburgh, Scotland
2. Lisbon, Portugal
3. Tokyo, Japan
4. Dublin, Ireland
5. New York, USA
6. Sydney, Australia
7. Dubai, UAE
8. Montréal, Canada
9. Munich, Germany
10. Bangkok, Thailand
Travellers are seeking smarter ways to see the world, without compromising on comfort or cool factor.
In Canada, 41% of travellers admit they are more concerned with value for money than ever before. Hotels.com data shows interest in three-star hotels is up more than 20% globally.
In 2023, 28% of Canadian travellers plan to stay in 1-3 star hotels and 60% plan to book a vacation with added value inclusions, such as toiletries or free breakfast.
Showing a shift in mindset from the post-pandemic bucket-list mentality and moving towards a more spontaneous approach, a third would rather go on more trips in three-star properties than splurge on one big luxury getaway.
Wellness & new hotels
Almost half (45%) of Canadians are more open to wellness breaks than ever before but cite boredom with traditional wellness retreats and an urge to experience something more exciting in 2023, Expedia says.
And new hotels that cater to evolving traveller needs are opening around the world.
These properties offer far more than a place to sleep, with destination restaurants, co-working spaces, and beautiful interiors as standard.
From an art-filled social hub in London to luxury in Rome, Expedia notes the following hotels in the year ahead:
· La Palma | Capri, Italy
· 100 Princes Street | Edinburgh, UK
· Ikos Odisia | Corfu, Greece
· Celestial Suites | Kefalonia, Greece
· 1 Hotel Hanalei Bay | Princeville, Kauai
· Four Seasons Resort Tamarindo | Tamarindo, Mexico
· Alila Kothaifaru Maldives | Maldives, Indian Ocean
· Six Senses | Rome, Italy
· Atlantis The Royal | Dubai, UAE
· art'otel London Battersea Power Station|London, Great Britain
Travellers are also looking to plate up whenever they please in their private escape.
Almost half of Canadian travellers (45%) feel that cooking is a great family or group activity, Expedia says.
Cooking at home can also be cost-efficient, with 37% of Canadian travellers plating at-home meals to cut down on costs.
Rustic getaways are on the rise, as travellers crave whole, private vacation homes with abundant space.
Cue ranch retreats, offering an intimate escape in the rugged wilderness. Think log-lined cabins, flickering fires and sweeping vistas.
Travellers can live out their western fantasies by booking a luxurious lodge, ranch retreat or farmhouse that fits the whole crew.
Destinations across the prairie provinces of Alberta, Saskatchewan, and Manitoba spring readily to mind, but the ranch retreat is not confined only to Canada.
For a home on the range in Europe, travellers are booking converted barns and farmhouses in the countryside of Italy, Spain, France and the UK.
Thrill-seekers can also embrace their western wanderlust in Australia, where farmhouses in the outback overlook acres of wineries and wild brush.
Travellers are also exploring unassuming locales and new places, Expedia says.
Demand for Vrbo’s private vacation homes in each of these destinations has increased by 30% or more since September 2021:3
· Cape Breton, NS
· Chaudière, QC
· Charlottetown, PEI
· Canmore, AB
· Calgary, AB
· Prince Edward County, ON
· Winnipeg, MB
· Québec City, QC
· Cowichan Valley, BC
· Saanich, BC
Travel in 2023 will be about saying “no” to normal, breaking routines and searching for experiences without compromises, the company says.
“Travellers are no longer adapting to the next new normal, but creating their own status quo altogether,” says Expedia.
Expedia Group has also released insights from travel industry professionals, from airlines to hotels to vacation rental hosts and more.
In a tailored report for travel partners, Expedia Group reveals the ways that the pandemic forever changed travel.
The research shows the highest levels of optimism since 2020.
Most professionals expect leisure (71%) and business (70%) travel to return to pre-2020 levels within two years.
While travellers looking for a change of scenery kept the industry afloat during the pandemic, all eyes are on the return of international and business travel.
More than half (51%) in the industry say business is their organization’s highest priority in 2023.
Another insight from industry professionals shows travellers are choosing options aligned with their personal values such as sustainability, inclusivity, and accessibility.
Most travel businesses (60%) made changes in the last year to ensure their services are inclusive and accessible.
Sustainability is tied with marketing as the highest area of investment for 2023, with one in five industry professionals saying they plan to invest in sustainability next year, Expedia says.
For the full consumer report on The No-Normal; Unexpected Travel Trends in 2023, click here.