The State of Global Travel Q1 2023: Consumer Expectations Ramp Up

Despite higher costs, travelers aren't holding back from booking trips. Read the Q1 global trends on how travel expectations are ramping up.
Updated on October 25, 2023

The travel category is evolving in the face of global economic uncertainty and shifting consumer demands. However, people aren’t holding back from traveling – they’re getting smarter about how they spend. In The Rise of Savvy Shoppers, Criteo found that over half of consumers are still spending the same or more on travel despite high costs from inflation. 

With many people eager at the beginning of the year to plan new getaways for 2023, Q1 kicks off the tone for the travel industry’s year. Criteo tapped into our dataset of more than 2,000 travel players and surveyed over 10,000 travelers globally to uncover the current state of global travel. These are the Q1 travel trends that will help marketers prepare for what’s in store for the industry this year. 

Consumer Trends Dashboard

Explore the latest consumer data for 20 countries and 600+ product categories.

Global bookings are up across main travel verticals 

Travelers are planning trips regardless of inflated costs. Comprehensive travel bookings (bookings for global air travel, car rentals, cruises, and hotels & resorts) continue to show firm and steady growth each year since the start of the pandemic.  

Source: Indexed All Travel Category Bookings compared to January 2019 (pre-pandemic baseline). Same set of Travel players with stable tracking of online bookings since 2019.

In January 2023, the Americas saw bookings for cruises (+283%), air travel (+116%), hotels & resorts (+61%) all surpass last year’s numbers. Hotel & resort bookings rose +57% in Mexico, +50% in the US, and +23% in Brazil compared to the year prior. 

APAC’s January 2023 air travel and hotel & resort bookings also rose year-over-year, +271% and +66% respectively. Australia (+272%), South Korea (+131%), and Japan (+118%) showed particularly strong YoY growth for hotel & resort bookings. 

In EMEA, January 2023 bookings for cruises (+295%) surged the most YoY compared to bookings for air travel (+81%) and hotels & resorts (+168%). However, looking at the numbers by country tells a more impressive story for air travel: Bookings rose +216% in Spain and +139% in Italy compared to last year. 

Offers shaped by Covid are here to stay 

While consumers are booking more getaways this Q1, Criteo’s consumer survey found that 44% of travelers worldwide are still concerned about Covid. 

Source: Criteo Survey – Consumer Travel Preferences, Feb 13-23, 2023, Global, N=10,738

The pandemic established a new standard of customer experiences, and there’s no going back. On top of maintaining Covid safety measures, consumers want travel providers that offer flexibility to pivot plans if needed. Globally, 59% of travelers factor free cancelation policies in their decision to use a travel provider, and 42% factor easily refundable services. 

Travelers are also getting savvy with how they spend on getaway bookings by searching for the best deals. Globally, special offers are important to over half of travelers and 1 in 5 people consider loyalty programs. 

Source: Criteo Survey – Consumer Travel Preferences, Feb 13-23, 2023, US: N=1,140; Europe: N=6,289; APAC: N=3,309

Personalized and seamless experiences are key 

Consumers now expect nothing less than personalized content experiences. Globally, 2 in 5 travelers allow apps to collect their information in order to receive personalized content that resonates with their travel desires. 

Source: Criteo Survey – Consumer Travel Preferences, Feb 13-23 2023, Global, N=10,738

Travelers are also growing more interested in tailor-made and seamless getaways. In January 2023, the global travel packages/tours category saw their conversion rates increase +96% compared to January 2022. This conversion rate was also +105% higher than the January 2020 conversion rate, before Covid lockdowns.

Consumers want sustainable travel options  

Travelers are growing more mindful of their environmental impact. About 2 in 5 travelers globally intend to lower their carbon footprint when traveling and use search filters such as “low emissions” when booking. 

European consumers are especially interested in making eco-friendly travel decisions. Exceeding global numbers, 45% of European travelers want to lower their travel carbon footprint and 42% filter bookings options based on sustainability criteria. 

Source: Criteo Survey – Consumer Travel Preferences, Feb 13-23, 2023, Global, N=10,738

Wellness is top of mind 

In Q1, global travelers have a mixture of activities planned for their upcoming getaways – and relaxation takes the lead. About half of travelers around the world seek activities such as yoga, spa visits, and meditation for their next trip. APAC travelers are the most interested in relaxation, surpassing the figure for global travelers by +13%.  

Wellness activities take shape in other ways for US and European travelers. A full 60% of US travelers plan on reconnecting with loved ones by visiting family/friends, and 54% of European travelers intend to connect with cultural activities. 

Source: Criteo Survey – Consumer Travel Preferences, Feb 13-23, 2023, US: N=1,140; Europe: N=6,289; APAC: N=3,309

Engage your travel customers with Commerce Growth 

Travelers are expecting more from businesses. From personalized content to sustainability search filters to flexible cancelation policies, marketers need to deliver consumer-centric experiences everywhere shoppable moments happen. 

Up-level how you engage with new and existing travel customers by leveraging the world’s largest open commerce dataset. With Criteo’s Commerce Growth, marketers can showcase their brand with relevant product offers and captivating creatives most likely to trigger visits, engagement, and purchases. 

Register for immediate access to Take Flight: Exploring the Resurgence of Travel in 2023, our on-demand webinar where our travel experts share the latest information on what to expect from the industry in 2023.  

Interested in even more global commerce data? Visit Criteo’s Seasonal Travel Dashboard and Commerce Trends Dashboard. 

Elizabeth Kim

Elizabeth Kim is a Global Content Strategist captivated by technology, culture, and consumer behavior. Before joining the world of adtech, Elizabeth crafted brand and content strategies at agencies for clients spanning startups to household name giants. Outside of work, Elizabeth finds creative ...

Global Content Strategist

to our newsletter

Fresh sales trends and consumer insights to help
you plan and win.