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 surveyed more than 12,400 shoppers globally and 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.