Travel and Hospitality Trends for 2022
December 09, 2021
As we near the end of 2021, it seems the travel and hospitality industries are gearing up for more business in the new year.
The second half of 2021 saw the massive rollout of COVID vaccines worldwide, and with it the slow emergence of the travel and hospitality industries. More people have been traveling and going on vacation than they were when the pandemic and lockdowns started at the beginning of 2020.
As the new year rolls in, hoteliers should expect more changes to travel expectations, guest behavior, and market standards. To help hotels better prepare, here’s a forecast for next year’s travel and tourism industry.
Top Tourism Trends For 2022 That Every Hotelier Should Know
1. Travelers will be relying more on mobile apps
Mobile apps have been dominating consumer behavior for years. Within the travel community, booking airline tickets and hotel reservations through apps is now considered a standard.
An Amadeus research found that “technology and innovation seem to be key in building traveler confidence and they will increase willingness to travel in the next 12 months.”
With social distancing and a cautious approach to travel, people will be relying more on mobile apps to not only purchase tickets and make reservations, but also to receive real-time updates on their check-ins, room requests, notifications and alerts, contactless payments, and booking changes. Check out OTAs like ZEN Rooms on how you can offer these features to guests.
2. Airline tickets and hotel room prices will be going up
The last two years of the pandemic halted most of the travel and hospitality industries’ operations. Many businesses struggled to keep afloat and most suffered financial losses. However, hoteliers and business owners are hopeful 2022 will be the year they can recoup lost revenue.
Internova Travel Group Vice President Peter Vlitas spoke with TravelAge West about the upcoming price surge. “Given the rise in fuel and the fact that fares were extremely low in 2020 and even up to now [in 2021], I think there will be a significant price increase in 2022.”
Travelers will be more willing to spend to go on vacation but many will still be on the lookout for deals and go with the option that provides the best value.
3. Workcations and “bleisure” travel will be a go-to for younger workers
The recurring lockdowns and health protocols forced companies to adopt both remote work and work-from-home conditions since 2020. Younger workers, including millennials and digital nomads, took this as an opportunity to relocate or move to more “scenic” places to work.
This travel trend will continue into 2022 as more people are opting to make remote work permanent. Thus, workcations and “bleisure” (business and leisure) travel is expected to become more popular. Regiondo.com reports “Experts predict it will continue to grow in the mobile workforce. Although business travel has started to make its comeback in 2021, bleisure is believed to be its future.”
Many hotels are choosing to partner with recreational centers that can cater to these works or offering long stay programs or “work-from-hotel” packages.
4. People are planning for the “Greatest of All Trips” (GOAT)
Being unable to travel and seeing how uncertain the future is has had people contemplating on the important things in life. Many have begun planning their “Greatest of All Trips” or “GOAT” to make up for being confined in their homes for two years. The GOAT trend is an offshoot of the “Revenge Travel” phenomenon that has swept across the globe.
Christie Hudson, Senior PR Manager for Expedia says “Whether it's going somewhere new, being more spontaneous or treating yourself, it's clear that a new wave of excitement is bubbling as travelers chase travel greatness to get their GOAT."
Travelers won't hesitate to splurge to get once-in-a-lifetime experiences. Hoteliers and travel companies are busy finding new ways to entice guests and offer packages that give them access to the most innovative and fulfilling life moments.
5. Sustainable Travel and Ecotourism is on the rise
More people are conscious of how their travel and carbon footprint is affecting the environment and the lives of locals in their destinations. Being able to contribute to the local economy and helping conserve greenery is a huge concern.
American Express’ Global Travel Trends Report revealed that “72% of respondents agree that they are passionate about travelling to destinations to help boost tourism revenue and the local economy.”
Hotels partnering with local businesses can work together to bring in more revenue and provide better services to guests in 2022. Making sustainability and advocating for the environment can also attract more support from eco-conscious travelers.
6. Travelers are opting to go with friends and family
The pandemic lockdowns have isolated many people for such a long time that many are using travel as an opportunity to spend time with loved ones. Group travels and group stays will be popular options for the coming year.
Outlookindia.com reports “ people are keen to travel in large groups consisting of their extended family or close friends and their families. One, because after living a digital life for almost two years, most are hankering for that personal touch, in person interactions. Second, because travelling with a group of people who are known to each other creates a safety bubble. Hence ‘friendcations’ are on the rise.”
Airlines and hospitality businesses can take advantage of the trend by offering bigger rooms, group activities, and longer stays to accommodate the demand.
7. Health and sanitation guidelines will be factors in travel decisions
Even though both international and domestic travel are on the rise, people will still be adhering to COVID guidelines and prefer airlines and hotels that have sanitation stations, strict health and cleaning policies, and are requiring guests to be fully vaccinated.
PhocusWire.com references Google’s survey that “70% of travelers say a brand’s respect for COVID safety guidelines and restrictions is important.” Guests will not want to risk infection by booking with hotels and transportation that are more lenient with health protocols.
Furthermore, research has shown that inquiries for sanitation certificates or government accreditation in hotels is a popular search term before making reservations and booking rooms online.
8. Travelers will want to stay longer to explore destinations
Having more meaningful trips is part of people’s 2022 travel plans. Instead of travelling to more places, tourists are instead focusing on immersing themselves in their destinations’ culture, lifestyle, and history. Thus, travelers are looking for accommodations that can offer longer stays without breaking the bank.
Evolve claims “the average trip will likely be longer in length (5-7 nights in 2022, compared to an average of 3.8 nights in both 2020 and 2021).” Weeklong trips will become the norm for most travel groups as they try to pack more activities into their itinerary.
Local businesses are hoping they can create packages that appeal to crowds looking to have “authentic” experiences. On the other hand, hotels are looking for ways to convince guests to stay longer with package tie-ins with local establishments.
9. “Philantourism” is a new phenomenon as travelers seek genuine connection
Another new travel trend is “philantourism.” Instead of having an itinerary filled with self-enjoyment activities, travelers are focusing on giving back to the local community or helping underserved charities.
“These new itineraries are all about travel as a force for good and represent a natural evolution of voluntourism, but are less of a commitment; you don’t need to do anything after you arrive, other than enjoy the culture, buy local and put your spending money into the tourism economy,” reports Forbes.com.
Travelers are looking for companies that can connect them with particular causes or volunteer work. While not committing their entire vacation time to helping, they do want this to be the central part of their trip.
10. Automation and advanced hospitality technology are gamechangers
As travel technology advances, so do people’s tourism expectations. And for 2022, travelers are excited to book and make reservations with as much convenience as possible. This is an opportunity for hoteliers and other service providers to improve their processes, systems, and customer service.
Arrival’s study revealed that “in 2019, 71% of operators surveyed were using reservation technology in their businesses, a marked increase from just 25% in 2010. More to that, these companies experienced faster growth plus higher profitability.”
Guests will be expecting tech upgrades from booking platforms, hotel mobile apps, digital payment options, reservation systems, and trip personalization. Hoteliers are advised to audit and upgrade all hotel management systems to better prepare for a surge in demand.
These travel and hospitality trends are bound to change the tourism landscape even more. With the on-going pandemic, changing travel restrictions, and the new COVID variant discovered, a lot can still change. Travel forecasts always help in making preparations, whether for better or worse, and these hospitality trends can help your hotel make better decisions for the best results.
In uncertain times, having reliable and efficient systems are the foundations of a hotel’s success, regardless of trends. Invest in better systems and better foundations. Work with ZEN Hospitality Solutions! We’ll help you find the right products to improve your hotel’s performance through any eventuality. Talk to an expert today.
Article by Ayna Gonzales