(Family Features) Following the COVID-19 lockdown, outdoor and drivable destinations were in high demand for domestic travelers. As the country has reopened, Americans embraced the idea of getting back to normal and began traveling much as they did prior to the pandemic.
However, travel trends for 2023 suggest there is no normal when it comes to travel planning. Instead, individual interests are driving decisions about where to go and what to do.
“We see a detailed and robust picture of travel into 2023,” Expedia Brands President Jon Gieselman said. “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. It’s not a new normal so much as people branching out to unexpected trends in what we’re calling the ‘no normal.’”
A close look at these trends suggests there is no “one-size-fits-all” approach to travel in 2023. Insights sourced from the company’s first-party data, and from custom research of thousands of travelers and industry professionals across 17 countries, show value, alternative wellness options and hotels that cater to evolving traveler needs are heavily influencing travel choices.
Consider these conclusions from the experts at Hotels.com:
Travelers are seeking smarter ways to see the world without compromising on comfort or cool factor. In the U.S., nearly one-third (32%) of travelers are more concerned with value for money than ever before with data showing interest is up more than 20% globally in three-star hotels.
In 2023, 40% of U.S. travelers plan to stay in 1-3-star hotels, and 34% plan to book a vacation with added value inclusions, such as free parking or breakfast. Showing a shift in mindset from the post-pandemic bucket-list mentality and moving toward a more spontaneous approach, one-third of travelers would rather go on more trips in three-star properties than splurge on one big luxury getaway.
New Wave Wellness
According to the survey, more than half (53%) of Americans are seeking wellness breaks but cite boredom with traditional retreats and want to experience something more exciting in 2023. Millennials are the top drivers of this as 60% of 25-34-year-olds are seeking alternative wellness getaways. Most travelers want to explore new offerings in the U.S. However, Gen Z has a different view and would prefer to book an adventure to Norway, Turkey, Switzerland, Iceland or Sri Lanka.
To capture this awakened market, some hotels are offering advanced rejuvenation programs and hands-on activities that encourage travelers to get up close and personal with nature. Sylvotherapy (forest bathing) and fruit harvesting are popular alternatives to cooking courses, sport holidays and meditation sessions.
Hot Hotel Openings Around the World
Hotels that cater to evolving traveler needs are opening around the world. These properties offer far more than a place to sleep with destination restaurants, coworking spaces and beautiful interiors. From an art-filled social hub in London to unbridled luxury in Rome, these are some hotels to have on your radar for the year ahead:
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