woman and child at airport 2023 travel predictions

Key takeaways from Booking.com’s 2023 Travel Predictions

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Discover insights from Booking.com’s most extensive annual travel predictions research to date to understand the wants and needs of future travelers

As we look toward 2023, global traveler sentiment appears to be overwhelmingly positive. In fact, 73% of global travelers are feeling more optimistic about traveling in 2023 compared to 2022. 

Even against a backdrop of global instability, 72% of travelers say traveling will always be worth it. And 43% plan to spend more lavishly to make up for missed travel opportunities.

To understand how travel will be reimagined in 2023, we spoke to over 24,000 travelers across 32 countries and territories. Here, we unpack what travelers will be looking for in the new year, along with ways you can prepare to meet their needs. 

1. Travelers want to feel “off-the-grid” (to an extent)

For their 2023 trips, most travelers (55%) are looking for off-the-grid style vacations to escape reality. Almost half (44%) want their travel experiences to have a more back-to-basics feel, while 58% are interested in learning survival skills, including how to source clean water (53%) and light a fire from scratch (42%).

This may lead to a rise in out-of-city breaks, with properties that can fuel travelers’ desire for a remote trip potentially proving most popular.

But going back to basics doesn’t necessarily mean roughing it. Many travelers (48%) will only consider venturing off-the-grid if it doesn’t come at the expense of indulgence, and the majority (53%) say that having a phone and internet connection is non-negotiable.

How you can prepare:

As people look to move away from cities and get back to nature, we expect to see a rise in more eco-friendly stays that embrace natural surroundings and have strong sustainability credentials.

If you’ve already been investing in sustainability, make sure guests are aware to attract their interest. You can do this by indicating which sustainability practices you’ve implemented on the Extranet. We’ll display them on your property page as part of our Travel Sustainable program.

2. Travelers want to push their boundaries

Local excursions are likely to become increasingly popular as guests search for authenticity in destinations with cultures different from theirs. This comes as 73% of respondents are looking forward to experiencing “out of comfort zone” travel that pushes them to the limit.

Half of respondents (50%) want to experience a complete culture shock in 2023, whether through completely different cultural experiences and languages (51%) or by exploring lesser-known cities with hidden gems that aren’t already on the radar (30%). 

How you can prepare:

As travelers seek new cultural experiences, now is the time to really lean into what makes your location—and your property—unique. Give travelers a glimpse into traditions, cuisine, immersive adventures, or anything else that can make their stay a truly memorable one.

Most travellers (55%) will be looking for off-grid style vacations in 2023, with 44% wanting their travel experiences to have a more back-to-basics feel.

3. Travelers are embracing nostalgia and family time

We found that 88% of travelers want nostalgic getaways in 2023 – things like visits to retro film locations or bus travel to evoke school trips. Almost a quarter (23%) want to disappear into the romanticism of a pre-digital era – even millennials and Gen Z travelers who never lived it.

Of course, millennials are now becoming parents themselves and will be the first to book emerging era-themed accommodations that will transport them back to a time they hold close to their hearts. This means destinations popular in the '80s and '90s are likely to make a comeback – such as Budva in Montenegro and Bolzano in Italy, which are both featured on our list of 2023 trending destinations.

Many hope to take family along too, with 54% planning for multi-generational “family reunion” trips.

How you can prepare:

If you want to attract the demand for family bookings, one effective method is offering competitive Child Rates. The increased flexibility and transparency can really appeal to guests and result in an increase of family bookings by up to 15% on average.

4. Travelers are using travel to support their health

Travel is often linked to wellness, and in 2023, travelers will be looking to take this to the next level.

Our survey showed that nearly half of travelers (44%) are hoping to book meditation and mindfulness getaways next year, and 42% are eager to go on a “health hiatus” to focus on mental or transformative health, or to help with milestones such as pregnancy or menopause. Two in five (40%) are even interested in booking a silent retreat.

How you can prepare:

On top of highlighting any wellness facilities you currently offer, such as spas or gyms, consider partnering with local businesses that provide additional wellness experiences, which you can then offer to your guests.

5. Travelers are reconsidering their spending

While many are open to spending more lavishly to make up for the past few years, the current economic climate is still a strong driver toward value for money. As a result, travelers in 2023 will be more mindful of how to make the most of their travel budget and what takes priority. 

For some travelers, this will be about budgeting tightly to take advantage of deals, hacks, and smartly-timed travel (63%), with 53% looking outside the usual peak booking seasons to find deals. We also expect to see a decrease in the number of short city breaks, with 55% of travelers believing that taking one or two longer vacations is a better use of their budget.

The majority (61%) will plan their trips more in advance in the hope of securing a better deal, while 60% will prioritize taking advantage of discounts and loyalty schemes to drive even further savings.

How you can prepare:

Becoming a Genius partner can help you attract budget-savvy travelers. On average, partners who join Genius see 70% more search result views, 45% more bookings, and 40% more revenue even once the cost of the discount is accounted for.

To secure early and off-peak bookers, make sure your availability is up to date so you’re visible in search results. 

Business travel
Almost half (49%) of travellers are not interested in working while away but would consider clocking in for a company retreat or trip. 

6. Travelers are open to work trips – but don’t want to work on their vacations

As much as remote working has allowed people to work from anywhere, many people are putting strong restrictions on when and where they’re willing to work, with two-thirds of people (66%) wanting their trips to be strictly work-free in 2023.

However, people will make exceptions for dedicated work trips. Almost half (49%) are not interested in working while away but would consider clocking in for a company retreat or trip. 

In fact, people are hoping for more corporate group travel, with 51% saying they would like to see their employer use the money saved from moving to remote/hybrid working models for more corporate travel or retreats, and 44% looking forward to “real life” work trips to bring people together.

How you can prepare:

If you want to capture demand from businesses, highlight the kinds of features that cater to corporate travel. This could include facilities such as meeting rooms, dedicated working spaces, and strong Wifi, as well as any helpful services you offer – like invoicing and on-site printing.

7. Travelers are curious about the rise of virtual reality technology

Topics like the metaverse and virtual or augmented reality used to be niche, but they’re becoming increasingly mainstream.

When it comes to virtual reality, 43% of global travelers report that they’ll be turning to tech to inspire their 2023 vacation choices, with 46% saying they’re more likely to travel to destinations that they wouldn’t have previously considered after experiencing them virtually.

While the metaverse offers people a new way to experience travel in the year ahead, the majority of travelers (60%) don’t believe such experiences are fulfilling enough to check locations off their bucket list, so it’s unlikely to replace in-person travel any time soon.

How you can prepare:

While travelers expecting a complete virtual reality experience is likely some way off, investing in high-quality pictures and virtual property tours can help potential guests really imagine themselves in your property. It can also highlight all the unique features that make your property stand out.

Travel Predictions 2023 research commissioned by Booking.com and conducted among a sample of adults who plan to travel for business or leisure in the next 12–24 months. In total, 24,179 respondents across 32 countries and territories were polled (including 1,014 from Argentina, 1,006 from Australia, 505 from Austria, 504 from Belgium, 1,009 from Brazil, 503 from Canada, 1,009 from China, 1,010 from Colombia, 505 from Croatia, 505 from Denmark, 1,010 from France, 1,001 from Germany, 500 from Hong Kong, 1,005 from India, 504 from Ireland, 504 from Israel, 1,008 from Italy, 1,003 from Japan, 504 from Mexico, 502 from The Netherlands, 1,007 from New Zealand, 1,009 from Portugal, 507 from Singapore, 1,008 from South Korea, 1,001 from Spain, 505 from Sweden, 508 from Switzerland, 500 from Taiwan, 504 from Thailand, 1,006 from the UK, 1,009 from the US, and 504 from Vietnam). Respondents completed an online survey in August 2022.

What do you think of this page?

  • 73% of global travelers are feeling more optimistic about traveling in 2023 compared to 2022, with almost half (43%) planning to spend more lavishly to make up for missed travel opportunities
  • Most travelers (55%) will be looking for off-the-grid vacations, with 44% wanting their travel experiences to have a more back-to-basics feel
  • Local excursions are likely to increase in popularity since half of respondents want to experience a complete culture shock next year
  • 53% plan to look outside the usual peak booking seasons to find deals, and 61% will plan their trips more in advance to drive even further savings
  • Two thirds of travelers (66%) want their trips to be strictly work-free. However, 49% would consider joining a company retreat or trip