Three global traveler trends you should know for peak season success
The world has changed. While people are traveling again, the pandemic has reshaped how we travel and what we care about. We’ve had some turbulent times, but our 2023 Travel Predictions research showed that people are determined to travel this year.
50% of global travelers say that investing in a vacation is a top priority, while 73% feel more optimistic about traveling this year compared to 2022. But how are travelers behaving in different parts of the world? How will the reopening of China impact the travel and hospitality industry? And what should partners do to respond?
Booking.com leadership, partners, and industry experts recently came together at Click. 2023 to share the latest news and insights. In the main stage session, “Meet today’s travelers,” Booking.com’s regional leaders shared the latest traveler behaviors they’ve identified. Here’s what you should know as peak season approaches.
1. The share of international bookings is growing
Carlo Olejniczak, VP and Managing Director EMEA, called out a few emerging trends. In the first few months of 2023, we noticed international travel was on the rise. There are promising signs that this may continue further into the year.
“We expect more Americans to travel to Europe, taking advantage of a very strong dollar. We also expect more Europeans and Americans traveling to APAC, because it was hardly possible to do so over the past two to three years.”
Robert Ahearn, VP and Managing Director Americas, advised that from a targeting perspective, partners should think about where their visitors are coming from: “It's a real opportunity to think about those top inbound or origin countries, in terms of how you might position yourself.”
Tip: Use Country Rates to increase your bookings by targeting travelers from specific regions.
2. Bookings for summer are happening much earlier than before
The second trend is a movement toward longer booking windows. Olejniczak called this “surprising,” saying that when we look at the current bookings for spring and summer, they’re happening much earlier than before – despite current uncertainties.
Flexible policies are key in securing early bookings. In fact, 80% of bookings made on Booking.com in 2022 were made with flexible policies. This is still a main trend in 2023: “Travelers are looking for flexibility, they're looking for ease of use.”
Tip: Consider setting up an Early Booker Rate Plan and adding flexible rate plans for your guests.
3. We’ll see the return of Chinese travelers
According to the World Tourism Organization, Chinese travelers spent $255 billion traveling overseas in 2019, which equated to 166 million trips outside of mainland China. The travel industry has been waiting for them to return. “That's a lot of travelers that we've been missing all over the world,” Houldsworth said. “The US particularly has been missing the Chinese traveler, as has the rest of the world.”
We expect Chinese travelers to start coming back with the reopening of China. Based on our recent search data, the top 10 destinations for this demographic are Thailand, France, US, Japan, Spain, Germany, Italy, UK, Hong Kong, and Australia. While Covid-19 may seem a distant memory for many of these countries, it’s important to highlight what you’re doing to make stays safe, clean, and comfortable.
Tip: Reassure guests by highlighting your health and safety measures.
What are our partners doing?
We spoke to our partners at Click. 2023 to find out what they’re doing to prepare for peak season. Here’s what they had to say.
- Ana Plettenberg, Vice President at Luna Hotels & Resorts in Portugal, said the chain has been working on renovations at their beach hotels to prepare for summer travelers. “We are confident that the season will go very well.”
- Tyler Jacobs, Regional Manager EMEA, says Viator is preparing for both advance and last-minute bookings. “We're working very closely with our operators to ensure that we have availability, and that we have that inventory for our customers.”
- Paolo Federico, Senior Vice President, Revenue Management & Distribution at Jumeirah Group in Dubai, said when it comes to peak season, they try to be more aggressive on both the distribution and availability sides. He also echoed our travel predictions: “China's coming back. I think we'll see that by the end of the summer, the Asian markets will really grow significantly across the globe.”
- People are determined to travel in 2023: 50% of travelers say investing in a vacation is a top priority, while 73% feel more optimistic about traveling compared to last year
- The growing share of international bookings gives partners an opportunity to increase bookings by targeting travelers from specific regions
- Despite current uncertainties, bookings for summer are happening much earlier than before. With 80% of bookings in 2022 made on flexible policies—a trend that’s continuing in 2023—it’s important to give travelers that extra peace of mind
- 2023 is the year Chinese travelers will return. It’s critical that properties highlight their health and safety measures for this demographic
- Our partners also shared insights about what they’re doing to prepare for peak season