Travel in 2022 – Meeting the demands of a new era

“The core of man’s spirit comes from new experiences”
– Christopher McCandless, Into the Wild –

If the pandemic has shown us one thing, it is that travel has changed but it is everlasting. However, the way we used to travel before Covid19 is a thing of the past. Now, we’re trying to understand where we are headed, how we can meet the demands of this new era of traveling and how all the distancing, masks, entry regulations and testing affects travel behavior.
Let’s look at some trends that have been discovered by the industry for 2022 and get some insights from our TrustYou experts into how your hotel can take the necessary steps to meet these travel trends:

Trend 1: Meaningful travel

It is becoming increasingly clear that every trip is well thought out. Quickly jetting to the Maldives or spontaneously hopping on a train across the country isn’t the way people travel anymore these days. Google has identified that “travel will become more meaningful, with a rise in “life moments” that were put on hold because of the pandemic.” Amadeus has witnessed a similar trend, revealed by queries and bookings on portals, that shows that many travelers are planning to take important and meaningful trips now instead of waiting for later. Thereby, long-desired destinations or bucket-list trips are on travelers’ minds for 2022 much more than doing 5 short weekend getaways in one year.

Benjamin Jost, TrustYou CEO

Benjamin Jost, TrustYou CEO, says:

Quality will become a major decision making factor when travelers are looking for a place to stay. As the trends show, making trips count and looking for very special experiences is one of the main drivers for travelers in the year 2022 to make up for lost time. Hoteliers need to make sure that they offer the best possible experience to them. It is very obvious that cleanliness will continue to play a big role in the hospitality industry, so it’s very important to keep these efforts high and let the guests know about it. TrustYou sentiments based on the thorough evaluation of collected guest reviews help hotels to identify shortcomings directly and fix issues before they can even occur. We are here to help hotels make their guest’s stay the most memorable experience yet.”

Trend 2: Sustainable travel

Not coming as a surprise with the omnipresent topic of climate change, travelers look for experiences that are sustainable to ensure a low carbon footprint. It is a challenge for hotels and the entire travel industry to meet the demands of the sustainable traveler. A survey undertaken by revealed that “83% of global travelers think sustainable travel is vital, with 61% saying the pandemic has made them want to travel more sustainably in the future”. Any efforts undertaken in this direction will also pay off. The Expedia Group reports that nearly 3 in 5 travelers are willing to pay more so that their trip can be more sustainable.

Manuela Erlemann, Senior Director of Business Development and Key Account Manager Europe Middle-East and Africa at TrustYou, adds:

“The topic of sustainability is omnipresent in hospitality and is certainly here to stay. For many hotels, the implementation of ecological measures has a very high priority over the next few years. Many travelers lay a great store on booking an eco-friendly hotel and they are prepared to pay more for their stay if they know it’s sustainable. Measures like encouraging recycling, reducing the use of plastic and the offer of local and ecological products are only a few of the measures that can be taken. And talking about it is even more important e.g. showing on displays in the hotel room that you care about the environment and what you do about it. In order to promote sustainability, you can add specific questions to your post-stay survey that travelers tell others about their experience and that highlight your efforts.”

Manuela Erlemann, Senior Director of Business Development and Key Account Manager Europe Middle-East and Africa at TrustYou

Trend 3: Staycations & short-haul travel

Domestic travel and staycations have seen an increase already in 2021 and are likely to stay in 2022. Having that feeling of safety in the country that you live in while exploring areas or seeing your own city through the eyes of a traveler makes staycations and short-haul trips very attractive to travelers. TravelDailyNews reports that in a study by Parkdean Resorts, UK travellers’ online search terms outside of the UK have decreased while inquiries within the country have significantly increased.

Nao Shitara, SVP Sales at TrustYou

Nao Shitara, SVP of Sales at TrustYou, sees that flexibility and special offers are key.

“A lot of hotels have already adjusted their offers with more generous cancellation policies. This way, guests are more likely to book a hotel even though the trip itself might still be a little bit uncertain. Also, special offers targeted at locals e.g. staycation specials help to sell some extra rooms that otherwise might be empty. People are craving positive experiences and something to lighten up their constant “staying-at-home” mood. Very attractive offers like a wellness package or spending a weekend in your own city in a nice hotel to get pampered with a luxurious breakfast will help to lift spirits in times where travelling further away is harder to achieve. Let’s also not forget that these guests will also leave you a review to boost your good reputation for future bookings.”

Trend 4: Contactless communication & technology

This trend has been a long time coming and has been reinforced by the pandemic. Contactless communication is efficient, safe, time-saving and convenient without any further hardware requirements. According to a joint study by Oracle and Skift, around 70% of hotels are already planning to adopt contactless technology for check-in, food ordering, concierge services and more. Additionally, 44% of hotels are considering adopting digital communication services on-site and 28% already made or are making this change already.

Alex Tan, VP Sales & Operations APAC, emphasizes:

“We see a high interest that hotels want to upgrade their communication to a contactless and seamless experience to ensure the encounter is safe, for both guests and the hotel staff. Due to social distancing many hoteliers struggled to offer the same service to their guests than they have before. We are excited that we can offer our Live Experience tool with Live Messaging and Live Survey to allow direct communication and pulse-checks during the stay. This helps to also take care of issues while the guests are on site to stop a negative review before it can even happen.” 

Alex Tan, VP Sales & Operations APAC at TrustYou

Trend 5: The return of Business Travel & Meetings

It is clear that after nearly two years of online meetings, Zoom calls and virtual trade shows, employees and companies want to go back to face-to-face interaction. Destination analysts state that more than ⅔ of employed American travelers who use web conferences regularly feel a “Zoom fatigue” and another 63% agree that it is time to get back to in-person meetings.

According to AccorHotels’ travel report, events will be smaller, shorter and more local. 58% of Meeting & Events professionals believe that large meetings with more than 150 attendees will be reduced. Only 25% say the same for smaller events with less than 30 attendees, so hope is high that more smaller gatherings will have higher relevance again in 2022.

Valerie Carboni, VP of Marketing at TrustYou

Valerie Carboni, VP of Marketing, adds:

“Business travel has experienced a slower overall recovery compared to leisure. But now that it is gaining momentum, there is a big opportunity for hotels to offer business-appropriate services to cater to business travelers and increase revenue from this important group. Among others, these are impeccable Wi-Fi connectivity, shared or co-working spaces with enough distance to each other, or the option to book meeting facilities at a special rate. These efforts will be reflected when companies or business travelers look for accommodation online and find these features highlighted in a hotel’s review summary on their website or booking engine.”