Last Thursday I went to ABTA’s annual Travel Trends Conference at the National Gallery in London, as they revealed the results from a number of recent surveys, giving an indication of how we might travel over the year ahead.
Along with ABTA’s main report, there were also a number of guest speakers including Global Media (LBC/Classic FM/Capital), marketing specialists Accord and representatives from G Adventures, If Only and Club Med.
ABTA validated the work we have been doing over the last few months with our ‘The Heat is On’ campaign, as they see a trend for more long-stay winter holidays. With an increase in the number of holidays already booked this winter to warmer climates!
Their research found that four in ten people (43%) have either booked or are considering booking a winter holiday this year – with flight capacity up by a third on 2019 levels. Large travel companies have also seen a rise in the number of bookings to the Dominican Republic, Florida, Mexico, Turkey, Malta and Portugal for the winter.
The Rise of the All Inclusive
ABTA’s research found that although the higher cost of living is putting pressure on household finances, people still want to go away on holiday. In order to do that, one way is to book an ‘All Inclusive’, which is easier to budget for with a locked-in price both in advance, and whilst away.
According to their research, 29% of travellers are planning to take an ‘All Inclusive’ holiday in 2023, rising to 57% for young families who are keen to budget in advance for travel. Popular destinations include the Canary Islands, Balearics and Turkey.
Getaways to Get Away
After multiple years of lockdowns and uncertainty, another key trend to look for over the coming year is wellness holidays and the ‘need to get away’.
ABTA’s research found that 93% of people say that being on holiday improves their well-being and mental health, with two-thirds putting this down to escaping the pressures of everyday life. These are likely to be taken in places you already know and love, with 41% suggesting they are unlikely to a country they have never been to before in 2023, up from 34% in 2019.
Early Birds in Action
With so much uncertainty, especially with inflation, energy pricing and the US dollar rate being so strong – another key trend for next year is to book in advance. The days of booking late and getting a bargain could well be over (for now).
According to ABTA, 29% of travellers booking a package holiday have already booked for next year, a higher proportion than normal – and is now outside the window where people had been postponing trips due to the pandemic. As a result, many of the major tour operators and cruise lines already have 2024 on sale!
2023 will be the year of the ‘Conscientious Customer’ as people adopt an even more thorough approach to planning and booking their holidays than before the pandemic.
ABTA believes 2023 will be the year of the travel expert, with people 36% more likely to book with a travel professional now than before the pandemic. Among the top reasons for using a travel expert are; getting the security of a packaged holiday (45%), up to date advice (38%) and good value for money (31%).