If the COVID-19 pandemic has taught society anything, it’s that time is precious.
Over the past two years, many people have been cut off from family and friends or missed out on planned travel and events. Now, they’re ready to regain their control – and spend the money to do so.
According to Expedia Group’s 2022 Travel Value Index, which surveyed 5,500 adults across eight countries in collaboration with Wakefield Research, more than half of respondents (54%) say they plan to spend more on trips than they did prior to the pandemic.
In the United States, consumers are planning to spend an average of $2,353 on their next trip, while travelers in Canada and the United Kingdom plan to spend $2,020 and $1,830, respectively.
On the lower end of the spectrum, Japanese travelers on average plan to spend $130 on their next trip, likely due to strict travel restrictions in the region and a preference for local trips.
Travelers are also keen to lean on loyalty programs, with two in five (40%) of respondents saying they plan to use loyalty points for at least part of a trip in 2022.
Compared to older generations, Gen Z travelers have the most loyalty points stockpiled (61%), followed by millennials (55%) and Gen X (33%).
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Aligning with what consumers said in 2021, travelers say the ability to book travel at a reasonable price and make alterations to itineraries is a must in 2022.
According to the report, 83% of respondents say flexible fare options “makes a world of difference,” and 85% say a discounted fee is influential when booking a flight online.
Travelers are also looking to travel more responsibly and consciously, with 93% of people saying they will adapt travel plans because of the current lack of tourism workers and 98% taking into consideration the impact of COVID-19 on local communities.
Nearly half (43%) of travelers say they will add in extra time for services and transit to help minimize long lines, stress on workers and missed flights.
Meanwhile, more than half (54%) say they are willing to pay more fees to make a trip sustainable, and 49% would choose a less-crowded destination to reduce the effects of overtourism.
Expedia Group recommends travel providers communicate cancellation and change policies clearly and ensure travelers can get a refund or credit if plans change.
The online travel giant also suggests travel companies offer new incentives to attract travelers that do more than encourage hesitant consumers to resume travel. They should also factor in impending redemption of loyalty points at scale and think about the role they could play in industry rewards programs.
Elsewhere, Expedia Group advises travel providers to increase their commitment to sustainability and charge consumers extra for eco-friendly trip options.
“Travel is about to experience a year unlike ever before as people plan purpose-driven trips, value vacation time more, and up their investment in unique experiences,” says Expedia for Business president Ariane Gorin.
“Still, travelers are preparing themselves for possible trip changes as COVID-19 persists, and they want an array of options at their fingertips. Travel companies that prioritize safety and wellbeing, innovative solutions and transparent communication will be the clear leaders as the entire industry shifts from survival mode into accelerated demand and growth.”