TravelBoom, a leading data-driven digital marketing agency, has just released its 2022 Leisure Travel Trends Study report, having polled more than 2,000 travelers this year amid exhaustive research on the subject. By comparing their responses with those of the combined 90,000 participants in earlier studies, the company has come up with a comprehensive picture of how the sector is shifting.
The agency’s last major leisure travel study was conducted in 2019, so this year’s report reveals much about how leisure travelers’ planning and booking behavior has altered from pre-pandemic times. Currently, some of the most impactful factors that are creating some startling changes in consumer mindsets, preferences and behavior are the rising cost of travel, the overall economy, ongoing COVID-19 concerns and technological tools.
“Leisure travel continues to be one of the most impacted industries in the post-pandemic period and consumers are very conscious of inflation, lingering COVID-19 concerns, along with high expectations for destinations and accommodations,” said Pete DiMaio, COO of TravelBoom. “Our annual Leisure Travel Trends study allows us to better understand the consumer mindset and purchase journey so that we can adapt our marketing strategies to a greater impact.”
— High costs are impacting vacation plans.
Over one-third of respondents said they may have to cancel existing vacation plans because of budget concerns. Fifty-six percent said that high gas prices are moderately or significantly impact their travel decisions. The main pain points that prevented respondents from booking trips in the first place were budget concerns (53 percent), transportation costs (48 percent) and lodging costs (45 percent).
— Travelers are conducting more online research than ever before.
Travelers are doing more deep dives online and investigating their options more thoroughly. The average traveler visits 5.5 websites over the course of their vacation planning and booking process, which will typically include a search engine, meta engine, OTA, review site and the hotel website itself.
— Factors that impact travel decisions are changing.
In 2022, 46.3 percent of respondents pointed to price as their primary consideration when planning a vacation, as compared with 37.9 percent in 2019. Along with the price of their stays, transportation costs, amenities and loyalty programs are some of the factors that can influence travelers’ selections.
— COVID-19 continues to influence travel.
The study found that 55 percent of people still take COVID-19 risks into account before booking their trips. Among U.S. leisure travelers, only 13.5 percent said the pandemic still has a major influence on travel. But, 45 percent of Canadian travelers answered the same, demonstrating COVID-19’s continued impact on international travel.
— Reviews have never been more important in travelers’ decision-making process.
The study found that 82 percent of travelers won’t book their stay at a property without having first consulted consumer reviews. “Reviews and social proof are the make-or-break points for a vacation booking,” the report reads. In fact, reviews are a persistent part of the shopping process, with nearly 40 percent of travel consumers referring to reviews in every step of vacation planning.
You can download a copy of TravelBoom’s complete 2022 Leisure Travel Trends Study here.
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