Expedia’s trend study reveals new travel motivations

Expedia Group has labelled 2023 as the The Year of the No-Normal, as its latest traveller trends report finds that there is no longer a “one-size-fits-all” approach to travel.

The findings were obtained from the company’s first-party data as well as custom research of thousands of travellers and industry professionals across 17 countries.

Cultural capitals, like Bangkok where Songkran is celebrated in lively forms, are gaining favour among travellers

Sharing the findings at a media event on November 17, Expedia noted that influence from streaming content is outweighing that of social media. Nearly one in four say that watching a series or movie is most likely to pique their interest in travelling to that destination – more than social media influencers (16%). In Singapore specifically, 76% per cent of travellers considered visiting a destination after seeing it on a show or movie on a streaming platform, and one in two actually made a booking.

Shows or movies set in outdoor destinations with mind-blowing landscape (41%) and beach destination (40%) impact Singapore travellers’ destination decisions the most.

Most of the destinations seeing the largest increases in traveller demand are culture-rich cities where local fares and culture festivities are returning in full swing. Globally, the cultural capitals of Edinburgh, Scotland; Lisbon, Portugal; and Tokyo, Japan are the top trending destinations.

With Singapore travellers heavily influenced by streaming content, Bangkok, Tokyo and Seoul are top three destinations Singaporeans consider visiting.

In another report published for travel partners, Expedia notes the highest levels of optimism for travel since 2020. Most professionals expect leisure (71%) and business (70%) travel to return to pre-2020 levels within two years. In fact, more than half (51%) of the industry professionals note that business travel will be their highest priority in 2023.

Another insight from industry professionals shows travellers are choosing options aligned with their personal values such as sustainability, inclusivity, and accessibility. Most travel businesses (60%) made changes in the last year to ensure their services are inclusive and accessible. Sustainability is tied with marketing as the highest area of investment for 2023, with one in five industry professionals saying they plan to invest in sustainability next year.

With loyalty programmes continuing to earn customer attention even during the pandemic, Expedia reiterated the amalgamation of its loyalty programme, One Key, allowing consumers to use it for its range of brands including Expedia, Hotels.com, Vrbo and Wotif.

Lavinia Rajaram, head of public relations Asia, Expedia Brands, told TTG Asia that the trends carried on from 2022 when “travellers were forced into a series of new normals like vacations in the great outdoors, then reunions, then bucket list trips. Everyone was experiencing similar new normals. The trends this year show there is no one-size-fits-all approach. Travellers are booking what they want when they want it.”

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