Week in Review: Top Holiday Travel Trends

As the holiday travel season approaches, there are plenty of positive trends emerging. According to Deloitte’s “2023 Holiday Travel Survey,” more Americans are planning to travel this year compared to last year, and they are looking beyond just visiting friends and family. The survey also revealed that there is an increased preference for booking stays and engaging in travel activities. Additionally, Chase Travel found that new flight routes and nature-based adventures are driving the popularity of holiday hotspots, with cities in China and Japan experiencing significant growth. Moreover, Americans are expressing a strong desire for gifted experiences over physical gifts, with top experiences including travel, outdoor activities, concerts, and museum visits. These insights highlight the exciting and diverse travel trends shaping this year’s holiday season.

Holiday Travel Trends Overview

The holiday travel season is approaching, and there are plenty of positive trends to look forward to. According to Deloitte’s “2023 Holiday Travel Survey,” Americans are planning to travel more this year, with nearly half intending to take trips between Thanksgiving and mid-January. This increase in travel extends beyond visiting family and friends, as more people are interested in exploring new destinations. The average holiday budget this year is $2,725, indicating a willingness to spend on travel experiences. Additionally, the survey found that more travelers are booking stays this holiday season, with 56% planning to do so, compared to 35% in 2022.

Increased Interest in Travel Beyond Visiting Family/Friends

Travelers this holiday season are showing a greater interest in exploring destinations beyond visiting family and friends. This trend is seen across all age groups and income levels, indicating a broad shift in travel preferences. Instead of solely focusing on traditional holiday gatherings, people are seeking new experiences and adventures. This increased interest in travel beyond visiting loved ones opens up opportunities for both domestic and international destinations.

Rising Interest in Booking Stays

According to the Deloitte survey, more holiday travelers are opting to book stays instead of staying with family or friends. This shift can be attributed to several factors, including a desire for privacy, convenience, and unique accommodations. The survey found that 56% of holiday travelers plan to book a stay at some point this holiday season, up from 35% in 2022. This trend indicates a growing preference for private rentals and other non-traditional accommodation options.

Growth in Travel Activities Across Categories

Participation in travel activities is on the rise across various categories. According to the Deloitte survey, more travelers are engaging in activities such as visiting major attractions and attending ticketed events. This increase in travel activities suggests that holiday travelers are seeking immersive experiences and are willing to explore their destinations beyond just sightseeing. The growth in travel activities is a positive indication for the tourism industry, as it shows a demand for unique and engaging experiences.

Destination Preferences and Trends

Holiday Hotspots Driven by New Flight Routes The top holiday hotspots this year are propelled by new flight routes and increased accessibility. As airlines expand their routes to include previously underserved destinations, these locations are experiencing a surge in popularity. New flight routes offer travelers more options and flexibility when planning their holiday getaways. This trend allows for the discovery of new and exciting destinations that were previously overlooked.

Emerging Preference for Destinations Offering Nature-based Adventures There is a growing preference among travelers for destinations that offer nature-based adventures. As more people seek to reconnect with the outdoors and prioritize their well-being, destinations that provide opportunities for hiking, wildlife spotting, and other outdoor activities are gaining popularity. These nature-based adventures offer travelers a chance to unwind, recharge, and create memorable experiences in stunning natural settings.

Ranking of Cities in China and Japan as Travel Destinations Cities in China, such as Beijing, Guangzhou, and Shanghai, along with cities in Japan, including Kyoto, Osaka, and Tokyo, have seen a significant increase in popularity as travel destinations during the holiday season. These cities experienced strong year-over-year growth after being closed to travelers last year. The rich history, culture, and culinary experiences offered by these Asian cities attract travelers seeking unique and immersive experiences.

Popularity of Beachfront Getaways Beachfront getaways continue to be a popular choice for holiday travelers. Destinations such as Aruba, Miami Beach, West Palm Beach in Florida, Roatan in Honduras, and Playa Del Carmen in Mexico rank highly for those seeking a relaxing beach holiday. The appeal of sun, sand, and clear blue waters makes beachfront getaways an attractive option for those looking to escape the cold winter weather.

Gift Preferences Trending Towards Experiences

Rise in Preference for Gifted Experiences Over Physical Gifts A trend towards gifting experiences over physical gifts has emerged, with 92% of Americans expressing a preference for experiences this holiday season. This shift reflects a desire for meaningful and memorable moments, rather than material possessions. Experiential gifts offer the opportunity to create lasting memories and can be tailored to individual interests and preferences.

Popular Gifted Experiences According to GetYourGuide, the top experiences Americans are hoping for this holiday season include travel or a trip, attending a concert or show, engaging in an outdoor activity like skiing or hiking, and visiting a museum. These experiences provide a range of options for gifting, from weekend getaways to tickets for concerts or exhibitions. The popularity of these experiences highlights the desire for unique and enriching adventures.

Top Domestic and International Destinations for Winter Visits For those seeking winter experiences, domestic destinations such as Florida, California, and New York top the list. These locations offer a diverse range of activities and attractions, from sunny beaches to bustling cities and winter sports. Internationally, France, Mexico, and Canada are the top three destinations for winter visits, providing a mix of cultural experiences, natural wonders, and warm weather escapes.

Generational Trends: Millennials & Gen Z

Maximalist Wedding Trend Amid Millennials and Gen Z When it comes to weddings, there is a noticeable trend among Millennials and Gen Z towards maximalist celebrations. These younger generations are embracing the idea of “more is more” and investing heavily in the personal details of their special day. Maximalist weddings often feature lavish decor, elaborate themes, and luxurious experiences for guests.

Investments in Detailed Personalization for Weddings Millennials and Gen Z couples are going the extra mile to personalize their weddings. They are focusing on creating unique and memorable experiences for themselves and their guests. This includes customized menus, personalized touches in decor and favors, and interactive elements throughout the event. The attention to detail and personalization contribute to a one-of-a-kind celebration.

Emerging Trends in Wedding Food Preferences Food is a focal point for many couples, and there are emerging trends in wedding food preferences among Millennials and Gen Z. These generations are choosing gourmet food that reflects their dietary choices, such as vegan or gluten-free options. They also prioritize the quality and presentation of the food, considering it as an essential part of the overall wedding experience.

Sustainability Trends in Wedding Planning

Inclusion of Sustainable Elements in Wedding Planning Couples today are increasingly incorporating sustainable elements into their wedding planning. This includes choosing eco-friendly venues, using seasonal or locally grown flowers, opting for digital invitations, and donating excess food and decorations to nearby pantries. Sustainable weddings allow couples to celebrate their love while minimizing their environmental impact.

Popular Sustainable Choices for Weddings Some popular sustainable choices for weddings include using recycled or biodegradable materials for decor and favors, selecting caterers that focus on locally sourced ingredients, and choosing venues that have implemented green practices. Couples can also opt for carbon offset programs and donate a portion of their wedding budget to environmental causes. These sustainable choices contribute to a more eco-conscious and socially responsible wedding celebration.

Growth in Luxury Travel Sales

Sales Gains Across the Luxury Travel Section The luxury travel sector has experienced significant sales gains, with a 32% increase in overall sales. This growth can be attributed to various factors, including increasing demand for luxury accommodations, unique experiences, and personalized services. Travelers are willing to invest in luxury travel experiences to create unforgettable memories.

Increase in Luxury Room Revenues Luxury room revenues have increased by 45%, indicating a strong demand for high-end accommodations. Travelers are seeking luxury hotels and resorts that offer exceptional amenities, top-notch service, and exclusive experiences. The increase in luxury room revenues is a positive sign for the luxury travel industry, highlighting the ongoing appeal of luxury accommodations.

Growth in Luxury Guided and Cruise Revenue Luxury guided tours and cruises have seen a 24% increase in revenue, indicating a growing interest in curated and immersive travel experiences. Luxury travelers are seeking expert guidance and unique itineraries that cater to their specific interests and preferences. The growth in luxury guided and cruise revenue reflects the demand for exceptional and all-inclusive luxury travel experiences.

Travel Agency Events and Programs

Successful Travel Agency events Travel agencies have been hosting successful events to promote their services and connect with clients. These events provide opportunities for travel advisors to showcase their expertise, network with industry professionals, and gain valuable insights into the latest trends and developments. Successful events help travel agencies strengthen their relationships with clients and enhance their reputation in the industry.

Introduction of New Commission Plans by Nexion Travel Group Nexion Travel Group has introduced new commission plans aimed at providing greater flexibility for travel advisors. The Nexion 100 plan allows advisors to keep 100% of their commissions for bookings made through non-ARC suppliers. This incentive encourages advisors to maximize their earnings and offers them a choice between a higher commission or a higher monthly fee, based on their business needs.

New Programs for Travel Advisors by Brightline and Venture Ashore Brightline, a modern high-speed train service, has launched a new Travel Professional Program that offers commissionable rail bookings for travel advisors. Qualified advisors can now book their clients’ travel on Brightline trains and earn a base commission of 10% on both economy and premium classes of rail service. This program provides travel advisors with an additional revenue stream and enhances their offerings to clients.

Venture Ashore has also introduced a new website specifically designed for travel advisors. The website offers improved booking visibility and management, as well as a user-friendly interface for booking land-based and cruise trips. This enhancement streamlines the booking process for travel advisors and allows for greater efficiency in serving their clients.

Notable Changes in Travel Itinerary

Changes in Star Legend’s Middle East Debut Due to the war in Israel/Gaza, Star Legend’s Middle East debut has been shifted from December 2023 to November 2024. This adjustment ensures the safety and well-being of guests and allows for a more secure travel experience. Travelers who were looking forward to the Middle East itinerary will now have the opportunity to explore Mediterranean destinations instead.

New Mediterranean Destinations for Star Legend In light of the changes to the Middle East itinerary, Star Legend will now sail the Mediterranean from December 2023 to April 2024. The ship will visit destinations such as Barcelona, Nice, Florence/Livorno, Marseille, and Rome. These new itineraries have been specifically designed to offer guests the opportunity to explore these popular Mediterranean locales with fewer crowds and easier access to cultural landmarks and local cuisine.

Potential Advantages for Travelers due to these Changes While changes to itineraries can be disappointing, they can also present new opportunities for travelers. The shift in Star Legend’s Middle East debut to Mediterranean destinations offers unique advantages, including the opportunity to explore popular cities with fewer crowds. Travelers can take advantage of easier access to museums, cultural events, historical landmarks, and authentic local experiences. These changes provide an enriched and tailored travel experience for those onboard the Star Legend.

News and Updates from Travel World

Fire at Four Seasons Resort Nevis Four Seasons Resort Nevis experienced a fire this week, resulting in the destruction of its Pro Shop and Fitness Center. Fortunately, there were no reported injuries, and the resort’s main accommodations, restaurants, and reception remained undamaged. The safety and well-being of guests and employees were the top priority for the resort, which has since remained open and continues to welcome guests.

Resort’s Measures for Safety and Restoration Following the fire, Four Seasons Resort Nevis has been implementing measures to ensure guest safety and facilitate the restoration of the damaged facilities. The resort remains committed to providing a seamless guest experience and has taken the necessary steps to minimize any disruption caused by the incident.

Impact of the Situation on Guests While the fire at Four Seasons Resort Nevis is unfortunate, the impact on guests has been mitigated thanks to the resort’s swift response and commitment to guest safety. The undamaged accommodations, restaurants, and reception continue to operate, allowing guests to enjoy their stay without significant disruptions. The resort’s prompt action demonstrates its dedication to guest satisfaction and its ability to handle unexpected situations with professionalism and efficiency.

Future of Luxury Travel

Predictions for Future Bookings The future of luxury travel looks promising, with predictions indicating an increase in bookings. According to Virtuoso, luxury travel agency network, future bookings for 2024 and 2025 are up 36% compared to the previous year. This surge in bookings suggests a strong demand for luxury travel experiences and reflects the confidence of travelers in the industry’s recovery post-pandemic.

Future Sales Compared to Previous Years Virtuoso also reports that year-to-date sales in 2023 were up 25% compared to the same period last year, and Q4 2023 sales showed a 32% increase over Q4 2022. These figures indicate a positive growth trajectory for the luxury travel sector and suggest that sales will continue to improve in the coming years. The increase in sales is a testament to the resilience and adaptability of the luxury travel industry.

Impact of Current Trends on Future of Luxury Travel The current trends in holiday travel, including increased interest in experiences, sustainable choices, and personalized offerings, are likely to shape the future of luxury travel. Travelers are seeking unique and meaningful experiences, and luxury travel providers will need to adapt to meet these evolving preferences. The emphasis on sustainability is also expected to play a significant role in shaping the future of luxury travel, as travelers become more conscious of their environmental impact.

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