3 Trends to Inform Your Destination Strategy in 2022

Last year, road trips continued to reign supreme for many North American travelers, air travel started to rebound, cruise enthusiasts finally hit the high seas again, and the industry maintained its path toward recovery. Although COVID-19 continues to impact the travel industry—and travelers—the clear path forward is adapting and creating new realities for travel, and agility remains key to success.   

According to the latest findings from the Expedia Group Traveler Value Index: 2022 Outlook, which surveyed 5,500 adults in eight global markets, 8 in 10 travelers are planning to take at least one leisure trip in the next six months. To help marketers plan for the year ahead and capture leisure travel demand, we’re highlighting 2022 industry trends based on the latest data and insights from 300 petabytes of Expedia Group first-party data and custom research.   

Below are a few of the trends we expect to see for destinations and car rental companies in 2022.   

1. Travelers Will Invest in Travel – and Themselves 

The study found that 54% of travelers expect to spend more money on travel than they did pre-pandemic, with American, British, Australian, and Canadian travelers planning to spend the most. On the flip side, Japanese and Mexican travelers expect to spend the least. This may be due to stringent travel regulations or travel preferences.  

Regardless of travel budgets or spending intentions, there is a wide-reaching opportunity for travel marketers to appeal to travelers with discounts, promotions, and special offers. Those who are already expecting to spend big may be more open to investing in discount upgrades or ancillary items that improve the overall travel experience, while those who plan to spend less may be influenced by deals and discounts that align with their budget.  

In addition to the financial investment, travelers will invest in their personal wellness through future travel. According to Expedia’s 2022 Travel Trends Report, more than one-third (36%) of U.S. travelers are searching for a sense of contentment and mental wellbeing on their next trip. In 2022, 38% of Americans are most looking forward to a trip experience that allows them to relax and do nothing. Marketers can lead with visuals or messaging that highlight opportunities for travelers to disconnect, decompress, and get away from it all.  

2. Car Travel Will Lead, Driven by a Desire for Quick Trips

Though all modes of transportation are expected to see a lift in 2022, car travel continues to be the leading choice for travelers around the world. 7 in 10 travelers plan to take a car trip—which includes a personal vehicle or rental car—in the next 12 months. Americans (77%), followed by French (73%), Australian (73%), and Canadian (72%) travelers are most likely to travel by car in the next 12 months. Rental car marketers should continue to engage with a broad demographic audience to inspire travel, but a focused effort on travelers from these regions is most likely to create opportunities to engage and convert.     

In addition to regional targeting, marketers can promote deals and discounts for quick trips or long weekend getaways. Car travelers (83%) prefer more frequent, shorter trips, so incentivizing them with a great deal—and providing an excellent experience—could help drive repeat business with this receptive and eager-to-travel audience. 

3. Travelers Will Adapt Plans and Preferences to Safely Get Away 

After living in the pandemic for nearly two years, consumers have learned how to travel under the circumstances, based on their comfort level, and they will continue to adapt and evolve their travel behaviors and preferences as the landscape changes. For instance, 54% of travelers said they would pick a destination with COVID-19 safety protocols and 49% would choose a less crowded destination. Furthermore, 62% of travelers would follow local COVID-19 guidelines in an effort to adapt their travel specifically because of the effects of the pandemic.  

These findings indicate that health and safety guidelines and COVID-19 protocols may re-emerge as an important factor in traveler decisions. Markers should continue to highlight this information to help travelers make responsible travel decisions and take appropriate precautions. 

To learn more about these trends, as well as insights for air, accommodations and more, download the full Traveler Value Index: 2022 Outlook. You can also find out about our car rental and destination marketing solutions, or contact us to speak with a digital media consultant today. 

Monya Mandich

Vice President, Media Solutions Marketing

Monya Mandich is the VP, Marketing of Expedia Group Media Solutions and oversees all integrated marketing and communications activities for the brand. In her role, she is responsible for raising awareness of digital media opportunities for partners across the Expedia Group suite of leading global travel brands. With nearly two decades of experience, she evangelizes a thought leadership approach both externally and internally centered on data-driven insights, which has resulted in travel and marketing industry recognition and accolades. Monya previously managed strategic partnership development, executing strategies for top-tier partnerships, maximizing traffic and revenue for Expedia.com. She started her career in the travel space at VacationSpot.com, where she ran the B2B marketing and customer acquisition efforts for the vacation rental booking site. Monya is on the board of directors for Destinations International and the U.S. Travel, and also participates on the advisory committee for U.S. Travel's Project: Time Off, which aims to shift thinking around the health, business and economic value of personal time off, Monya was also recognized as one of HSMAI’s Top 25 Most Extraordinary Minds in Sales and Marketing. She is a graduate of Western Washington University and lives in the Seattle area with her family.

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