Welcome 2023: Looking forward to a strong year for travel

The travel industry faced many new challenges throughout 2022, including inflation, political concerns, and staffing issues, however the desire to travel remained paramount.  

From the start of the year, we saw travelers’ excitement to get back to travel. In the first quarter of 2022, global search volume was up 25% quarter-over-quarter, led by double-digit growth in North America and Europe. Momentum continued and in the second quarter, lodging bookings reached the highest in company history.  

Here at Media Solutions, we track these trends and traveler behaviors across our global sites and share these insights with our partners and the industry because we are all navigating these various changes together. And, while we know change is constant, and can always anticipate that new opportunities and challenges will arise for our business and our industry, we are excited to see what 2023 will bring.  

We have much to celebrate from 2022, and new opportunities to look forward to in the new year.  

Sustainability is essential 

Sustainable travel is a trend we saw emerge from the pandemic as many brands began shifting their marketing, and their business, strategies and priorities. Sustainability has also been a key focus area for Expedia Group, and in 2022 we conducted a research study to help identify the why and how travelers think about sustainable travel, so we can better support the industry in reaching them.   

Our Sustainable Travel Study gave us further insights into the important travelers are placing on the topic; in fact, 90% of consumers want to see sustainable options when they are booking a trip. We even saw our partners lean in on their sustainable travel initiatives in their campaigns with us, including Hawai’i Tourism Oceania in their campaign centered around rewarding travel. To promote sustainable tourism, they encouraged visitors to give back during their trip through activities including beach cleanups, tree planting, and battleship restoration.   

Our new research, the 2023 Traveler Value Index, shows that sustainability is also a priority for the industry and is tied with marketing as the highest area of investment for 2023, with one in five industry professionals saying sustainability will be their top investment priority next year. 

Looking toward business travel

At the end of last year, business travel was still an unknown area for the industry, and little was known when and how business travel would come back. 2022 brought numerous challenges to business travel, and businesses all over the world took various stances on the topic with their employees. One thing we learned this year is that business travel is necessary in many ways, and we were happy on Media Solutions to meet with partners in person again. From our EXPLORE conference in Las Vegas, to World Travel Mart in London, Skift Global Forum East in Dubai and many trips around the globe in between, I got the chance to meet with colleagues, partners and industry leaders in person.  

Our Expedia Group data sheds light on this topic and tells us that business travel is beginning to show strong signs of recovery, with 32% of consumers planning to take a business trip in the next 12 months. With the continuation of flexible and remote work for many, bleisure travel and flexcations are strong opportunities to take advantage of in 2023. As business travelers are the highest priority for many industry professionals, the return of business travel could have a large impact this year.  

Create compelling campaigns for your destination 

With travel demand on the rise, destination marketers have the opportunity to reach eager travelers.

Destination marketers can take advantage of our insights into traveler behavior to connect with travelers, create excitement about their destination, and build compelling campaigns to stand out from the competition.

Connecting inspiration with action through creative content

Over the past year, our in-house creative agency has been working with several brands to develop innovative and engaging video content with our partners to not only inspire travelers, but also encourage bookings. We worked with both Abu Dhabi and Visit Panamá on episodes for “The Next Turn” series, which follows travelers as they explore different activities throughout the destination while highlighting booking options for travelers to secure their trip on the spot.  

To create another immersive experience, our team worked with London & Partners on a campaign called “Dawn Till Dusk” following London locals to showcase the diversity and uniqueness that travelers can experience when visiting London.  

In 2023, we anticipate creative advertising methods to continue growing in importance as travelers seek organic, immersive experiences to inspire their next trip, and we look forward to working with other partners to bring their stories to life in this way.   

To access the latest data and set your business up for a successful 2023, make sure to download our Q4 Traveler Insights Report.  

Rob Torres

Senior Vice President, Media Solutions

As senior vice president at Expedia Group Media Solutions, Rob Torres leads all facets of the global advertising business, including product, engineering, strategy, operations and business development, and works with the leadership team in shaping the future of the business with industry-leading offerings for partners. Prior to this role, Rob spent 16 years at Google as the managing director of advertising and marketing for the company’s travel division, overseeing sales, strategy, product development and relationship management. He previously spent seven years as vice president of strategic accounts at Expedia Group, working closely with hotel partners. A travel industry leader, Rob was most recently vice chairman and a member of the Operating Committee of the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) and currently serves on the U.S. Travel and Tourism Advisory Board (TTAB). He is also a former chairman of the World Economic Forum’s Future of Mobility council and past board chairman for The Hospitality Sales and Marketing Association International (HSMAI). Rob holds a B.S. in Public Administration from the University of Southern California and an MBA from Georgetown University and resides in Seattle with his family.

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