Which Travel Trends for 2023 will shape the industry? 2022 marked the return of tourism, and despite rising costs globally, it is not stopping travelers from taking vacations and exploring the world. On the contrary, 2023 looks promising, with millions of travelers already planning trips and a projected 20 % increase in income for the global tourism industry (according to Euronews 2023 report).
As travel boosts, the expectations of both companies and travelers are higher than ever when it comes to getting on the road. New tools, solutions, and skills are emerging to enable tourists to travel smoothly and in a seamless way.
The travel industry is set to undergo significant changes in 2023, with a FinTech and green investment revolution. The technology revolution in the travel industry is no longer a hypothesis, “try before you buy” is the foundation of metaverse.
We shed light on a rapidly evolving industry. Here are five travel trends for 2023 will shape travel in the coming year.
1# Travel trends: Sustainability is the new ROI
Tourism accounts for up to 5 % of global carbon emissions (UNWTO source), and the implications of climate change for the sector are far-reaching, affecting investment, destination resources, transportation costs and tourism demand patterns. Reducing greenhouse gas emissions are not new business priorities, but the urgency is growing. Investors are demanding more than greenwashing and pro-sustainability advertising. “Green financing” is also about boosting profits. Investments in companies that support or provide environmentally friendly practices or solutions are increasing. Among all these actions, the challenge for the travel industry will be to show that it is not all about greenwashing. Tourists, along with investors, will hold companies accountable for their progress.
2# Travel trends: Fin-Tech Travel
New forms of fintech services are becoming a must-have feature for many travel companies. Travel companies around the world are increasingly adopting new business models that use financial technology, or called fintech, to manage payments and protections, and “replace” the role of banks and insurance companies.
“Buy now, pay later,” re-protections , insurance and other upselling services: the financialization of travel is expanding the products consumers can add to the basic product, their trip. This megatrend is sometimes a challenge for those in the financial sector, but at the same time it creates profitable partnerships for both and new revenue opportunities.
- The Canadian app Hopper has acted in partnership with Capital One Travel, Trip.com, Kayak, Amadeus, Marriott and MakeMyTrip, among others to protect consumers in the event of price increases. If a tourist pays a deposit to freeze a flight for a week and meanwhile the price goes up, Hopper pays the difference.
- In 2021 Booking Holdings implemented an internal fintech unit. In addition to testing fintech products for travelers such as favorable exchange rates, the holding company wants to facilitate cross-border transactions that take place in different currencies between hotels and partners.
2# Travel trends: traveler-centered technology
We have already talked several times about the digitization triggered by the pandemic. Existing and emerging technologies will continue to influence travel in the future. According to a recent Amadeus survey, technology and innovation appear to be key to building traveler confidence and will increase travel readiness in the next 12 months.
In the coming year, technological innovations will continue to streamline every travel experience. The top five technologies that will increase travel confidence in the next 12 months are:
- Mobile apps that provide notifications and alerts during travel (44 %)
- Self-service check-in (41 %)
- Contactless mobile payments, e.g., Apple Pay (41%)
- Automated and flexible cancellation policies (40%)
- Mobile boarding (40%)
In addition to supporting people as they travel, technologies have enabled innovative solutions and resilience in the face of crisis. What will be the evolutions?
One very interesting development combining financialization and travel technology is biometric payments. Biometric payments-through ApplePay and GooglePay-are now mainstream. In the coming years, however, biometric payments will develop more and more in the travel industry. Airports already use biometrics for travel document identification, so the logical next step is to leverage this identity verification for all payments that travelers make while traveling. Some tentative testing has already begun with travel retailer Hudson using the Amazon One biometric payment solution in its store at Nashville International Airport, allowing customers to pay with the palm of their hand.
3# Travel trends: metaverse to “try before you buy”
In the coming years, the metaverse will take traveler engagement to the next level. Travelers will be able to have deeper cultural experiences in an online world, exploring virtual concerts and exhibitions. Technology also offers tremendous potential for pre-trip assistance and the opportunity to “try before you buy,” creating additional excitement and desire to travel.
Walt Disney Co. plans to create a theme park in the real world that incorporates a parallel 3D virtual experience, while Seoul is leading the way with its plans to become a “metaverse destination” by 2023. Qatar Airways, meanwhile, recently announced the Qverse with a MetaHuman cabin crew, offering an immersive experience for visiting, navigating, and checking in at Hamad International Airport.
4# Travel trends: Hyper-personalization
After the pandemic, getting travelers to open their wallets has become a competitive struggle. Travelers seek experiences that exactly meet their needs and desires, rather than simply going with the flow.
Vegan travel is one example: relegated to a niche, demand is increasing and so is the demand for customization. Travel booking site Responsible Travel has increased the number of vegan-friendly travel listings by 1,000 in 2021 to cater to a lifestyle that demands more personalized offerings from hotels and restaurants.
Another example is no-fly travel, a movement that has grown in 2020 from Sweden to the United Kingdom, Denmark, Belgium, France, Germany, and Canada. There are more and more operators offering many ways to travel, some with zero environmental impact, especially for short-haul destinations.
If the pandemic was a switch to take stock and innovate, today the challenges facing tourism (energy crisis, climate disasters and geopolitical tensions) will further influence tourism scenarios for the year ahead.