Travelers are looking to spend more money than ever before to ensure memorable and unique experiences.
The American Express Travel: 2022 Global Travel Trends Report revealed that 74 percent of respondents agree they are willing to book a trip for this year even if they have to cancel or modify it at a later date. Eighty-six percent of consumers also expect to spend more or the same on travel in 2022 compared to a typical pre-pandemic year.
“The past two years proved how special exploration can be, as well as the weight our travel decisions hold for local communities,” said Audrey Hendley, president of American Express Travel, in a statement.
To collect the data, Amex Trendex conducted an online poll by Morning Consult from Feb. 3-11, 2022, among 2,000 U.S. travelers and 1,000 travelers in Japan, Australia, Mexico, India, the U.K. and Canada who have a household income of at least $70,000.
Getting out there
Consumers are excitedly preparing their returns to travel, planning trips with purpose and excitement.
A sizable 62 percent of respondents agree that they plan on taking two to four trips this year.
Fifty-five percent of travelers said they wish to book a once-in-a-lifetime vacation this year, including millennials at 67 percent and Gen Z respondents at 65 percent.
More than half of respondents, 52 percent, said they are interested in traveling for personal gatherings such as weddings, birthdays, graduations or holidays.
About six in 10 travelers also said they are more likely to go on a spontaneous trip in 2022.
Travelers also plan to spend more on international domestic trips than they did last year at a rate of 64 and 72 percent, respectively.
Whether spontaneous or meticulously planned, many consumers are bringing a certain degree of thoughtfulness to their trips.
Eighty-one percent of respondents agree that they want to travel to destinations where they can immerse themselves into the local culture and agree that they want the money they spend while traveling to go back to the travel community. Sixty-two percent also want to be more thoughtful about where and how they travel.
To benefit local communities, 55 percent of travelers intend to eat and shop at small businesses, 42 percent plan to visit a landmark or heritage site and 40 percent will visit a national park.
Once more with meaning
After several years of tumultuous global events, many consumers are viewing travel as an opportunity to reaffirm positive experiences with their families.
About eight in 10 respondents agreed they are most looking forward to traveling with their family in 2022, and 76 percent said they plan to travel more with family in 2022 than they did in 2021.
Luxury hospitality brands are aiming to help put families first.
Last September, Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts and tour operator TCS World Travel collaborated to deliver the ultimate holiday getaway.
The seven-day Winter Whistler Family Getaway from the Four Seasons in British Columbia offered consumers a week of luxury accommodations, exclusive adventures and holiday festivities. Guests enjoyed the scenic winter of Whistler, the ski slopes and more (see story).
Above all, consumers view the year ahead as an opportunity for purposeful travel with their loved ones.
While travel was beginning to shift toward more fulfilling experiences prior to the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, connecting deeply with a destination as the primary goal of luxury travel is a relatively new phenomenon.
Gone are the days of superficial travel — dipping in and out of communities, seeing the highlights or sticking close to a familiar travel group. During a session at the 2022 Condé Nast Traveler’s Points of View Summit, travel leaders discussed ways to find deeper connections with a destination through its people and culture, from taking part in authentic activities and eating and buying local to simply engaging with the residents (see story).
“Looking ahead, travelers are making decisions with purpose in mind – from understanding where their money is going to finding time to connect with loved ones,” Ms. Hendley said. "We’re excited to see what the future brings.”