Travel Predictions For 2023: 10 Essential Takeaways For Tour Operators 

December 22, 2022
Isabel Espinoza
8 min read

Ready to take on an exciting new year of travel?

By being prepared for the new year and all that it will bring, you’ll be in a better position to provide more relevant travel experiences that 2023’s travelers are interested in seeing.

Get it right, and it could result in a lot more booking sales for your business.

Travel is on the rise, and travelers seem to be more excited than they’ve been in previous years to spend money on unforgettable experiences. As a travel operator, this spells out many opportunities for you.

To help you start the year off with the right strategy, here is our guide to the biggest travel predictions for 2023.

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7 Travel Predictions for 2023 

2023 is set to be a big year for travel. To help you prepare your business for what’s ahead, here are some of the biggest travel predictions for 2023.

Nostalgic Getaways Are The Leading Reason For Travel 

There are many different reasons why people will be planning trips in 2023, but the main reason is to go on a nostalgic getaway.

According to research conducted by Booking.com, 88% of people agree that this will be the most popular type of vacation.

Here is a look at other popular types of vacations:

  • Community-minded vacations (80%)
  • Blowing the budget trips (80%)
  • Laid-back luxe life vacations (78%)
  • Daily rental breaks (74%)
  • Out-of-comfort zone travel (73%)
  • Nightlife-centric vacations (72%)
  • Flashpacking (72%)
  • Adventurous backpacking (70%)
  • Traveling for a purpose (69%)
  • Surviving the wilderness (67%)

For a travel business, it’s interesting to comprehend what kinds of travel experiences people are looking to have and what is inspiring them to travel.

With 80% of people agreeing that “blow the budget” trips will be the reason they travel, and 78% agreeing on “luxe life” vacations, it’s clear that 2023’s travelers are planning to spend a lot of money while traveling.

This is a surefire way to ensure that your marketing efforts target your audience accordingly.

Greater Focus On Wellness Travel 

Another key focus on big travel predictions for 2023 will be on wellness travel.

For the year ahead, many travelers will be looking for more than just relaxation and fun on their trips. Instead, they will be focused more on travel that aligns with the mind, body, and soul.

Travel predictions for 2023  

42% of travelers say they want to plan a trip to improve their mental and physical health. This includes retreats to assist with pregnancy and menopause.

44% of travelers want to go on spiritual meditation and mindfulness retreats.

There is also going to be a rise in the popularity of other kinds of mind and body travel experiences. 36% of travelers are interested in planning some kind of erotic travel experience where they can explore new kinks.

Another 36% of travelers would like to explore psychedelic experiences, fuelled by cannabis, mushrooms, or ayahuasca, in 2023.

A Look At Other Expected Trends 

The leader of niche travel experiences remains food with 47% of travelers expecting to plan trips around eccentric eating. Again, this aligns with the luxury, blow-the-budget style trips as predicted above.

It’s interesting to understand these kinds of niche travel experiences and motivations because it could offer some insights into the kind of destinations and target audiences that travel companies should be focusing on.

According to the same study cited above, here are some of the other most popular niche travel experiences that travelers are expected to focus on in 2023:

  • Silent retreat (40%)
  • Learning about wilderness survival (39%)
  • Extraterrestrial exploration holidays (38%)
  • Virtual vacations (35%)
  • Transformation vacations (32%)

Travel Is Picking Up 

There is a definite increase in interest in travel, with 73% of people being more optimistic about travel in 2023 than they were the previous year.

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At the same time, an impressive 72% of people believe that travel is still a worthwhile investment, even though the world is in the middle of so much political and economic instability. This comes as a major change to the total shutdown of travel during the pandemic.

So, as a travel business, this is good news. There seems to be a greater rise in demand and excitement around travel as we head into the new year.

Increase In Sustainable Travel 

Sustainability is an increasingly important focus of travel and it’s something that more travelers are actively seeking as we head into 2023.

74% of travelers from a study reveal that they would be happy to pay more for travel experiences if they know that their money is going toward more sustainable travel.

In the same study, 70% of travelers agreed that traveling more sustainably improves the overall travel experience.

Clearly, sustainability is an important focus in the world of travel. And this isn’t strictly limited to ecological sustainability. Travelers are actively looking to use companies that focus more on empowering local communities, benefiting the local economy, and preserving the natural and cultural heritage of a destination.

So, if your travel business does not have a clear stance towards sustainability or more purposeful travel, then it could be a good time to start focusing on this area.

Travelers Want To Disconnect 

As mentioned, there is expected to be a rise in expensive and luxurious travel trends in 2023. At the same time, a large portion of travelers is also looking to totally disconnect when they go traveling in 2023.

Travel predictions for 2023

This is likely due to the “overreliance” on technology that people have been facing over the last two years.

One of the more interesting travel predictions for 2023 is that 55% of travelers are wanting to spend their vacations off the grid. 36% of employed people want to travel to a destination with no wifi, and 39% of student travelers are looking forward to the challenge of being off the grid.

However, 48% of travelers say that they only want to travel off the grid if they can take some luxuries and indulgences with them. In the same study, 53% of travelers say they would need their phone and a stable internet connection if they plan to experience back-to-nature style travel.

Off-the-grid travel seems to appeal most to millennials, where 62% agree that it would provide an escape from reality. This figure decreases with older generations, as only 30% of ages 76 – 93 agree that off-grid travel would provide this kind of escape.

While we’re on the topic of back-to-basics travel, 58% of travelers said that they would be happy to use traveling in 2023 to learn more about nature survival skills.

Travel Advisors Are Popular For All Ages 

Good news for the travel industry – 76% of travelers have agreed that there is an increased value in additional travel services, like using a travel advisor.

This applies to travelers of all ages, with Gen Zers and Millenials seeing an increasing demand for expert travel advisors who can save them time and energy.

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This goes back to the surging popularity of luxury travel, where travelers would prefer to have all of their logistics and arrangements organized for them. Sure, travelers can organize this themselves, yes it seems as though they would prefer not to.

So, as a travel business, it seems there is greater demand for value-added services like expert travel advisory. This is an exciting prospect as we enter a new year of travel.

Budget Priorities In Travel 

Looking at travel predictions for 2023, one of the most important factors to consider is where travelers plan to spend their budget.

This is essential for travel businesses to understand what kinds of experiences and areas to focus on in their trips.

Out of all the different travel elements, food remains the biggest budget priority, with 34% of 2023’s travelers prioritizing restaurants and dining experiences.

Coming in closely behind this is accommodation, with 32% of travelers looking to book accommodation that closely aligns with their travel needs and offers better facilities – like a pool or a central location.

According to the same study, here are some of the other key travel budget priorities we will see in 2023:

  • All-inclusive accommodation options: 28%
  • Travel insurance: 27%
  • Direct flights or modes of transport straight to the destination: 25%
  • Shopping for souvenirs: 25%
  • Pre-booked tickets for attractions while traveling: 22%
  • Unique destination experiences, like sky diving or hot air ballooning: 19%
  • Spending extra on a special experience for a loved one: 17%
  • Accommodation upgrades: 17%
  • Personal tours of a destination: 17%
  • Supporting local businesses: 17%

Travel predictions for 2023

How To Prepare For These Upcoming Travel Trends 

Now that you understand some of the top travel predictions for 2023, it’s important that your tour company is properly prepared for a new year of travel.

If there’s anything we can take from these stats, it’s that travel is on an upward path, and travelers are excited to spend money traveling and enjoy new experiences.

Here are some of the best ways your travel business can prepare for 2023.

Use An Effective Travel Payment Solution 

Using the right payment solutions for travel is essential for offering a seamless customer experience.

A travel booking and payment system will make it easier to accept bookings on your website and handle the rising demand for travel experiences.

It will also make it effortless for customers to make advanced travel bookings – a key offering in 2023.

Not only this but using an efficient software solution will make it easier for you to offer a greater variety of travel experiences. If you can skillfully create new booking pages, or customize your current pages, then your business can create flexible packages and experiences to match your customers’ needs.

This is a great way to stay on top of the year’s travel predictions and trends in order to sell more tours.

Spreadsheet: Travel industry's booking and payment gateways compared

Provide More Context Behind Your Travel Experiences 

Now is the time to start providing your customers with more context behind the travel experiences you offer.

As more people seek sustainability or a greater social impact in travel, it’s crucial that you include these elements clearly in your package descriptions and offers.

Travel predictions for 2023

Highlight the fact that your tour gives back to the local economy, that you only support local businesses, or that you help to boost the economy of local villages/communities.

If anything like this is relevant to your tours, then be sure to include the details in your travel booking pages. This can entice travelers to book their experiences with your travel business.

Consider Off-Season Travel 

With rising demand and excitement around travel, chances are there will be more off-season travelers looking toward your business in 2023.

Be prepared for this by offering a wider range of off-season travel experiences. This can also be a great time to run special promotions and offers to help increase bookings throughout the year.

Add A Wellness Element 

With a rising interest in health, wellness, and conscious travel, now would be a suitable time to incorporate a wellness element into your travel experiences.

You don’t have to be a specialized wellness travel provider, but you might want to start thinking about ways that you can expand into this area.

Consider including a wellness retreat or two in your travel offering if you don’t have one already. You could focus on smaller group tours with a wellness theme, or look into partnering with another wellness business.

This could be a fantastic way to boost travel sales in 2023.

 

Summary 

While we can never be sure of exactly what the year ahead will bring, we do know that there is a lot of interest and excitement around traveling in 2023.

Travelers are excited to try new experiences and prioritize travel as an investment in the coming year.

By staying on top of the trends and preparing your tour business with the right tools and tactics now, you’ll be in a better position to respond to these trends and reap the rewards in 2023.

This could give your travel company a major boost in revenue and set you apart from the competition.