BITES // 05.05.22 // TODAY’S TOPIC: PACK YOUR BAGS, TRAVEL SEASON IS BACK

Catherine Marsh
zmbz
5 min readMay 5, 2022

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Every month we collect six of the best pieces of content published on the web and share them with you because we believe that the most extraordinary thinking is inspired by looking to unexpected places. BITES is a reading list for those who want to bring a little of the outside, in.

OVERVIEW

Travel brands have the opportunity to lead travelers into a new era of travel. They can bring people to a new destination and enable life-changing and meaningful experiences. Looking at the bigger picture, as advertisers, we need to think about how travel is not only about seeing new places but helping travelers make connections with the world, others, and themselves.

1. HOTEL INDUSTRY HOT STREAK

The pandemic hit hotels especially hard, but now they’re making a comeback. Say goodbye to staycations. In the first three months of 2022, hotel sales surpassed $12.5 billion, a record high since 2016. This surge in the market has led to record acquisitions. A reason for the hotel boom is inflation. The hotel industry can cope with general price inflation better than most businesses, thanks to its ability to set new prices for its rooms daily. Xenia Hotels & Resorts, Inc. recently purchased the W Nashville hotel for $950,000/room in a $329 million deal. Relocation fever and the broad shift to remote work have generally lowered the demand for temporary lodging. Hotels are trying to accommodate this shift by launching subscription services for long-distance commuters and hybrid workers that would guarantee members one night’s stay per month in a hotel.

2. SUMMER’S HOTTEST REAL ESTATE: AIRLINE OVERHEAD BIN SPACE

With Easter travel over, monthly domestic airline ticket bookings and revenue in February exceeded 2019 levels for the first time since the pandemic began. Credit card spending on airlines is also above 2019 levels according to JP Morgan. March 2022 was its best month for Delta sales ever. The sector, which went into hibernation mode in spring 2020, was not prepared for the bounce back in demand and has been scrambling to staff up amid a widespread shortage of workers. JetBlue plans to cut up to 10% of its flight capacity in May, ensuring that your flight will be canceled before you even book it. If airlines can keep their operations running smoothly over the summer, they could be in for a windfall. Airlines are hoping that proactive steps may help stem the worst of the headaches for passengers.

3. CRUISES ARE CLEARED

After two years, the CDC dropped its travel advisory warning Americans against boarding cruise ships. The CDC still acknowledges the possibility of transmission on ships, but is now encouraging travelers to assess the risk themselves before hopping on board. The cruise ship industry has been hit hard economically by the pandemic, losing billions of dollars in revenue. Like many cruise lines, Carnival’s stock has taken a hit since 2020, down almost 50%, but the announcement may help these companies get back afloat. Bookings for the second half of 2022 have been 37% higher than in 2019. One of the biggest cruise trends for 2022 is luxury expedition voyages, appealing to a growing number of travelers throughout the pandemic because they typically sail on smaller ships and steer away from crowded destinations.

4. DREAM TRIPS ARE NOW A REALITY

The last two and half years have taught us that nothing is certain, leading to people taking that sense of living in the moment and traveling like there’s no tomorrow. Eighty-six percent of respondents from an online Amex Trendex survey of 3,000 regular travelers earning at least $70,000 a year said they expect people to spend more on travel in 2022. Dream destinations are coming back into focus with the strongest desire among Millennials and GenZers. Over half of Millennials and GenZers say they would rather take their dream vacation than purchase a new car and said they’d be willing to travel solo now to visit their dream destination. Travelers are putting the pandemic behind them and are planning to spend more, go further, and dust off their bucket lists in 2022.

5. CITIES ARE BACK ON THE TRAVEL LIST

The pandemic hit major cities and urban centers hard but with the world returning to normal excitement around dining, nightlife and attractions are getting a second life. Travelers are ready to head back to bustling urban areas like New York City, Seattle, Boston, San Francisco, Nashville, and Chicago. The New York-is-back trend, a SkyScanner report found that New York City was the top booked domestic destination so far in 2022 Expedia said there was a 13 percent increase in searches for New York City. Travelers are wanting to return to the heart of the action.

6. WELLNESS AND IMPACT ARE NOW A TRAVEL PRIORITY

A broadened definition of “wellness” emerged during the pandemic. Travelers are now spending more time thinking through who and what they are traveling for, with 78% of respondents wanting to have a positive impact on the community they are visiting. Wellness is one of the fastest-growing corners of the global wellness industry, with travel increasingly part of the experience. More hotel brands and relationship therapists are offering couples retreats and beachfront sessions with intimacy coaches and guided explorations to meet the needs of travelers seeking greater couple satisfaction and relationship building. Wellness tourism’s annual growth rate from 2020 to 2025 is predicted to be 21 percent. Making wellness travel is expected to outpace all other sectors of the overall wellness economy.

TAKEAWAY

After a two-year pandemic and travel restrictions, the world is finally opening back up. Travelers are ready to get back out into the world and explore. After being isolated for so long, people are yearning for human connection with travel being an outlet for them to meet others and embark on new experiences. Travel is about to experience a year unlike ever before as people plan purpose-driven trips, as they value vacation time more than ever and dial up their investment in pursuit of unique experiences. Travel companies that prioritize safety and well being, innovative solutions, and transparent communication will be the clear leaders as the entire industry shifts from survival mode into accelerated demand and growth.

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Catherine Marsh
zmbz
Editor for

Catherine or as people call her “Cat” is a Strategist and is passionate about the undiscovered that lies within the intersection of culture, people, and society