If 2022 was the year of the changed traveler, 2023 is the year of the evolved traveler. Today, Hilton released its 2023 trends report, The 2023 Traveler: Emerging Trends that are Innovating the Travel Experience, A Report from Hilton, which reveals the latest consumer expectations following a year when travelers showed up in record numbers. Based on a global survey and analysis of current travel trends, today’s travelers are looking for a balance of technological and human innovations, deeper connections and care, embedded wellness experiences and more.
“In 2022, motivated travelers sought out new experiences around the world and reconnected with the people and places they love,” said Chris Nassetta, president and chief executive officer, Hilton. “The 2023 Trends Report showcases travelers’ evolving preferences and how eager and optimistic they are about their future adventures. Our Hilton team members are ready to welcome them and create a great stay experience at our more than 7,000 properties worldwide.”
The new report is the result of evaluating both quantitative and qualitative data research paired with insights collected by more than 7,000 travelers across the world in a survey commissioned by Hilton and conducted by Material, a global strategy, insights, design, and technology partner. According to the study, 84% of global consumers hope to travel just as much — or more — in 2023. The research also uncovered four consistent themes for 2023 travel, driven by traveler experiences over the last three years.
People will turn to travel for deeper, more engaging, human experiences and connections
Travel is a gateway to discovering different perspectives and rich traditions. In 2023, travelers will focus on travel to create deeper connections with family, friends, colleagues, customers, cultures and the planet. Nearly half (49%) of survey respondents want to be immersed in local culture and products while traveling — this applies to travelers from China (65%) and Australia (54%) in particular, and Japan (23%) to a lesser degree. Meanwhile, 40% of consumers globally want personalized access to unique experiences or activities, such as performances, events, spa treatments, or classes. That proportion is higher in China (74%), Australia (46%), and just slightly lower in Japan (30%).
From destination-focused culinary travel packages to impactful programs like Hilton’s Travel with Purpose, which helps guests positively impact the communities they visit, travelers are looking to create meaningful change through more immersive travel experiences. In fact, Hilton is witnessing signs of this growth through its reimagined Hilton Honors Experiences, which saw a 77% year-over-year increase in Hilton Honors Point redemption during the first nine months of 2022, allowing members to connect with their passions through new, exclusive experiences.
People will recognize travel as an essential part of their wellness routine
Overall wellness remains a priority for travelers as half (50%) of respondents seek travel experiences in 2023 that align with their holistic wellness goals and priorities.
“Travelers in Asia Pacific now desire experiences that truly ingrain themselves into the culture of the destination in every shape and form — including mind, body, and spirit, to rejuvenate the senses,” said Alexandra Jaritz, senior vice president, Brand Management, Hilton, Asia Pacific. “Experiences need to be authentic and immersive; allowing travelers to disconnect from the daily grind and develop a deeper cultural understanding of the destinations they visit.”
For about 1 in 2 (47%) travelers, physical wellness and accessibility to fitness amenities like centers or activities will be top of mind when it comes to traveling in 2023. For instance, healthier food and beverage options are top of mind for 66% of travelers from China. Guests will also seek moments of connection with their communities, as well as insights and solutions that improve their mental and emotional health. Addressing mental health on the road will be prioritized by 35% of global survey respondents. Meanwhile, another 49% of those employed will be looking to travel to disconnect from work.
Travelers will want to be taken care of more than ever
Personalization will continue to be a significant priority for travellers, with 86% of survey respondents indicating they want recognition and personalization while on the road. The trend is significantly more pronounced in Asia Pacific, with nearly all respondents in China (99%) wanting personalization, and 84% in Australia and 70% in Japan. Nearly half in China (46%) even look to travel and hospitality companies to accommodate their personal needs. This also corresponds with their interest in finding personalized food and beverage options — with respondents in China (69%), Australia (50%), and Japan (38%) specifying so.
Travelers know the importance of wanting to feel valued for their loyalty — both in their wallet and as an individual. In fact, 42% of survey respondents indicate that loyalty perks — such as earning/redeeming points and loyalty benefits — will matter to them when traveling in 2023. Among these respondents, travelers from China value rewards the most, topping the list at 52%.
Whether providing exceptional guest service for value-driven travelers at a Hilton Garden Inn property or accommodating large families looking to reconnect and spend more time together, Hilton understands the importance of delivering reliable and friendly service to every guest, every time. In fact, Hilton offers enhanced booking options like Confirmed Connecting Rooms by Hilton, which allows families and friends to reserve adjoining rooms when booking online.
“In Asia Pacific, the pent-up desire to reconnect with loved ones as travel takes on a deeper meaning is resulting in today’s leisure traveler emphasizing quality time with family,” said Ben George, senior vice president and commercial director, Hilton, Asia Pacific. “Exceptional hospitality and innovative guest experiences that anticipate this need go a long way in giving families the peace of mind knowing that they will be taken care of on every level, including helping them to create more shared moments and memories together.”
Travelers want frictionless travel innovations that are both technology- and human-led
2022 uncovered unexpected friction points in travel. Hilton’s global research found that more than half (56%) of all travelers surveyed will prioritize adopting solutions that make travel easier in 2023 and among them, respondents from China (59%) prefer to have friction points reduced the most. Overall, 26% of respondents also anticipate hotel technologies will be important to them for a seamless stay.
To reduce travel’s strongest tension points, guests will seek out the most logical and purposeful solutions. They will look for the hospitality and service that they expected pre-pandemic, whether that’s personalized dining recommendations or reservation adjustments. Within the technological innovations, they will continue to embrace efficiencies like Digital Key in the Hilton Honors app, which allows travelers to bypass the front desk and go straight to their rooms.
For more information and a complete view of the 2023 Report, visit Stories.Hilton.com/2023Trends. To start planning 2023 travel, visit Hilton.com.
Both qualitative and quantitative methods were used to determine the emerging trends detailed in this report. Hilton conducted stakeholder interviews across the organization to gain perspectives on what travel looks like today and determine what is top of mind going into 2023. Business Divisions included: Business Travel/Events, Food & Beverage, Wellness, Sustainability, Design, Digital Innovation, Workplace Culture. In addition, Hilton commissioned an online omnibus survey with Material, fielded August 2022 among general population consumers 18+ years of age in several markets with questions targeting behavior related to travel. Specifically, the survey was fielded to: n=1,002 in Australia, n=1,002 in China, n=1,002 in Germany, n=1,002 in Japan, n=1,002 in Mexico, n=1,002 in the U.K. and n=1,018 in the U.S. Additionally, a Hilton Survey was conducted by Wakefield Research (www.wakefieldresearch.com) among 1,000 U.S. Adult Travelers, between August 23rd and August 30th, 2022, using an email invitation and an online survey. This data has been weighted to ensure accurate representation of U.S. travelers. “Travelers” are defined as those who took a trip in the past 24 months that required an overnight stay.