It is crucial for the hotel industry in Spain to keep abreast of the latest trends in order to adapt to what customers demand. While some people have already thought about where and when they are going to spend their vacations, others are not so sure… from ABAL Consulting we ask ourselves: What are the tourism trends for 2023? What preferences do customers have when booking their next accommodation?
The truth is that the hotel industry in Spain still faces some challenges to overcome the consequences of the pandemic. Despite air traffic not reaching 2019 levels until 2024 and discouraging news of record-breaking inflation blanketing the media, global searches for travel destinations are near their highest levels in history and data shows that bookings for 2023 will exceed those of 2022 by 30%, clear reasons why tourism can smile again.
According to studies conducted by leading Online Travel Agencies (OTAs), such as Booking, Expedia and Hotelbeds, customer patterns and interests are different from 2019. Adaptation to the new international context and the generational change of the potential customer are the main factors of change, something that has led to digitalization becoming the big winner.
Digital nomads are on the rise:
a large proportion of people are looking to combine work with travel, known as the “digital nomad”. Although the figure of digital nomads already existed before 2020, the pandemic has led to a global increase in teleworking, which has led to this figure gaining even more importance. Accommodations that have adequate facilities for working and know how to highlight them in their photographic report (kitchens, work desks, balconies or swimming pools) have a clear competitive advantage to attract this type of traveler.
Sustainability at the center:
in the last few years, the climate emergency and the effects of climate change have become drastically evident, which has led guests to increasingly look for lodgings with sustainable policies. At the same time, the growing demand for more sustainable tourism has led to the revitalization of local tourism, which is more respectful of the environment. Dentro del portafolio de alojamientos de ABAL Consulting, etiquetamos con “Travel Sustainable” en Booking.com todos los que pueden participar en el programa para mejorar su visibilidad y promover el turismo sostenible.
Revenge trips continue:
With the return to normalcy, many customers are still intending to resume travel plans that were cancelled due to COVID-19 restrictions. These trips are known as “revenge trips”.
Nostalgia for the 80’s and 90’s:
As mentioned above, the generational change has led the millennial generation, young people between 25 and 34 years of age with purchasing power, to feel a great nostalgia for tourist destinations famous in the 80s and 90s.
Trips in the metaverse:
the metaverse, which exploded during the past year, has also reached the tourism sector, something that implies a new way of traveling, more attractive to those who prefer a more sedentary lifestyle. This technology enables useful and efficient travel planning, as customers can first take a virtual trip to the desired destination and decide whether it is satisfactory to them before traveling in person in the future. This offers an interesting alternative for travelers and poses a challenge for the industry, which must adapt to these new trends.
Instagram, Tiktok and Youtube, the main source of inspiration:
social media has been transforming the way travelers plan and experience their trips for years. These platforms provide an important source of information and inspiration, allowing travelers to explore tourist destinations, discover unique places and receive recommendations from other travelers.
Demand for survival travel is growing:
nuclear threats, wars, global viruses, recurring economic crises… More and more people fear a possible apocalypse. As a result, a large percentage want to go on trips where they can learn survival skills and learn to adapt in inhospitable territories.
Travel out of the comfort zone is growing:
social networks have not only become the main source of inspiration, but their impact has also transformed the way in which users view exotic travel and the most remote corners of the planet, generating a strong desire to experience culture shock in travel. Users are now looking for trips that offer the opportunity to experience new languages, gastronomy and diametrically opposed lifestyles, demanding authentic experiences.
Netflix and HBO, another source of inspiration:
streaming platforms are also a source of inspiration among travelers. For example, the popularity of “The Rings of Power” has boosted travel to New Zealand, while the premiere of the second season of “The White Lotus” has led to an increase in travel to Sicily. Avatar fans don’t worry, someday they will be able to make an escape to the planet of Pandora within the metaverse.
Travelers take care of their mental health:
the importance of mental health in our society is becoming more and more visible, something that can be seen reflected in the increasing demand for total disconnection destinations and meditation getaways where tranquility and relaxing activities are at the center.
Less travel, but of higher quality:
in times of crisis and uncertainty, expenses tend to generate apprehension and clients make more careful decisions regarding their vacations. Many customers opt for fewer, but longer and higher quality trips. In this sense, the online reputation of an accommodation is fundamental when it comes to attracting guests. Today there is a demand for a more personalized service and a willingness to pay a little more if the quality justifies it. Accommodations should focus on delivering quality experiences that exceed customer expectations to ensure customer satisfaction and maintain a good online reputation.
Price, the deciding factor:
inflation has become a problem for travelers looking for options that fit their budgets, which are tighter than in previous years. This has driven a trend toward discount packages and booking further in advance. An example of this is the “Revolut Stays” platform, launched on September 9, which promises to compete with giants such as Booking or Airbnb. This platform allows users to book hotels and travel without commissions, as well as enjoy free booking fees and immediate refunds of up to 30%. Inflation has driven a trend towards more affordable and flexible options, such as those offered by Revolut Stays, to meet the needs and expectations of today’s travelers.
More than just lodging:
more and more people are looking for hotels that offer a better dining experience, as well as spaces for work or other activities. A greater variety of personal items available for rent, such as clothing, toiletries and personal transportation, is also sought. A clear example would be the famous Fonda Europa, a house dedicated to delight its travelers with a spectacular gastronomic offer, staying in the most familiar atmosphere one can find.
The end of the COVID restrictions and the return to normality has started the digital transition for the tourism sector. In this sense, it is essential that the hotel industry in Spain is aware of the importance of relying on data to make decisions, familiarize itself with new technologies, personalize its services and, in short, offer a differential value to its customers.
Despite the discouraging news, there are data and trends that allow the hotel industry to remain moderately optimistic. We will have to wait and see if the phenomenon of “the wonderful 20’s” will be repeated in the coming years. In any case, the key to success in this new context is to be prepared and able to adapt quickly to new customer demands and needs.