3 Travel Trends to Watch in 2023

Author: Jennifer N. Dienst       

people at airport

Business travel and meeting bookings are increasing despite continued challenges across the globe.

The travel industry will continue to recover from the global pandemic and other challenges in 2023. Here are three trends in travel that Convene editors believe also will impact business events and those working in the industry. Read our full Events Industry Forecast in the Convene digital edition for November.

A Bigger Focus on Wellness

Health and wellness continue to be a top priority for businesses that want to retain employees, as well as for employees themselves, who are increasingly struggling to maintain work-life balance. An Accenture survey of more than 11,000 consumers in 16 countries found that health and well-being are considered “essential,” with one-third indicating that they’re more focused on self-care than they were a year ago. As a result, we can expect to see hospitality brands respond with an increase of wellness-focused offerings, from Hilton’s recent announcement that it will install Peloton bikes across its entire hotel portfolio to hotel spas adding more unique experiences and services like forest bathing and digital detoxes.

Increasing Demand Amid Increasing Challenges

Business travel and meeting bookings are full steam ahead despite significant global challenges, from the war in Ukraine to inflation to continued travel disruptions. “Growth is expected in all major business travel and meetings markets and segments in the coming years as the industry works to recover to pre-pandemic levels,” according to the 2023 Global Business Travel Forecast from travel management platform CWT and the Global Business Travel Association (GBTA).

A Cleaner, Greener Commute

From planes to trains to automobiles, all modes of transportation seem to be moving toward a more sustainable future. The FAA has set the goal of achieving a net-zero aviation system by 2050, nudging airlines to look at switching to sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) and even battery-operated aircraft for short-haul routes. In 2023, Amtrak will launch upgraded Acela trains that will rank as the fastest in the U.S., while also being 20 percent more energy efficient, and car rental companies like Enterprise are making electric vehicles a more prominent portion of their fleets. Driving all of this is a consumer push for more sustainable options — the theme of U.S. Travel Association’s recent, first-ever Future of Travel Mobility conference, held in September 2022. “Travelers increasingly want to do the right thing when it comes to sustainable and responsible travel,” Sangeeta Naik, global head of strategic partnerships and marketing at American Express Travel, said at the conference. “Our customers are demanding this and holding us all accountable.”

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