4 Key Trends Shaping the Travel Industry in 2023

7 June 2023

By: Abi Walker, Digital Marketing and Content Executive

Category: Blogs

The travel industry has experienced significant upheaval after the COVID-19 pandemic. However, there is light at the end of the tunnel as the industry rebounds. In this blog post, we will explore the key findings from Mastercard Economics Institute’s fourth annual travel report on the trends and state of the travel industry in 2023. We will delve into the opportunities these trends present for brands and discuss how they can capitalise on the resurging market.

Riding the Wave: The Resurgence of Global Leisure Travel Trends

According to the report, global leisure travel witnessed an impressive 31% increase in March 2023 compared to pre-pandemic levels in 2019. This surge represents a 25% year-over-year change from 2022 to 2023. The revival of leisure travel indicates growing confidence among travellers and provides a promising market for brands to target their offerings.

What actionable steps can travel brands take to enhance Experiential Offerings?

  • Partner with local tour operators to offer curated and immersive experiences that highlight the unique aspects of each destination. For example, a hotel brand can collaborate with a local adventure company to create exclusive outdoor excursions or cultural immersion activities.
  • Provide personalised itineraries tailored to individual traveller preferences, taking into account their interests, hobbies, and travel goals. Travel agencies can leverage customer data and preferences to curate customised travel experiences, such as culinary tours or photography workshops.

Back in Business: The Rebound of Corporate Travel

In a positive sign for the corporate world, business travel is now growing at the same rate as leisure travel. By the end of March 2023, business travel experienced a remarkable 33% growth compared to the same month in 2019. This equates to a 42% year-over-year change from 2022 to 2023. With the return of business travel, brands can seize opportunities to cater to the unique needs of corporate travellers.

What actionable steps can your travel brands take to cater to Business Travelers?

  • Offer seamless booking and travel management solutions that streamline the corporate travel process. For instance, a corporate travel management platform can provide a user-friendly interface for booking flights, hotels, and ground transportation, along with integrated expense reporting features.
  • Provide business-friendly amenities and services catering to corporate travellers’ unique needs. A hotel chain can offer dedicated business centres, complimentary Wi-Fi, executive lounges, workstations and meeting facilities.

Unlocking Opportunities: The Rejuvenation of Chinese Outbound Tourism

One noteworthy trend highlighted in the report is the recovery of outbound tourism expenditures from mainland China. March 2023 saw a significant surge in Chinese spending on experiences abroad, with levels approaching those seen before the pandemic. This resurgence opens up vast possibilities for brands to engage with Chinese travellers and tailor their offerings to suit their preferences.

What actionable steps can your travel brands take to target the Chinese Market?

  • Adapt marketing strategies to resonate with Chinese travellers by leveraging social media platforms popular in China, such as WeChat and Sina Weibo. A tourism board can create engaging and informative content in Mandarin, showcasing the attractions, cultural experiences, and visa requirements for Chinese visitors.
  • Accept popular Chinese payment methods like Alipay and WeChat Pay to facilitate seamless transactions for Chinese travellers. An online travel agency can integrate these payment options into their booking platforms to provide a familiar and convenient payment experience.

Shift in Spending Habits: The Power of Personalisation and Embracing Digital Transformation

As the travel industry recovers, there are notable shifts in travellers’ spending habits. The report reveals that spending on experiences such as restaurants, amusement parks, nightclubs, and bars has soared by an impressive 65% compared to 2019. On the other hand, spending on tangible goods like stores, apparel, cosmetics, and jewellery increased by 12% during the same period. This shift underscores consumers’ growing desire for unique and immersive travel experiences.

To capitalise on these changing preferences, brands can adapt their marketing strategies and emphasise the experiential aspects of their products or services. Personalisation is crucial in creating tailored experiences that resonate with individual travellers. By leveraging personalisation techniques, brands can deliver highly relevant and customised content, offers, and recommendations to travellers, enhancing their overall journey.

At Sagittarius, we understand the power of personalisation in the travel industry. Our blog, “4 Benefits of Website Personalization for Your Travel Brand“, explores how personalising the website experience can improve engagement, increase conversions, foster customer loyalty, and drive revenue growth. Brands can create a seamless and personalised digital journey by tailoring the content, promotions, and user interface based on travellers’ preferences and behaviours.

As the travel industry undergoes a resurgence, personalisation is a key strategy for brands to connect with travellers and meet their evolving needs. By leveraging personalisation techniques, travel brands can create unique and memorable experiences that cater to individual preferences. Explore our blog post, “Getting Started with Sitecore Personalize” to gain deeper insights into these strategies and discover how Sagittarius can help you leverage personalisation to drive growth in the travel industry.

What actionable steps can travel brands take to embrace Digital Transformation?

  • Invest in user-friendly mobile apps offering real-time flight updates, interactive maps, and personalised recommendations. An airline can develop a mobile app that allows travellers to easily manage their bookings, access in-flight entertainment, and receive personalised offers based on their travel history.
  • Make use of augmented reality (AR) or virtual reality (VR) experiences to enhance the customer journey. For instance, a travel company can create a virtual tour experience that allows potential travellers to explore destinations and hotels before booking.

Despite the current economic climate, the travel industry is making a remarkable comeback in 2023, presenting brands with significant opportunities for growth and innovation. The key findings from the Mastercard Economics Institute’s travel report serve as a valuable guide for travel and tourism brands to position themselves strategically and thrive in the resurging market.

By leveraging these insights and embracing the identified trends, brands in the travel industry can effectively connect with travellers, deliver exceptional experiences, and seize the abundant growth opportunities in the evolving travel industry of 2023. Whether it’s enhancing experiential offerings, catering to the specific needs of business travellers, targeting the Chinese market, or embracing digital transformation, there are concrete steps brands can take to stay ahead of the competition.

For brands in the travel market seeking to capitalise on the resurging industry, Sagittarius offers specialised digital marketing solutions and expertise. With a focus on creating personalised customer experiences, targeted campaigns, and innovative digital transformation strategies, Sagittarius can help travel brands connect with their audience, navigate emerging trends, and drive growth.

With the right strategies, brands can position themselves at the forefront of the travel industry’s resurgence, delivering exceptional value to travellers and establishing a solid competitive edge in the market.


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