2022: the year of the GOAT
If you thought that 2022 was the year of the tiger, you’re wrong. Or better it might be the case for Chinese astrology, but it’s not for the travel industry. 2022 is undoubtedly the year of the GOAT: the “greatest of all trips” and holidays of a lifetime.
Tiger is certainly a fearless and powerful creature, in fact in Chinese culture it is considered as the “king of the jungle”, instead of the lion as unlike many other cultures. Well, GOAT is the king of the holiday, at least for this year. Similarly magnificent and audacious, GOATs are these once-in-a-lifetime-travels that have been planned for so long and cannot be put off any longer.
After two years of restrictions, travellers feel frustrated, they’re scared they’ve missed out, they don’t want to waste more time. They want to take a sort of “revenge” on the pandemic and make their next holiday really count. This shaking of the fists at Covid is translating into a desire to travel, with bucket-list experiences people have always been dreaming about.
Indeed, GOATs take shape in many ways. At eDreams, as the world leading online travel agency, we were curious to know how our customers would embrace their travel experiences and plan their greatest adventures in 2022. In order to do that, we conducted a survey in which participants – around 20.000 respondents from France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Portugal, the United Kingdom and other countries – shared their travel plans and preferences for this year.
Eager to know more about it? Read on, and find out which travel trend will inspire your next holiday in 2022.
Trend 1: Travelling more and going big
According to the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) 2020 has been the worst year on record for tourism due to the global shutdown and travel restrictions. A report from the same organisation is now showing that travellers are willing to get out and explore more this year and that 2022 will be even more popular for travel demand than pre-pandemic levels.
This tendency is reflected in our survey, where to the question How often do you plan to travel in 2022? over half the respondents (56%) answered that they plan to travel more this year compared to last year, while 31% plan to travel the same as in 2021. This trend applies to the individual countries as well, most respondents from each country interviewed are planning to travel more this year vs 2021. And the smallest percentage, between 3% and 6% plan to travel less than last year.
Trend 2: Where to next? Going far is the buzzword!
Peace of mind is hard to come by in the midst of a global pandemic and planning a trip might seem even less straightforward than during “normal times”. Despite the many unknowns that might make the travellers not feel fully comfortable when planning a holiday, there seems to be a kind of sense of urgency to travel and a desire among travellers to tick off their bucket list trips this year, in particular to intercontinental destinations and Europe.
The pandemic has changed the mood of travellers. Many people are desperate to catch-up on what they’ve missed or what they haven’t had the chance to do yet and want to explore more of the world. This is compounded by a back-of-brain whisper “What if another pandemic happens? What if we’re locked in again?’”. They feel they “lost” two years and there’s a psychological effect that the time is now. And that is why when they do finally get away they want to stay away as far and as long as possible, making the most of their trips.
That’s of course in addition to the fact that countries across the world started lifting travel restrictions and governments treating the Covid-19 as a manageable, endemic disease and a part of everyday life. If the past 2 years were about domestic travel, in 2022 travellers are going further afield than they might have before.
In fact, according to our data, unlike in 2020 and part of 2021, people are ready to go beyond their country’s borders as a general trend for their holidays in 2022, 75.5% plan to travel internationally, with a third of them planning an intercontinental trip. Of the 75.5% of people travelling internationally, most respondents from Germany, Italy and Portugal will be taking continental trips within Europe, while most of the respondents from Spain, France and the United Kingdom are willing to go overseas for their holidays in 2022.
Trend 3: Flight schedule, the top factor when booking a holiday in 2022
When planning a holiday by plane, there are several factors that impact a person’s decision of whether or not to purchase an airline ticket. In response to Covid-19 the majority of the airlines started offering adjustments to cancellation and rebooking policy. On the other hand, travellers got accustomed to adopting the “wait and see” approach, delaying bookings or purchasing flexible tickets. What started as a temporary response to uncertainty has now become one of the key factors in the travel industry. Flexible fares are a travel trend that is here to stay.
When asked which was the top criteria when buying a flight – by choosing among the following 4 factors: loyalty programme, rebooking flexibility, flight schedule and in-flight services. We expected rebooking to be the most important factor when booking a holiday in 2022 but close to 60% consider the flight schedule as the most important criterion when buying a flight. Only 20% think having rebooking flexibility is the most important aspect when buying a flight.
Most respondents from each country, especially from France and Germany chose flight schedule as the top criterion, followed by rebooking flexibility, in-flight services (over 11%) and loyalty programme (close to 9%, with France standing out among the other countries with the highest percentage for this last criterion).
Trend 4: Family holidays and romantic getaways top the wish list
When asked what type of holiday they would take in 2022, the majority of our respondents said that they are going either on family holidays or couple holidays. Each of the two holiday types was chosen by 27% of the respondents followed by over 20% who will visit friends and relatives and close to 16% of respondents who will choose solo travel in 2022.
Spanish and Portuguese respondents will opt for family holidays this year, while most of the German, French and Italian prefer couple getaways. The highest percentage of UK travellers will visit their friends and family during their holidays in 2022.
The last two years have deprived us of contact and moments with family and friends and after many missed weddings, birthdays, graduations, anniversaries and more special occasions, people don’t want to miss a moment with the ones they love the most. Many travellers might still be wary of gathering in big groups of strangers and they’d rather take family, friends or couple vacations. These moments are intended to bring closer family ties and/or friends and people will use travel as a way to reconnect and to celebrate missed milestones.
On the other hand, solo travelling also has its benefits. Solo travellers can tailor an itinerary to their personal interests, go at their own peace and switch plans quickly. Plus, taking a trip alone is often a way to meet new people and pursue adventures they wouldn’t otherwise. After all the uncertainty over the past two years, travellers are no longer postponing their holidays in 2022. Rather than wait for a partner, friend, or family member to embark on a new escape, people choose to book trips for themselves and go solo.
Trend 5: The beach is calling!
For the last question, we asked our customers which of these travel themes they look forward to most for their next travels: adventure, beach, culture, food, nature, volunteering.
A summer beach holiday isn’t anything new. But after taking a multi-year suspension due to Covid, travellers are extremely excited to discover new sun-splashed destinations or get back to their favourite ones. In fact, 26% of our respondents claim that the beach is what they look forward to most on their next travels.
Beach holidays are definitely a travel trend that shows no signs of slowing down in 2022. Of the 26% of respondents that will look for sun-soaked beaches for their holidays in 2022, the large majority are from Germany and France. Surprisingly travellers from the UK are not among the top respondents looking for beach holidays in 2022, they’ll rather plan their trips around culture, followed closely by adventure trips. Interviewees from Spain also chose culture as their most desired theme for their next holiday in 2022.
People are seemingly willing to immerse themselves in other cultures when travelling. This cultural immersion can range from a simple walking tour to a homestay where travellers share a residence with a local. Culture trips are also very popular options among families, in fact edu-vacations (educational vacations) or ed-ventures are on the rise this year. After two years of quarantines and classroom closures across the countries, children have fallen behind in class. And parents, eager to find new ways that can supplement learning, are now seeking experiences with an educational focus when they travel.
Holidays are also being organised around adventure (16%) and lastly food (3%) and those – together with beach and culture – rank among the top four major travel themes emerging from the survey.
Which of these travel trends resonate with you for your next holiday in 2022?