WHAT 2020 TAUGHT US & what does this mean for 2022 travel trends & behaviour
2020 taught us valuable life lessons: Plans don’t always work out, flexibility in life is key, and the health & safety of the people who matter most has been placed firmly back into the fore!
We have put together a short list of 2021/2022 travel trends and what you need to know!
Predicting travel trends is a tricky task at the best of times, but after a year in which our lives have changed almost beyond recognition, there’s no doubt how we holiday has changed too.
Let’s all look ahead to a brighter (second half) 2021 & 2022.
Domestic travel & shorthaul hops
Even with a worldwide vaccine rollout heralding a return to a little more normality, travellers’ confidence will take time to rebuild. It is no surprise that domestic tourism as well as short breaks to nearby countries will dominate both 2021 and most of 2022 travel trends.
The rollout has been slow in many countries (although all are picking up and most of the major traveling nations will reach their 70% vaccinated population target by late 2021), the perception of the slow rollout has also accelerated the trend towards domestic travel.
Self-Contained Holiday lets
We’re talking Airbnb, villas, holiday homes, self-contained apartments etc.
Offering both space and seclusion, self-contained places have rocketed in popularity in 2021, as travellers eschew the company of others in favour of a place they can call their own. This trend is set to continue into 2022.
Looking at villa holidays specifically, short-haul spots (from the UK) such as Greece and Italy are up 37% and 32% respectively, with Corfu and Puglia some of the most popular villa holiday locations.
SELF EXPLORATION BY CAR OR MOTORHOME
Self-drive has always been a thing in many countries in Europe and North America. However, the trend is growing after the pandemic: more time, flexibility, space and managed contact with others are key here.
The UK has been proactive on this and has created several new official self-drive routes to help cater for the rising demand. One of such routes is The Explorer’s Road running from London to Edinburgh giving travellers a whole host of new experiences whilst taking them form one capital to another.
Many of the attractions are hidden gems and offer so much to first-timers and seasoned self-drive enthusiasts. Our predictions for 2022 travel trends will be that this type of touring is set to increase.
Lonely Planet took a different approach to their 2021 Best in Travel awards, foregoing naming specific destinations to visit in the year ahead. Instead, they decided to focus on those positively impacting tourism through three criteria: sustainability, diversity, and community.
This trend can be seen in every city in the UK – pedestrianisation, enhancement of the public realm, bicycle lanes and more. In fact, the city of Newcastle has been leading on this so well that our Posh Parks & The Toon tour can now operate with absolute minimal footprint on public roads – most being on cycle lanes and dedicated paths.
Guests are looking for companies whose values align with preserving local heritage. They also want to experience new places in a sustainable way that allows others to continue to enjoy it after them.
The trend towards sustainability means ethical companies who act in a genuine desire to help others experience their home authentically & sustainably will be those who come back strong. Some of our top 5 tours in Newcastle reflects this sentiment.
The move towards online bookings and all demographics searching for travel online is booming! Especially in the pandemic, when is became clear that attractions needed to limit the number of guests visiting their places, online booking became the norm.
Timed tickets, reduced opening times and clear up-to-date communication could only be done efficiently with online presence and bookability.
This translates to more last-minute mobile bookings and the obligation of smaller companies to get online or close up shop. To be fair, this can be a great win for res tech (reservation systems & technology) as well as OTAs (online travel agents such as Viator etc.).
FLEXIBILITY IN TRAVEL
Of all the 2021 travel trends, flexibility will most certainly be the new norm for hotels, airlines, and in-destination activities.
Creating a seamless and enjoyable experience for guests will be the goal of every company that has a chance to win back business once tourism springs to life.
Many companies (including ours – take a look at our Book With Confidence section on our website) have adjusted their cancellation policies to make vacation planning a less-stressful activity. Newcastle Tour Company and all of our brand family have done just that – flexible booking and cancellation policies, “Book with Confidence” schemes and simply being there for our guests in all communication channels.
This inevitably leads to further 2022 travel trends: late bookings – the uncertainty of travel corridors is one but also simply the ability to now book late will give people confidence and flexibility. It is likely a trend to stay for the long haul.
THE GREAT OUTDOORS
The desire to travel more responsibly and minimise our environmental impact has been gradually gathering pace for years. The pandemic, however, has helped our wildlife bounce back greatly and has certainly fuelled our desire to protect nature even more.
Add to this that lockdown did not give us much to do but walk in nature and enjoy the outdoors, the trend to mix the two further will increase in our 2022 travel trends predictions.
Cycling tours, camping & glamping, hiking and new trends will emerge.
As an example of this trends, we are creating Dark Skies Tours with experiences all around dark skies, stargazing and more in both Northumberland National Park and the stunning North Pennines AONB in County Durham.
FLEXIBLE TOURS: HOP ON HOP OFF
Vox City Walks is a unique, flexible and personal sightseeing adventure, that offers you a way to explore a city like never before.
Our partnership with Vox City Walks offers a new dimension of touring a city. Think hop on hop off sightseeing bus tours and take out the bus. The concept is simple. Hop-on fascinating guided walking tours led by friendly local experts, whose personal knowledge of the city will make your experience unforgettable! Jump off at anytime and re-join later. Or enjoy some of the self-guided experiences…
The point is, flexible tours are the way forward – do everything in your own time and at your own pace. Our research shows that 2022 travel trends will see an increase in the demand for more flexible guided tours.
We are offering this new concept in Liverpool from Autumn 2021 – join us!