2022 witnessed the beginning of travel’s rebound from the effects of the pandemic. Borders were re-opened, entry requirements eased, and visitors were, once again, welcomed into many countries around the world. Last year’s significant rise in tourism was merely the tip of the iceberg, though, as travel quickly returns to pre-pandemic levels. Last year’s air traffic reached 69% of pre-pandemic levels globally. However, these pre-pandemic flight statistics do not mean that pre-pandemic traveller behaviour will return to how it was. The travel industry trends have changed drastically since the pre-pandemic.

Travel has gone from a “nice to have” to something much more essential. Many people have felt what it’s like to be grounded. As a result, they are now jumping at opportunities to make up for the lost time. This extreme shift in mindset comes with a respective shift in the needs and requirements of today’s travellers.

Here are some of the top travel industry trends to look out for in 2023. Plus, insights from the team at Hotelchamp:

Trend #1: Sustainable Travel

The concept of sustainable travel has floated around for quite some time. However, 2023 is the year that sustainability and mindful travel will be at the forefront of the decision-making process.

Ethical tourism, cultural appreciation, and responsible impact have become much more important to travel bookings than in the years before. In fact, Virtuoso reported that 74% of their customers are open to spending more money for more sustainable travel experiences.

I think travellers are keener on staying in hotels with some kind of eco or green certification but which also translates into their actions, not only having it as a marketing stunt. Everything from energy efficiency, and water conservation to using fresh local products in their restaurants. This is an opportunity for hotels to get involved in their community and build a strong green image and long-lasting relationships locally.
—Soledad Serantes, Customer Success Manager
A table at the farmer's market filled with pumpkins.
Using fresh local products in your restaurant will please sustainable travellers.

How to Prepare

Some sustainability trends are fairly easy to adjust to. Creating special rates or packages for travellers looking to visit during the off-season is a great way to not only fill up rooms outside of peak times but also to attract repeat bookings. Additionally, switching to LED lighting and considering the addition of solar panels are some simple steps towards becoming a more environmentally conscious business.

Other changes require a bit more investment and commitment, but can really pay off in the long run. Travelling light, for example, allows travellers to lessen their carbon footprint. Prepare for these travellers by offering to rent larger items that they would rather rent while they’re staying in your property. Think about strollers for families, sports equipment, and even locally-sourced amenities that they might need during their stay.

Trend #2: Local Immersion

It’s evident that tourists are becoming much more discerning and travelling with more intention than ever before. Destinations are no longer chosen by aesthetics alone, but by the potential to learn about its culture and history. Hilton’s Trends Report showed nearly half of the travellers surveyed are in search of more authentic cultural experiences.

The traveller of 2023 is in search of a feeling of community. Their decision-making centres around authentic, immersive local experiences and social engagement. This could mean anything from learning about local crafts to shopping from small businesses in the area. They want to add meaning to their travel experience by connecting with people who live in these destinations. At the end of their visit, they also want to leave a positive impact.

Spices sold in bulk at a street food market, showing authentic experiences in the travel industry.
Travellers want meaningful and authentic experiences that connect them to the place they’ve visited.

How to Prepare

2023 will see the importance of regionality return and hotels should make an effort to curate the guest experience accordingly. Airbnb was able to create more value with the introduction of Experiences led by local hosts. Similarly, hotels can take this opportunity to promote their local communities and nearby businesses. Plus, they will also craft a memorable experience for their guests. In short, hoteliers should be constantly looking for ways to facilitate opportunities for guests to be able to interact with locals, eat locally sourced food, and spend their money at brick-and-mortar shops.

Trend #3: Train Travel

Travelling by train is set to make a major comeback in 2023 according to Pinterest Predicts. In the hopes of promoting slow travel and attracting new customers, many countries are even adding new train routes, introducing more luxurious train travel experiences, and even offering significant discounts. Plus, opting to travel via rail can reduce a traveller’s carbon footprint by up to 90% in comparison to flying that same distance.

Not only is train travel more environmentally responsible and much more comfortable than air travel, but it also offers a unique aesthetic that is attracting today’s tourists. Thanks to faster boarding, more spacious seating, and idyllic views, train travel is becoming the preferred mode of transportation. As a result, the industry is ready to welcome train travel back as a travel industry trend for this year.

I think travel by train will become bigger and bigger. Not only do we see countries like France banning short-haul flights in favour of train travel, but there are also still staff shortages in airports. These are creating interminable queues and long waiting times during peak seasons. I think people will start to see the value of train travel more, especially remote workers; they can work from trains that offer wi-fi services while they’re travelling from one place to another.
—Cristiana Vlaiconi, Marketing Assistant
A train passing through a field as train becomes popular again in the travel industry.
Travel by train is making a major comeback in 2023.

How To Prepare

Marketing to domestic tourists as part of your brand strategy is always a good idea. Targeting potential customers who live in cities that are a direct train ride away is a great way to start. Providing resources on how guests can visit nearby points of interest while staying at your property tells potential customers that you share their values. By offering these useful resources, you’ll save guests time and energy in travel planning and make it a much easier decision to choose to book with you.

Trend #4: Digital Nomads & Remote Work

It would be difficult to mention slow travel without bringing up the surge of digital nomadism and remote work. In a post-pandemic work environment, employers are embracing hybrid models with some even committing to work-from-anywhere policies. Governments in Portugal, Thailand, Iceland, Germany, and many others have already introduced official digital nomad visas to attract remote workers for longer stays.

The rise of countries welcoming digital nomads through these incentive programs creates easier options for those looking to spend weeks or even months in another country. This allows them enough time to get their work done and explore the destination on the same trip.

Many companies continue to encourage remote working combining work with international travel. Airbnb is always a good example of flexibility and remote work conditions. This signifies a huge opportunity for hotels to tap on long stays which means guaranteeing occupancy for longer periods of time. Long stays can be a great resource for the lower season. Hotels also need to bear in mind that in order to attract this kind of visitor they need to offer, besides obviously a greatautomation wifi, good desk setup and even a co-working vibe area.
—Soledad Serantes, Customer Success Manager
Person working remotely on a chair while sitting at a cafe when travelling.
Countries are welcoming digital nomads with incentive programs.

How To Prepare

There’s an enormous opportunity for hoteliers to embrace this influx of remote workers and convert them into long-stay guests. An easy way to attract this demographic is to offer discounts on extended stays. If your property has lounges, meeting rooms, and restaurants, you can offer these areas as workspaces. Make sure you have accessible outlets, high-speed internet, and a generous supply of coffee or tea.

Trend #5: Gen Z Travel

Many of these travel industry trends, as well as new changes in traveller behaviour, are in part thanks to Gen Z. This generation has probably felt the effects of the pandemic the strongest; with being forced to switch to online learning and spending some of their formative years stuck indoors.

They’re calling it “revenge travel” and it’s just as intense as it sounds. Many travellers, including Gen Z, have spent the last few years building up a bucket list. These include destinations or specific experiences that will shock and surprise them. 2023 is the year where they plan to tick off as much of that list as they can.

Travellers are looking for a complete culture shock. They will look for experiences outside of their comfort zone: off-the-beaten-path experiences that shock and surprise.
—Sam Howes, Solution Architect
People in Gold and Red Traditional Dress Dancing on the Street
Gen Z is looking for unique cultural experiences.

How To Prepare

Not only is Gen Z seeking a certain uniqueness in their itineraries, but they especially want to be pushed out of their comfort zone. For hoteliers, this means the promotion of unconventional activities that guests can take advantage of during their stay. That could mean including an exotic local spice on your menu or offering transfers to bizarre sites or museums. If your property is located close to adventurous outdoor experiences, you’re already at a strong advantage.

Trend #6: TV Tourism

We spent the better part of lockdown staring at the screens of our respective devices. It won’t be a big surprise that our travel decisions in 2023 will be heavily influenced by the media we’ve absorbed in the last few years. What was once the role of Instagram influencers has now migrated to YouTube, TikTok, and TV quickly taking over the role of the travel agent.

TV tourism isn’t brand new. Tourists have been flocking to NYC year-round to take part in Sex and the City tours. On top of that, Game of Thrones brought in around $200 million in tourism revenue to Croatia within 5 years. These pre-pandemic numbers show the potential for TV to attract tourism in a big way.

A photo of a coastal destination known in the travel industry for being the set of a TV series.
Croatian city Dubrovnik was one of the places where Game of Thrones was filmed.

How To Prepare

If your hotel is located near a particular place of interest featured in a movie or series, use that to your advantage. Let potential guests know that they can visit their favourite filming locations while staying at your property. If you’re looking to get even more creative and would like to be featured on the bigger screens, you can seek out partnerships with Youtube vloggers, TikTok influencers, or even find a way to connect with a film location scout.

The investment could absolutely be worth the effort. After all, the San Domenico Palace Hotel where HBO’s White Lotus was filmed has been sold out for some time now and they don’t even open until Spring 2023.

Trend #7: Wellness

In the travel industry, the term “wellness” is typically used to describe costly luxury and pampering. However, in our post-pandemic reality, it has taken on a whole new meaning. Travellers today are not only looking to heal their bodies but their minds as well.

One of the biggest travel industry trends of 2023 will be off-grid, holistic experiences that offer transformative health. Whether heading to a digital detox retreat to disconnect from technology or immersing in the silent serenity of nature, distraction-free time will be a high priority for travellers in 2023.

The focus is definitely still on health, sustainability, digital nomads, and technology in hotels. Maybe I think also locality will become a more crucial topic. Many people are opting for more and more types of different retreats.
—Sabine Annawald, Customer Success Manager
Person doing yoga pose in a glamping tent.
People are opting for new types of retreats that will detoxify their minds.

How To Prepare

Something as simple as offering an elevated shower routine with a pampered bathroom experience can make your hotel attractive to those seeking to include wellness in their travel plans. Any offerings you might already have: like art workshops, outdoor spaces, or fitness classes can also easily be marketed for mental health wellness.

Trend #8: The Metaverse

Amadeus has predicted that the metaverse will offer a new kind of travel agent of the future. Projects like Disney’s virtual world experience and Qatar Air’s Qverse are examples of how strong this travel industry trend is becoming.

By having the ability to visit a place virtually, travellers will be able to explore many destinations and enjoy cultural experiences all from the comfort of their homes. According to Booking.com's research, 43% of travellers plan to use VR to inspire their destinations. Around the same amount are likely to travel to a new place they otherwise wouldn’t have if they could experience it virtually first. These virtual experiences will enhance the travel planning process and allow users to test out destinations or services before they make a purchase.

VR will be a huge part of the decision-making process on where travellers decide to go. People are far more likely to consider visiting somewhere if they have been there virtually first.
—Sam Howes, Solution Architect
Person wearing a VR headset.
Travellers using VR will be able to explore destinations and enjoy cultural experiences from the comfort of their homes.

How To Prepare

Getting into the world of the metaverse can be extremely costly and usually requires many hours of work. However, hoteliers can still get involved in virtual reality by providing a 3D virtual tour of their property and amenities to entice potential guests. If the attractions and sites near your property also offer virtual previews of their experiences, you should include those in your offer as well.

Trend #9: Payments

Contactless payment options have grown in popularity throughout the pandemic and are now quite mainstream. Biometric payment methods like ApplePay are being used daily; from grocery store purchases to vacation bookings.

This is just the beginning. Airports already use biometrics for travel document identification while innovation initiatives such as Mastercard’s “Pay with a Smile” and Hudson News’ “Just Walk Out” will allow customers to make a payment just by showing their face or waving their hand.

Person paying by phone at a cafe.
Contactless payments create a big opportunity for innovating the guest experience.

How To Prepare

There is a big opportunity for innovation within the guest experience when it comes to payment methods. By using a secure verification process like biometric data, you’d be able to connect a guest’s ID and payment information with their profile or fingerprint. This makes it easier to give them the appropriate level of access within the property. When hotel guests don’t have to remember their room number when they arrive at breakfast in the morning or have to bring their keycard with them to the spa, they receive a more relaxed and seamless experience.

Trend #10: Automation

According to a survey by Skift and AWS, travellers are interested in automated communication and self-service options that are available 24/7. This includes providing online chatbots, on-property self-service kiosks, and flexibility in payment and booking options.

These automations save time and effort while allowing hoteliers to focus on what they are good at: enhancing the guest experience. Lobbies that were previously used for people to check in and out can now be available as a social space for guests to lounge in and enjoy a drink.

Person paying with a QR code, which is becoming big in the travel industry
Use automations to save time and effort while enhancing the guest experience.

How To Prepare

By simply automating typical traveller interactions within your property and providing helpful AI chatbots, hoteliers can boost their level of customer service and optimize the efficiency of their staff. This opens up new opportunities to provide custom and personalized service to guests to ensure repeat bookings.

Trend #11: Investing in Employees

Automation is a wonderful way to lighten the heavy workload for many hotels, but travel remains a human-centric industry. A balanced combination of both is the key to creating the perfect guest experience.

It’s no secret that there were issues with staff shortages in travel throughout 2022. Airport blunders caused travellers to miss important flights and lose their valuable luggage. It’s clear that roles need to be filled quickly and efficiently. As travel businesses rebuild and rehire, they see value in hiring employees from different backgrounds who can contribute their fresh perspectives.

Person being interviewed for a job position.
Hiring and training decisions should be based on experience and knowledge, but also social values like inclusivity and diversity.

How To Prepare

Hoteliers should see this shortage in staff as an opportunity to grow. It’s the perfect time to optimize your organizational methods when it comes to staff training. It’s also the perfect time to start hiring again. Not only should hiring and training decisions be based on experience and knowledge, but they should also be based on social values like inclusivity and diversity. This representation is a reflection of your hotel and will allow guests to feel like they are in a safe space. At the end of the day, improving your staff’s experiences will have a direct impact on your guests.


Even during this time of economic uncertainty and lingering post-pandemic restrictions, people around the world will continue to prioritize adventures abroad and embrace opportunities to travel more. American Express Travel reported that 86% of consumers expected to spend more or the same amount of money on travel in 2022 compared to a pre-pandemic year. With that opportunity, you need to make sure you take advantage of these travel industry trends.

People are constantly looking for ways to make up for lost time and create new experiences and memories. And with travellers today being more comfortable with booking farther in advance, now is the time to curate your hotel’s offerings and attract them.

Feb 14, 2023
Written by
Hotelchamp Team