WHat difference made by two years. Just a few months into the Covid-19 pandemic, an American Express Travel survey found that nearly half (48%) of respondents, not being able to travel made them feel anxious and stressed. Nearly eight in 10 (78%) said travel was one of the activities they missed the most.
Today, travelers are largely putting the pandemic behind them, according to the American Express Travel Trends 2022 report released today. The global study – conducted in seven countries – found that travelers plan to spend more, go further and dust off their menus in 2022.
An online Amex Trendex survey of 3,000 regular travelers earning at least $70,000 annually was conducted last month in the United States, Japan, Australia, Mexico, India, the United Kingdom, and Canada.
“People will be making more trips this year,” said Audrey Hendley, president of American Express Travel, with 2022 bookings already up 35% compared to 2019. Six in 10 (62%) of survey respondents said they wanted to travel between Two and four trips this year.
“86 percent of respondents expect to spend more on travel in 2022 – an astonishing number,” she said. “They’re bragging a little bit, and they’re upgrading to premium.”
“People were at home thinking intent, the idea that ‘where I spend my money is important.
Big jumps in key metrics suggest travelers’ confidence in trip planning has exploded in the past year as pandemic fears waned. First, from the study, three in four travelers (74%) say they would be willing to book a flight for 2022 even if they had to cancel or modify it later. “That number was 56% last year,” Hindley said.
Second, Amex Travel sees that people are willing to venture away from home. “Sixty-one percent of our flights will be international versus 39% at the same time last year,” Hindley said, adding that “customers are looking to book more,” another source of consumer optimism.
Millennials are driving major trends
Millennials, ages 26 to 41, lead major trips identified in the Amex Travel Report, starting with a Demand for flights List of flights to Europe, Africa, the Galapagos Islands and Antarctica.
“Your dream destinations come back into focus,Noting that the overall majority (55%) of respondents said they want to book a once-in-a-lifetime vacation in 2022—and that desire is stronger among millennials (67%) and Jenners (65%), Hindley said. Two-thirds of respondents (65%) said so They’d rather take their dream vacation than buy a new carand nearly half (49%) of millennials are willing to travel alone to their wish list destination.
Another big trend, impact travel — improving the world through travel — resonates with every demographic, and is led by millennials. Overall, four out of five (81%) respondents would like to go where they can immerse themselves in the local culture, with a slight rise in millennials (84%). Similarly, 81% of respondents want their money to go back to the local community, especially millennials (83%). Nearly eight in 10 (79%) of respondents said they try to be more meaningful in how they plan their trips and which companies they book with, with millennials (83%) again appearing above average.
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While the pandemic has left a mark on the traveler’s psyche, Hindley says it has also brought a renewed sense of purpose. “People were in their homes and were thinking about intent, the idea that ‘where I spend my money matters,'” she says. “Impact and sustainability drive booking decisions. People really think about what’s important to them.”