With conventional travel all but brought to a standstill in 2020 and 2021, there is no doubt that there will have to be serious changes to the way we travel - starting now - and I’m sure you’ve been thinking about what next year might bring. Here at NOW! Jakarta we’ve dug a little deeper to unearth possible travel trends for 2022. For some of the trends, we hope we are right, but given this year’s totally unpredictable nature, why should any predictions be even close! Anyway read on and make up your own mind.
With Covid-19 set to have a continued impact on where we can travel internationally, no matter where you’re based in the world, the demand for domestic travel is set to continue to rise. Staycations will again be popular throughout 2022, with people looking to discover and explore hidden gems nearer to home, which are easy to access, and may not involve air travel which some still consider risky. This is good news for local communities often overlooked by international visitors, with the added benefit that domestic trips are generally better for the environment. Longer term, as people discover the joys of domestic travel, there will be an increasing number of travelers swapping long weekends abroad for destinations on their doorsteps, accessible by train or car. Let’s hope that in some countries this will lead to greater benefits for the more remote areas that have not yet been the target of any tourism!
Read our article on Indonesia's 'Next' 10 Tourism Destinations
Deeper Pre-Trip Research
Learning from the unpredictability of the current situation, travelers are investing more time in research before booking their holidays, and will continue to do so, gathering more information on a greater range of destinations and options than ever before. People used to decide on a destination and head to buy their favorite guidebooks, the internet now provides all sorts of valuable content online, making sourcing information that bit quicker and easier, but also a bit more dangerous, since the easiest access platforms are very commercially oriented, and not always right in their reviews! This trend towards deeper research also means that companies will be doing more to vie for our attention and given the, let’s be honest, desperation in some markets there may be some misleading information out there so be careful. But the upside is that definitely you can expect the great deals to continue in 2022
Increased Flexibility from Hotels and Airlines
In the ( hopefully) post-covid scenario we’ve already mentioned, people will naturally want increased flexibility. In light of constantly changing travel restrictions and local lockdowns, they need to have the option to change dates, and to postpone or cancel bookings last minute. Most travel organizations, from airlines to hotels, tour operators to car-hire companies, are beginning to offer improved terms and policies. For travelers, this is one of the first things they will look for when booking a trip to avoid last-minute changes causing disappointment or leaving them out of pocket anxiety.
A Move to Sustainability
Sustainable travel. Sustainable tourism. While these terms certainly aren’t new, they are playing an increasing role in what more and more travellers want from their trips. In 2022 – finally - sustainability will be more than a buzzword, as people across the globe consider how to travel with a conscience. Thankfully, it’s becoming easier to travel sustainably than ever before, partly because the increased demand means there are more green options available, but also because the hotels, resorts and airlines are at last beginning to understand that sustainability is good for them too!
If you have to fly, which unlike our heroine Greta, we probably do have to, passengers are thinking about taking positive action to off-set negative environmental impacts: looking to use airlines with carbon emission off-setting initiatives and make an effort to use direct routes and airlines with energy-efficient planes. They will also look to improve their transportation options on the ground, and think about the vehicles they use – hiring electric cars if they can, taking the train and using public or shared transport wherever possible.
Be sure they are thinking about the big picture too: considering flying less and staying longer – spending more time in a destination helps businesses in the local area, and reduces the negative impact of traveling around.
For sure they will review the sustainability practices of their accommodation and other services they’ll be using. Does the hotel have a green laundry policy? What’s their recycling strategy? Does your hotel use energy-efficient appliances? Do they provide guests with maps and the option to hire bikes so you can get around in a greener way? These are some of the questions they will want to ask their planned lodgings, as they represent the kind of good practices sustainability-aware travelers will be looking for.
Here at Now! Jakarta we’ve been thinking about sustainability a lot recently, and working with local experts and companies that keep these sorts of questions in mind. Additionally, we have been raising awareness of local initiatives that have a beneficial impact on the environment and/or the communities they operate. And you will find a lot of these on our website to help guide you to join in on your trip.
Female-owned, female-led businesses are on the increase, even here in the very male oriented orient and this comes with a simultaneous rise in these businesses supporting local communities and economies. As we saw above, many travellers have an increased consciousness of the impact of their travel, and a desire to give something back to their destination, but it’s not always easy to know how best to do this, and it can be tricky to identify which local initiatives and businesses to support, but focusing on female-led businesses will never go wrong, since they tend to support the good causes in their communities very well.
In 2022, also anticipate a rise in solo female travel, as they seek freedom and adventure in their own way and that means an increase in the number of tours and destinations being marketed to women, too. There is a growing number of female travel bloggers espousing the potential for solo travel to empower women, and their online travelogues can inspire and direct aspring travelers, to the right destinations and the right trips.
Increased "Designer" Independent Travel
We predict that travellers will move away from choosing ready-made trips and designated itineraries. They don’t want to follow the crowd, they want to find their own path, which translates into an increased demand for personalized options. In short, off-the-shelf group travel will be phased out and customized trips are in and on the up. People will be looking for trips that are fully customizable from start to finish, probably planned by local experts who will help craft the trip from serious local insight making the whole thing one-off.
Likewise from younger travelers taking gap breaks, to professionals taking career sabbaticals, to time-rich retirees, we envisage a surge in demand for slower, more extended trips. Slow travel creates a shift in the sort of services visitors want on-the-ground, too: holiday-home rentals rather than hotels, and an appetite for curated guided tours that go beyond the well-trodden tourist routes. As per point 4, slow travel also means deeper pre-trip research, and scores highly on sustainability too, given longer stays are good on the green front.
The Return of the Classic 'Family Holiday'
With many families separated in 2020 and 2021 by coronavirus, we anticipate a revival in multi-generational travel next year. Of course, different generations holidaying together are likely to have different expectations, so look for trips that can be customized (we’re back to that all-important need for personalization again) so travel companies will have to be able to ensure there’s something for everyone.
They will need to offer tailor made trip organized by local experts with lots of detailed information. Is the accommodation toddler-friendly? Is the locale lively enough to keep teenagers entertained? Is there a range of restaurants to suit everyone’s tastes? Where will grandma get her fitness fix? But with today’s on-line information available I am sure that this will be manageable.
So, those are my predictions of 2022’s key travel developments. While 2020 and 2021 have been dominated by coronavirus – an incredibly tough two years for the global population – I’m hopeful that the forced rethinking and re-engineering of the whole travel industry will lead to better travel practices in 2022 and beyond. Bon Voyage.