After nearly two years of waiting, people are getting back to travel with a vengeance, heading straight for destinations that are further afield and often ignoring the price tag, according to HomeToGo, one of the largest vacation rental companies in the industry. At the same time, people are booking farther ahead, while also seeking out companies with flexible options, such as non-traditional accommodations.
“Travel has entered a new era and alternative accommodation will continue to reign as the new zeitgeists in 2022, especially with travelers who have traditionally booked hotels but tried and enjoyed vacation rentals during the pandemic,” said Dr. Patrick Andrae, co-founder, and CEO of HomeToGo.
International Travel Top of Mind
Over the past several months, searches on HomeToGo.com for international stays have increased by 88% compared to 2020. The numbers of people looking to travel internationally are back on pace with 2019 levels.
Destinations seeing the biggest increase in search demand for 2022 when compared with 2019 include Tuscany, Italy (+141%), Bora Bora (+98%), Maldives (+97%), South of France (+88), and Istra, Croatia (+74%).
Experience Trumps Price Tag
According to a survey of more than 1,000 U.S. travelers, nearly half ranked relaxation as their top motivation for traveling in 2022. Simultaneously, HomeToGo has seen a global increase of 54% in average booking value for 2021 vacations when compared to 2019, as well as an increase in search demand for luxury destinations such as Maui (+215%), Nantucket (+195%), and Hilton Head Island (+134%).
Early Bookings Dominate
Popular destinations are booking up faster than they did pre-pandemic. As a result, travelers are booking further out, with the average booking 94 days out. In 2019, the average HomeToGo user booked 71 days in advance of travel.
Along with earlier bookings, HomeToGo has also seen that flexible booking options, such as free cancellations are also a concern for travelers. According to the survey mentioned above, 77% of travelers said that flexible options will be important for their booking decisions over the next 12 months.