Translating top trends to real-time campaigns

Sarah Sheehan, Senior Associate Director, MMGY Grifco shares some of her insights into key travel trends of 2023.

I have spent the last week reviewing reports from a range of travel industry authorities in preparation for MMGY Grifco’s overview on 2023 trends: a roundup that will shape many of the creative campaigns we will work on over the next 12 months.

Some of these trends emerged at the start of the year as the world began to travel again post-pandemic. They are gathering pace, ready to firmly establish themselves in the mainstream next year. Others are newer, tempting ideas for early adopters to explore – and if they do end up breaking through will take longer to make it to the mass market.

And then there are the those that sound like science fiction – electric aerial taxis (known as eVTOLS: electric vertical take-off and landing vehicles), solar-powered electric motorbikes (which are actually already being used by anti-poaching squads in South Africa), space travel, suborbital flights, floating hotels, and high-tech spa treatments dedicated to longevity-seekers prepared to try cryotherapy, DNA analysis, and other “meditainment” treatments to keep ageing at bay.

These are the headline grabbers. They make interesting reading and prompt lively discussions. But how do they really translate to the majority of travellers? And why should travel brands pay attention to these otherworldly, hyper luxury experiences that are accessible only to the super rich?

Just as we see in the world of fashion, where couture is showcased on runways before it appears in consumer-friendly form in stores, luxury travel trends will filter down to the wider market and help travel brands identify product development and improvement opportunities that can be factored in to their guest experience upgrades at a more accessible level.

So while many countries are facing a short-term cost-of-living crisis and there is a worldwide recession forecast, a “Luxury Travel and Yachting Trends” report from Pelorus and Globetrender predicts that demand for luxury travel will be healthier than ever over the next five years.

One of the takeaways is to look at the unique needs and desires of Generation Alpha. Millennials, the most travelled generation on the planet, are now exploring the world with their kids, Gen Alpha, and are looking for adventurous and intrepid family holiday experiences that will meet the needs of both generations. This younger generation is having a greater say in family holiday choices – and they have high expectations.

Simple things to have on your radar include quick, free Wi-Fi with a simple click or swipe; in-room charging stations and multiple USB connections; independent reviews from trusted influencers; images, reels and video; unusual sleeping experiences such as hammocks, tents and teepees; food on demand 24/7; and gamification. All of these offer easy and accessible ways to prepare for the Gen Alpha travel revolution.

A more general trend for 2023 is the rise of all-inclusive. ABTA’s annual trends report highlights that all-inclusives will be the go-to option – an obvious direction in response to higher cost of living, ensuring that people have control of their holiday spending. Figures show that 29% are planning all-inclusive holidays in 2023, a figure that rises to 57% for young families. That trend is reflected for the first time for 2022–2023 winter sports, where all-inclusive bookings are overtaking self-catering options.

This doesn’t mean that all hotels, apartments and resorts should become all-inclusive overnight. But, factoring in ways for guests to have more confidence around spending will prove popular next year. Think bundles, add-ons, off-peak special offers, F&B packages and bottomless brunches – and possibly throw in an activity or two to incentivise repeat booking.

We are also seeing forecasts of healthy growth in business travel, with blended stays contributing to longer bookings with higher value. Skift’s “State of Travel 2022” report says that the current “working from anywhere” (WFA) trend has led to 38% of business trips now including a weekend.

Can you create nooks and booths for private calls or meetings? Make sure desks are next to natural light and power sources. Get creative with packages to attract business travellers, like working afternoon teas packed with high-energy brain food or smoothies to combat mid afternoon slumps.

It can be creative, interesting and rewarding to analyse trends. For MMGY Grifco, now is one of the busiest but most exciting times of the year – a time when we identify areas that will work for each of our clients and come up with individual creatives that translate those trends into campaigns. Follow us through 2023 to see which ones come to life: IG @grifcopr.