Evolve’s Forecast: Travel Returns – Expectations Have Changed

Evolve, a vacation rental hospitality company with more than 16,000 properties in 750 markets, unveiled the results of its “2022 Travel Trends Forecast.” After analyzing responses from more than 5,000 travelers, the results make it clear that travel will return in 2022 — but with some important shifts.

“Although the travel industry is still in recovery mode, there are clear indicators that travel will continue to rebound in 2022; however, some of the changes introduced during the pandemic – particularly increased flexibility with the acceleration of a remote work environment and more fluid travel policies – have altered the way travelers plan their trips,” said Christina Fritts, Evolve’s Director of Customer Insights.

While consumers are making travel plans – multiple at a time in many cases – their expectations have significantly changed during the past two years, especially when it comes to vacation rentals. Travelers are savvier than ever with nearly 50 percent of survey respondents citing flexible cancellation/rebooking policies – far surpassing cleanliness (at 23 percent) – as a top factor in their 2022 travel decisions.

“The attraction of vacation rentals for mainstream travelers is one of the many trends that was accelerated by the pandemic,” said Brian Egan, co-founder and CEO of Evolve. “However, consumers expect the same ease and consistency from vacation rentals that they have found in other forms of travel. This places a premium on things like rate transparency, cancellation policies, and customer service. The companies that will be successful are those that are already adapting and adjusting to these changes.”

Key takeaways and predictions from Evolve’s 2022 Travel Trends Forecast:

  • Insight #1: Despite Pandemic Uncertainty, Travelers Continue to Embrace Vacation Rentals at an Unprecedented Pace – Almost 80 percent of survey respondents indicated they are moving forward with 2022 travel plans; 47 percent indicated they won’t consider cancelling until much closer to their trip dates whereas 32 percent said they are planning to travel regardless.
  • Insight #2: Longer, More Trips – Most respondents (59 percent) plan on booking trips two to five months in advance (compared to less than two months in advance for both 2020 and 2021) and plan on taking three or more trips in 2022 (62 percent). The average trip will likely be longer in length (5-7 nights in 2022, compared to an average of 3.8 nights in both 2020 and 2021).
  • Insight #3: The Great Outdoors Thrive, While City Escapes are Slower to Rebound – Consumers are most interested in exploring the outdoors (58 percent) – including hiking, biking, and kayaking – and wellness/relaxation experiences (61 percent) in the coming year. Secluded mountain/rural escapes and waterfront getaways are the most popular 2022 vacation experiences. Urban experiences came in last with only 15 percent putting them at the top of their list for next year. Travelers are not avoiding areas that have reported higher COVID case counts; in fact, the U.S. coastal south ranked the highest (almost 40 percent, a margin of 10 percent above any other area) among places travelers are interested in visiting next year.
  • Insight #4: Travelers Over 40 Are Driving the Remote Work Travel Trend (Longer Stays) – Travelers over 40 are almost four times as likely to book trips longer than one week – and over five times more interested in taking trips exceeding two weeks – than those under 40. This indicates that travelers over 40 are more likely to plan extended stays/work remote trips. Younger travelers are showing a clear preference for shorter trips (3-4 nights in length; 54 percent of under 40 respondents).

For more information about Evolve or to book a stay, visit www.evolve.com.