Revenge Travel Continues with Holiday Bookings Up on 2021 Levels

Demand for holiday travel continues to be up from last year.

October 27, 2022


This past summer travel season was called the summer of ‘revenge travel’, traveling as a way of making up for lost time during the pandemic. With consumers widely able to move freely after two years dealing with restrictions on where and how they would be able to travel, in fact, we saw global hotel occupancy exceeding pre-pandemic levels this year. 

As we look towards the busy winter holiday travel season, we see global headwinds like the rising cost of oil and gas, as well as growing inflation in many countries. Despite these concerns, it has not yet impacted travel bookings, as demand continues to be up from last year. Here are our latest trends for holiday travel.

US Holiday bookings are up 19% compared to same time last year

We typically see holiday bookings start to ramp up in September. This year, this was also the case, though we saw that holiday bookings were up much higher than 2021 levels. In the last couple of weeks, we’ve seen a slight levelling off of booking volumes, coming back in line with last year’s levels.

US Domestic travel is up 7%, but we are predominantly seeing massive growth in bookings to international destinations which had previously closed their borders, or had  stricter restrictions around travel and quarantine. For example, we see that bookings from the US to Southeast Asia are up over 650%, and bookings to Oceania are up over 300%.

Weekly Christmas Travel Booking Volumes from US Origins, 2022 vs 2021

Changes to Destination Markets, 2022 vs 2021

Travel Marketing Tip: While domestic travel is up, Americans are looking to travel internationally this holiday season. Destination Marketing Organizations (DMOs) and Tourist Boards should take note of those regions showing the most interest from inbound Americans, and use intent data to reach these potential travelers with messaging from your particular destination.

American Domestic Bookings Dominated by Travel to the West Coast and Large Metropolitan Areas

We are seeing a larger YOY increase in holiday bookings to the West Coast. Those states all had stronger travel restrictions in place this time last year, which could be why we are seeing a larger uptick in bookings to these destinations. We also see that cities across the US are experiencing a big uptick in holiday travel bookings.

Changes in US State Destinations, 2022 vs 2021

Travel Marketing Tip: If you’re a hotelier with properties in several destinations, you want to ensure your marketing efforts are working hard for all your hotels, whether the overall demand is up or down. That’s why Sojern offers Pay on the Stay, a comprehensive digital marketing package where you only pay a commission for completed bookings. See how we’ve partnered with Hotel Management Company Springboard Hospitality to drive direct booking success for their independent portfolio, no matter where they are located.

International Origins also seeing large YOY growth in holiday travel bookings

Similar to what we see in the US, in Western Europe we saw a large YOY increase in holiday bookings up until about two weeks ago, when that gap closed and became more inline with 2021 levels. 

For Southeast Asia travelers, we have not seen that closing of the gap - and this is likely due to the fact that a handful of countries have only very recently fully opened to restriction-free travel again, so people are eager to explore.

In MEA, we don’t necessarily see the same trends as we do globally, as Christmas isn’t as celebrated a period as other parts of the world. However, we do see that travel bookings are outperforming last year, up 136%.

Weekly Christmas Travel Booking Volumes from Western Europe, Southeast Asia, and Middle East and Africa Origins, 2022 vs 2021

Travel Marketing Tip: Video is one of the best ways to showcase your offerings to in-market travelers. So whether you’re running standard video or trying out something new like Connected TV (CTV), there’s never been a better time to inspire people to learn more about, and book, with you.

Looking to reach holiday travelers? Our team of travel experts is ready to connect.

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