It would seem that 2023 will be synonymous with travel in the metaverse, new generation travel agencies, digital nomadism and "hands-free" travel, according to Amadeus, which has identified five main areas in its Travel Trends 2023.
While Booking highlights 7 major trends that should mark the tourism landscape in 2023, Amadeus identifies 5, and almost all of them are closely or remotely related to new technologies. Indeed, the technological revolution in the travel sector, like that of hospitality, is definitely underway. And this revolution is set to grow in the digital age.
The health crisis has reshuffled the deck, creating new needs among travellers around the world. With the recovery in international tourism this year, tourist expectations are higher than ever and require an unwavering investment by industry actors to deliver optimised experiences. In its Travel Trends 2023, Amadeus identifies 5 new developments that will play a role in these future evolutions.
In the past, we tended to think of the impact of technology on travel in an entirely physical way, visualising ever larger and faster modes of transport. But today, things look very different. People want to reduce their impact on the planet, while prioritising human relationships and society at large. In this exciting new reality, technology is enabling us to achieve these goals. The Metaverse, biometrics and traveller expectations are combining to rapidly change the landscape. It's an incredibly exciting time for the industry.
Daniel Batchelor, Vice President, Global Corporate Marketing, Communications & Social Responsibility, Amadeus
The rise of the metaverse
The metaverse is slowly gaining ground, allowing travellers to have deeper cultural experiences in a virtual world, for example by exploring concerts and exhibitions. This new technology also offers enormous potential for pre-trip assistance and the possibility of "try before you buy". This innovation could therefore become increasingly popular as a way of testing more expensive items such as luxury cruises.
Walt Disney also wants to create a real-world theme park that will incorporate a parallel experience in a 3D virtual world, while Seoul will lead the way with its "meta" project by 2023, with a platform called "Metaverse Seoul". In the run-up to the World Cup, Qatar Airways recently announced the creation of Qverse with a meta-human cabin crew, offering an immersive experience to visit, navigate and check-in at Hamad International Airport.
Accelerating biometric payment
While biometric payments, through ApplePay and GooglePay, are now commonplace for both in-store and travel payments, they are set to move into high gear in this sector by 2023. Airports already use biometrics for travel document identification, so the next logical step would be to leverage this identity check for all payments that travellers make while travelling.
So if a traveller uses biometrics to check in, drop off their luggage and board the plane, these identity checks could also be used to cover payments they might make during their journey, such as adding a meal on board, providing a seamless payment experience.
Some trials have already begun with travel retailer Hudson using the Amazon One biometric payment solution at their Nashville International Airport shop, allowing customers to exit while paying with the palm of their hand.
Travellers are more aware of their carbon footprint and the cost of checked luggage, resulting in smaller suitcases. To assist travellers to move around with as little bulk as possible, hotels are increasingly offering rental of bulky items, such as sports equipment and workout clothes.
At the same time, travellers are looking to buy essentials locally, enabling them to support and engage with the community, making their stays sustainable and responsible.
International brands such as Hilton are offering sports equipment and appliances, helping travellers move towards a 'zero luggage' holiday. A trend that is set to grow and evolve.
The boom in digital nomadism
As teleworking becomes more widespread, more and more employees will leave their offices and homes to work from multiple locations around the world. Workers will choose to spend more time with their loved ones on home soil or may spend a month working abroad.
In this sense, more and more countries are developing visa and tax benefit programmes to attract these new workers. Countries such as Georgia, Croatia, Iceland, Malta, Portugal and Germany have already created official programmes to attract digital nomads.
Amadeus has also seen a 165% increase in searches for flights from Sydney to Bangkok during September 2022 compared to 2019 but also a 74% increase in searches for flights from Sao Paulo to Lisbon during the same respective months.
The evolution of business travel
While the recovery in business travel has been confirmed this year, it will not be the same as before. With the health crisis, many companies have implemented remote working policies, leading to problems of cohesion and collaboration between teams. As a result, 'intra-company travel' is becoming increasingly popular, allowing teams to come together for the specific purpose of strengthening relationships.
American Express Global Business Travel has even published a paper entitled "Why Business Travel Is At The Center Of The New Company Culture". With the employee experience more important than ever in the face of recruitment challenges in many industries, team travel programmes will grow exponentially. These trips will help to motivate teams, improve employee satisfaction and increase loyalty to the company.