Travel advertising platform Expedia Group Media Solutions released its Q1 2022 Travel Trend Report. The quarterly report combines Expedia Group first-party data and custom research with insights and industry examples to help travel marketers on their continued journey toward rebuilding.
"As we look back on the first quarter of the year and forward to the months ahead, we’re optimistic about what 2022 has in store,” said Jennifer Andre, global vice president, media solutions. “Rising travel intent, lengthening search windows, a lift in international searches, and growing consumer interest in sustainable travel are just a few of the positive trends we saw in Q1 2022. This year is shaping up to be a year of sustained growth and we look forward to collaborating with our partners and across the industry to continue rebuilding tourism for the future.”
Key Findings from the Travel Trend Report
Travel Searches Surge as Restrictions Ease
With a new year comes new enthusiasm for travel, as evidenced by the lift in global searches. During Q1, global search volume was up 25% quarter-over-quarter, led by double-digit growth in North America (NORAM) at 30% and in Europe, the Middle East, and Africa (EMEA) at 25%. A prior year comparison further illustrates strong recovery, with global search volumes up 75% year-over-year compared to Q1 2021. All regions saw a year-over-year lift, with EMEA search volume up 165%, NORAM up 70%, Latin America (LATAM) up 50%, and Asia Pacific (APAC) up 30%.
Week-over-week search volume fluctuated throughout Q1, but during the week of February 14, all regions saw week-over-week growth following changes and announcements related to vaccine and mask mandates around the world, including in the U.S. and Europe.
Growing Traveler Confidence = Longer Search Windows
With traveler confidence on the upswing, Q1 saw lengthening search windows. Global share of searches in the 180+ day search window increased 190%, while the 0- to 21-day search window decreased 15% quarter-over-quarter. Regionally, shorter search window share in APAC and LATAM held steady between Q4 2021 and Q1 2022, while EMEA and NORAM travelers searched further out, with the 91- to 180-day search window increasing 140% and 60%, respectively.
In Q1, 60% of global domestic searches fell within the 0- to 30-day window, a 10% decrease compared to Q4, while the share of searches in 91- to 180-day window increased 80% quarter-over-quarter. Global international search share for the 91- to 180-day window increased 35% quarter over quarter, with the 91- to 180-day window seeing the largest gains.
Big Cities & Beaches Maintain Appeal
Major cities such as Las Vegas, New York, Chicago, and London remained popular with travelers and made the global top 10 list of booked destinations in Q1, along with beach destinations like Cancun, Punta Cana, Honolulu, and Miami. Las Vegas topped the global list, surpassing New York, which held the No. 1 spot in Q3 and Q4 2021. However, for the third consecutive quarter, New York appeared on the top 10 list of booked destinations across all regions.
New intra-regional destinations also appeared on the top 10 booked destinations list in each region, including Rome in EMEA, Puerta Vallarta in LATAM, and Phoenix in NORAM. In APAC, destinations within Australia experienced strong quarter-over-quarter growth, including Sydney, Melbourne and Surfers Paradise.
Lodging Performance on the Rise
Global lodging bookings for hotels and vacation rentals combined were up 35% quarter-over-quarter, and all regions experienced at least double-digit growth in Q1. During Q1, 15 of the top 25 global destinations saw double-digit growth in hotel bookings quarter-over-quarter. Global lodging length of stay held steady between Q4 2021 and Q1 2022, at 2 days for hotel stays and 5.5 days for vacation rental stays.
With both winter breaks and spring vacations occurring during Q1, vacation rentals had another positive quarter, with substantial quarter-over-quarter growth in vacation rental night counts. Domestic travel continued to dominate the vacation rental space, with Australia, France, Brazil, and the U.S. being the top booked countries for their respective regions.
Growing Demand and Opportunity for Sustainable Tourism
Consumers around the world are already making more mindful decisions when traveling, such as opting for more eco-conscious and sustainable offerings, and more want to do so in the future. However, many feel overwhelmed by starting the process of being a more sustainable traveler and are looking for sustainability information from trusted travel resources and providers.
According to a recent Sustainable Travel Study, two-thirds of consumers want to see more information on sustainability from lodging and transportation providers, and half want to see this information from destination organizations. Additionally, 50% of consumers would be willing to pay more for transportation, activities, and lodging if the option was more sustainable.