2022 Fall Travel Predictions

By: Gio Palatucci, Sparkloft Media

Has the revenge travel bubble burst?

Released this past April, our Spring Travel Audience Report indicated that travelers were ready to get out and go, citing “treating myself” and “indulging” among the things most important to them post-pandemic. Expedia also predicted that 68% of Americans surveyed planned to “Go Big” on their next trip. While Spring 2021 was about “tiptoeing” out of recovery, Spring 2022 signaled a greater sense of urgency to go. Looking at traveler data from the summer, go they did. 

Travel intent mentions are up 22% YoY

Across social media timelines, it may have seemed like everyone was vacationing in Italy this summer. But this wasn’t just a viral social media sensation. Not only did Italy see record visitation since the beginning of the pandemic, but Allianz reported a full 600% jump in American travel to Europe from last year. As for that sense of urgency? Google reported a 200% YoY increase in searches for “how to book a same-day flight.”

While our own social listening data shows a 22% increase in travel intent mentions from 2021 to 2022 (for May 15 - Sept 6), not everything was positive. Travel woes dampened the euphoria of vacation from delayed flights and long customs wait times to lost luggage and other trip cancellations. Travel’s infrastructure wasn’t ready to keep up with the revenge travel boom.

Fall Predictions

With kids back to school, football on TV, and less than two weeks until Thanksgiving, how will the summer travel boom (and bust) influence fall tourism patterns? 

1. Summer’s travel woes will have visitors pumping the breaks on fall trips

A Destination Analysts survey reports that, “40% of summer travelers reported experiencing at least one service issue on their trips,” and that “31% of those who reported moderate to extreme levels of frustration… said that they are reconsidering their fall travel plans specifically due to these frustrations.”

2. Road trips will see a resurgence

With airline woes not going away anytime soon and gas prices starting to decline, road trips will see a resurgence this fall. Our travel intent monitor shows a 98% increase in road trip mentions YoY. Proximity messaging will be key here for destination marketers. Plug weekend getaways, National Parks, and family road trips, all keywords that are trending upwards.

3. COVID safety will be less of a concern

Numerous reports indicate that financial concerns are beginning to eclipse COVID concerns as the top barrier to travel among Americans. With the new booster rollout to keep health confidence high, trip planning considerations will focus on value, affordability, and deals.

What This Means for Destination Marketers

We recommend reaching travelers by ditching traditional content pillars and tapping into new, post-pandemic emotional drivers: novelty, purpose, and connection. Try targeting out-of-the-box audiences like the “new bleisure” traveler or hobbyist travelers with unconventional messaging.

About the Author

Gio PalatucciSenior Director of StrategySparkloft Media

About the Author

Gio Palatucci, Senior Director of Strategy, leads Sparkloft's Strategy Department: a hub of curiosity dedicated to pursuing rich insights that stimulate imagination, unleash creativity, and result in business impact. She brings over 10 years of experience in the travel and tourism industry, starting her career at National Geographic Traveler magazine. For Sparkloft clients, Gio specializes in social-first strategy and its application across brand positioning, creative briefs, campaign ideation, comms planning, social engagement, and paid media distribution. 

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