Hilton spotlights travelers’ changing expectations as a record year ends

Chris Nassetta, President and Chief Executive Officer at Hilton

If 2022 was the year of the changed traveler, 2023 is the year of the evolved traveler. Hilton released its 2023 trends report, The 2023 Traveler: Emerging Trends that are Innovating the Travel Experience, A Report from Hilton, which reveals the latest consumer expectations following a year when travelers showed up in record numbers.

Based on analysis of current travel trends, travelers are looking for a balance of tech and human innovations, deeper connections and care, embedded wellness experiences and more.

“In 2022, motivated travelers sought out new experiences and reconnected with the people and places they love. The 2023 Trends Report showcases travelers’ evolving preferences and how eager and optimistic they are about their future adventures. Our Hilton team members are ready to welcome them and create a great stay experience at our more than 7,000 properties worldwide,” said Chris Nassetta, President and Chief Executive Officer at Hilton.

What were the findings of Hilton’s survey?

The report is the result of evaluating quantitative and qualitative data research paired with insights collected by over 7,000 travelers in a survey commissioned by Hilton and conducted by Material, an insights, design, and tech partner. According to the study, 84% of global consumers hope to travel just as much — or more — in 2023. The study uncovered four consistent themes for 2023 travel, driven by traveler experiences over the last three years.

People will turn to travel for more engaging human experiences

Travel is a gateway to discovering different perspectives and rich traditions. In 2023, travelers will focus on travel to create deeper connections with family, friends, colleagues, customers, cultures and the planet. Nearly half (49%) of survey respondents want to be immersed in local culture and products while traveling — this applies to travelers from China (65%) and Australia (54%) in particular, and Japan (23%) to a lesser degree.

Meanwhile, 40% of consumers globally want personalized access to unique experiences or activities, such as performances, events, spa treatments, or classes. That proportion is higher in China (74%), Australia (46%), and just slightly lower in Japan (30%).

From destination-focused culinary travel packages to impactful programs like Hilton’s Travel with Purpose, which helps guests positively impact the communities they visit, travelers are looking to create meaningful change through more immersive travel experiences.

Hilton is witnessing signs of this growth through its reimagined Hilton Honors Experiences, which saw a 77% YoY increase in Hilton Honors Point redemption during the first nine months of 2022, allowing members to connect with their passions through exclusive experiences.

People will recognize travel as a vital part of their wellness routine

Overall wellness remains a priority for travelers as half (50%) of respondents seek travel experiences in 2023 that align with their holistic wellness goals and priorities.

For about 1 in 2 (47%) travelers, physical wellness and accessibility to fitness amenities like centers or activities will be top of mind when it comes to traveling in 2023. For instance, healthier food and beverage options are top of mind for 66% of travelers from China.

Alexandra Jaritz, Senior Vice President, Brand Management for APAC at Hilton

“Travelers in Asia Pacific now desire experiences that truly ingrain themselves into the culture of the destination in every shape and form — including mind, body, and spirit, to rejuvenate the senses. Experiences need to be authentic and immersive; allowing travelers to disconnect from the daily grind and develop a deeper cultural understanding of the destinations they visit,” said Alexandra Jaritz, Senior Vice President, Brand Management, Hilton, Asia Pacific.

In addition, guests will also seek moments of connection with their communities, as well as insights and solutions that improve their mental and emotional health. Addressing mental health on the road will be prioritized by 35% of global survey respondents. Meanwhile, another 49% of those employed will be looking to travel to disconnect from work.

Travelers will want to be taken care of more than ever

Personalization will continue to be a significant priority for travellers, with 86% of survey respondents indicating they want recognition and personalization while on the road. The trend is significantly more pronounced in Asia Pacific, with nearly all respondents in China (99%) wanting personalization, and 84% in Australia and 70% in Japan. Nearly half in China (46%) even look to travel and hospitality companies to accommodate their personal needs.

This also corresponds with their interest in finding personalized food and beverage options — with respondents in China (69%), Australia (50%), and Japan (38%) specifying so.

Travelers know the importance of wanting to feel valued for their loyalty — both in their wallet and as an individual. 42% indicate that loyalty perks — such as earning/redeeming points and loyalty benefits — will matter to them when traveling in 2023. Among these respondents, travelers from China value rewards the most, topping the list at 52%.

Whether providing exceptional guest service for value-driven travelers at a Hilton Garden Inn property or accommodating large families looking to reconnect and spend more time together, Hilton understands the importance of delivering reliable service to every guest, every time. In fact, Hilton offers enhanced booking options like Confirmed Connecting Rooms by Hilton, which allows families and friends to reserve adjoining rooms when booking online.

Ben George, Senior Vice President and Commercial Director for APAC at Hilton

“In Asia Pacific, the pent-up desire to reconnect with loved ones as travel takes on a deeper meaning is resulting in today’s leisure traveler emphasizing quality time with family,” said Ben George, Senior Vice President and Commercial Director, Hilton, Asia Pacific.

“Exceptional hospitality and innovative guest experiences that anticipate this need go a long way in giving families the peace of mind knowing that they will be taken care of on every level, including helping them to create more shared moments and memories together.”

Travelers want frictionless innovations that are tech- and human-led

2022 uncovered unexpected friction points in travel. Hilton’s research found that over half (56%) of all travelers surveyed will prioritize adopting solutions that make travel easier in 2023 and among them, respondents from China (59%) prefer to have friction points reduced the most. 26% also anticipate hotel tech will be important for a seamless stay.

To reduce the strongest tension points, guests will seek out the most logical and purposeful solutions. They will look for the hospitality and service that they expected pre-pandemic, whether that’s personalized dining recommendations or reservation adjustments. Within the tech innovations, they will continue to embrace efficiencies like Digital Key in the Hilton Honors app, which allows travelers to bypass the front desk and go straight to their rooms.

For a complete view of the 2023 Report, visit Stories.Hilton.com/2023Trends.