Hilton’s 2023 Travel Trends report shows many parallels between what the general public wants when on the road and what meeting and event attendees seek when they travel to an off-site face-to-face event.
The new 2023 Travel Trends report from Hilton finds that, after a year of just being happy to get out of the house and on the road again, travelers are now starting to look for a deeper, more engaging and wellness-focused experience. Sound familiar? That’s also what many of the recent surveys have found that meeting and event attendees also hope to find, both in their travel experience and in the meeting rooms.
“The pandemic reinforced that there is no true replacement for in-person meetings and events, and Hilton’s trends report reiterates that sentiment,” says Gerilyn Horan, Vice President, Group Sales and Strategic Accounts, Hilton. “Meetings and events attendees, today, are seeking opportunities to build and enhance their business relationships and connections, take their wellness routines on the road with them, as well as the ability to maximize travel efficiencies, whether it be through innovative technology or the introduction of sustainability features that will benefit their company’s ESG initiatives.”
Four Travel Trends for 2023
The Hilton 2023 Travel trends report is based on an evaluation of quantitative and qualitative data research, as well as insights collected by more than 7,000 travelers across the world in a survey commissioned by Hilton and conducted by Material, a global strategy, insights, design, and technology partner. Four trends emerged for travel in 2023.
- Deeper, more engaging human experiences and connections. As event organizers strive to make educational and networking sessions more engaging while at the event itself, the trend of bringing in the local environment to the meeting room is bang on with Hilton’s general traveler trends as well. Almost half of respondents want to be immersed in local culture and products, and another 40% want personalized access to unique experiences or activities, such as performances, events, spa treatments or classes.
If you haven’t already organized a corporate social responsibility (CSR) event to benefit the local community, showcased local food and beverages on the meeting menu (farm-to-table is still red hot), provided local crafts as welcome gifts, or brought in local talent to entertain, 2023 sounds like the year to start.
- Wellness on the road. While there is no doubt will be some attendees who still want to stay up late partying and inhale coffee to make it through the early morning sessions, the general trend is toward keeping healthier habits while away from home, the Hilton survey found. Half of respondents said they seek travel experiences in 2023 that align with their wellness goals and priorities, addressing the mind, body and spirit. Just under half said access to fitness amenities and activities will be important, and more than a third said they would be prioritizing mental and emotional health while on the road.
In addition to scheduling in enough free time for attendees to be able to hit the fitness center without missing any vital pieces of the event program, event planners also may want to consider adding in a fitness challenge, a fun walk/run, morning yoga or other health and wellness activities, as well as providing a “quiet room” that could be used for meditation, prayer or just a little time out from all the meeting hustle and bustle. This also could be a good year to fine-tune your menus to include healthier options that still feel indulgent.
- Personalization and feeling cared for. With 86% saying they want recognition and personalization while traveling in 2023 — and more than half wanting more personalized F&B options and activities — meeting and event planners can expect their attendees will have similar expectations.
That means the need to ask about food allergies and preferences up front, and providing a variety of options from keto to kosher, likely will only accelerate in 2023.
- Innovations, both technological and human.That drive toward personalization, combined with the travel hassles many encountered in 2022, makes travelers want innovations that will help decrease some friction while making life on the road at least a tad easier. In addition to the personalized dining recommendations and reservation adjustments travelers enjoyed pre-Covid, they also say they will continue to increase their use of tech innovations such as digital keys that let them go straight to their rooms without having to check in at the front desk.
Meeting professionals should continue to extend those make-life-easier innovations to their meeting spaces, with things like digital on-site kiosk registration systems, app-based communications of program changes and notifications, and perhaps some networking technologies that help people find those who share interests both personal and professional to build relationships and community.
View the full Hilton 2023 Travel Trends report here.
You May Also Be Interested In…
Airports and Airlines Most Likely to Lose or Damage Your Luggage
Prevue’s Top 10 Packing Tips of All Time