TravelBoom, a digital marketing agency for hotels, resorts, and vacation rental companies, has released its annual Leisure Travel Trends Study after surveying the booking habits of 2,000 travellers in 2023.

The study looks at the influence of an ever-changing economy on travel choices, increases in online bookings, an increased frequency of vacations and the most sought-after amenities when booking.

What are the most influential booking factors?

Interestingly, hotels should consider whether to give up on social media marketing. Social media is shown to have very little ability to inspire the initial travel decision.

Reviews are also less important, as they can easily disqualify a property but can’t entice a visitor to stay. In 2023, reviews came in last when looking at the most influential booking factors, with hotel location and price coming in first, according to TravelBoom.

What does affect booking decisions is loyalty programmes, with 68% of travellers indicating that these influenced them in 2023, up from 45% in 2022. GlobalData analysis finds that while adjusting the value of loyalty points can ensure greater cash flow, it can also result in loyal customers being drawn to other programmes that offer greater benefits.

Leisure travellers are changing their habits in light of the overall economy. Results show a staggering 3 out of 4 travellers now make changes to their vacation planning due to inflation.

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The hotel industry can breathe a sigh of relief as travel returns to pre-Covid numbers. Covid-19 is largely felt to be behind today’s travellers and has no impact or only a minor influence on travel decisions.

TravelBoom COO Pete DiMaio comments: “The data is clear: Covid is a concern of the past for today’s leisure travellers. However, a new “c” word has taken its place -“cost”. The data shows significant leisure travel planning changes due to rising costs and economic uncertainty.

“The positive news is that travellers are still looking to get away, though it will differ from past years.”