Week in Review: “Flexcations,” Romance and Family Travel

Following the devastating earthquake that has now reportedly killed nearly 44,000 and injured over 120,000 people in Turkey and Syria, The Peninsula Hotels set up a disaster-relief effort to aid Turkey. Through the end of the year, for every room night at The Peninsula hotels, a donation equal to the local currency of €10 per night will be made. Each hotel will also offer opportunities for guests to make contributions to charitable organizations whose funds go directly to the victims.

Three Big Trends

The three trends of the week this week are: “Flexcations,” romance and sustainability.

According to Expedia Group’s 2023 Q1 “Traveler Insights Report,” the desire for experiences, as well as remote work policies, consumer savings and, yes, pent-up demand will drive travel in 2023. Even better: Traveler confidence appears to be on the rise, with many booking further out. During the last quarter last year, 35 percent of all searches were for travel in 2023—a 55 percent increase from 2021 (for 2022 travel).

As for where Americans are booking, it’s mostly big cities and warm-weather destinations. All but two of the top 10 most-booked destinations are domestic (with Cancun and London being the outliers). The experiences people are looking for range from food-first trips and wellness retreats to the “nothing-cation,” where people simply want to relax after post-holiday burnout.

From Sandals’ trend-house, the "Sandals Institute of Romance," Americans are prioritizing their relationships in 2023 and aren’t letting rising costs won’t derail their plans for a romantic vacation. Along those lines, two-thirds (67 percent) say a getaway for two would be a particularly romantic gift and the top choice for partners in 2023. As well, the survey found that more than gifts, sharing experiences is proving to be the ultimate love language.

Good to know: Travel Leaders Network just debuted its Honeymoon & Destination Wedding Leaders Alliance for advisors who specialize in romance travel. These alliances offer specialty gatherings, networking in-person and online, opportunities for collaboration and sharing of knowledge and exclusive trainings.

Lastly, six in 10 travelers are more likely to choose sustainable lodging; and over one in three travelers would pay $25 more per night for lodging with sustainable amenities—that’s according to a recent survey by FloWater. Survey results also showed that over half of these travel consumers consider sustainability important when making a purchase decision and 60 percent would rather spend their money at a business that used best practices for sustainability.

For the Families

Tembo Plains Camp

Tourism conservation organization Great Plains has unveiled its “Young Explorers Programme” at Tembo Plains Camp, Zimbabwe. From child-friendly treatments at the Bush Spa to guided expeditions in search of wildlife big and small, children will have plenty of opportunities to get involved. Upon arrival at camp, children will receive a Great Plains Young Explorers pack, comprising a safari cap, a neck buff, wild stickers, an activity book with games, diary entries and more.

In addition, a special two-bedroom family unit has been designed to reference to the Zimbabwean ruins but in a playful design.

For intrepid families looking at a different climate, small-ship cruise line Alaskan Dream Cruises is bringing back the "True Alaskan Family Cruise" in 2023, an itinerary that hasn’t been offered since 2018. The six-day sailing (aboard the 49-passenger Admiralty Dream) begins on land at the Orca Point Lodge before cruising through glaciers. Guests can view fireworks for Fourth of July and will have the chance to take in fjords, go kayaking and experience local culture on land. Young travelers will be provided a custom Adventure Guidebook, in a quest to “become a True Alaskan.”

Also in Alaska, Holland America Line opened bookings for its 2024 Alaska Cruisetours. New for next year, the line extends the land tour to the heart of the Klondike Gold Rush and Canada’s Yukon. With 16 cruisetours in 2024, guests can choose whether to cruise to Alaska or go overland first, and then decide to include one to three nights at Denali National Park. Those who want to explore farther into Canada can add a trip to the Yukon with stops in Dawson City and Whitehorse.

In Search of Rising Stars

Nominations are now open for Travel Agent’s annual 30Under30. You may nominate yourself or pass the word along to a qualified candidate you know—but nominees must be 30 years old or younger by December 31, 2023, currently work at any level as a travel consultant, have completed a significant project for his or her travel agency, and be recognized by leaders of his or her own organization as an emerging leader.

The deadline to be considered for the program is February 28, 2023.

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