For the first time, Expedia Group brands (Expedia, Wotif and Stayz) have come together to unveil a comprehensive view of traveller trends. Defined as the “the no-normal”, where Aussies will be saying “no” to normal, breaking routines and searching for experiences without compromises, the trends that have been sourced from Expedia Group data and research from thousands of travellers and industry professionals across 17 countries, prove there is no “one-size-fits-all” travel in 2023*.
From Sydney making a comeback and being the only Aussie city to break into the top 10 culture capitals of the world, to television series and movies showcasing enticing destinations influencing where we book our next holiday, here are the Unexpected Travel Trends in 2023.
Booking a trip after binging a popular new series will become serious business in 2023. Expedia research reveals over two thirds (69%) of Australians have considered booking a trip to destinations after seeing them on streamed shows or movies, whilst almost a third (29%) have actually booked. When it comes to travel inspiration, a quarter (27%) of Australians are feeling the set-effect, whose travel decisions have been impacted by destinations featured in movies or shows on streaming services
In fact, from cooking shows to fantasies, dramas to documentaries, a quarter (26%) of Aussies say the influence of streaming services on their travel plans have increased in the last twelve months; with the influence on Gen Zs (18-24) increasing by 36%
Paris is of most interest to Australians based on the influence of streaming services, thanks to one fashionable young marketing executive, followed by New Zealand, New York, Hawaii and Italy.
Expedia: Culture Capitals
After nearly two years of visiting national parks and nature reserves, cities are making a comeback. Based on Expedia traveller demand, most of the destinations seeing the largest increases are all culture-rich cities where art and culture festivities are getting back to full swing. In 2023, travellers across the world are ready to check out the Edinburgh Fringe in Scotland, plan a trip to WorldPride in Sydney or bask in the cherry blossoms in Tokyo. In 2023, culture capitals are calling:
New York, USA
Wotif: Concrete Holidays
From world-class stadiums to vibrant new dining and lifestyle hubs, the energy and investment being fuelled into Australia’s major cities is palpable. As a noteworthy suite of new hotels prepare to open and transform the Australian hotel landscape, more than half (60%) of Aussies are planning to stay in a city hotel this year, ready to explore the bright lights and culinary delights.
2023 Most Anticipated Australian City Hotel Openings
The Ritz-Carlton | Melbourne, VIC
W | Sydney, NSW
Rosewood Hotel | Brisbane, QLD
Dorsett Hotel | Brisbane, QLD
Capella | Sydney, NSW
TRYP by Wyndham Pulteney Street | Adelaide, SA
25hours Paddington | Sydney, NSW
Vibe Hotel | Adelaide, SA
The Motley | Richmond, VIC
Sydney and Melbourne are set to benefit most from this revitalisation, with Wotif data confirming both cities are already seeing strong growth – Melbourne accommodation demand increased close to 130% in the last year, followed by Sydney at almost 90%. Whilst capital cities are at the top of the list thanks to new hotels, major hubs such as Gold Coast and Newcastle are also trending as convenient local escapes.
Trending Aussie destinations:
Melbourne | VIC, Australia
Sydney | NSW, Australia
Brisbane | QLD, Australia
Central Coast | NSW, Australia
Albury | NSW, Australia
Perth | WA, Australia
Gold Coast | QLD, Australia
Grampians | VIC, Australia
Blue Mountains | NSW, Australia
Newcastle | NSW, Australia
Kitchen credentials are a must, with travellers looking to plate up when they please in their private Stayz holiday home. Cooking at home can be cost efficient, and nearly half of Aussie travellers (45%) are cooking in their holiday homes to cut down on costs.
2 in 5 (41%) enjoy buying from the local supermarkets or farmer markets and more than half (54%) said they would save up to $700 on their next trip if they replaced eating out with eating in.
Almost half (44%) of Aussies say they love cooking together as a group activity whilst on a holiday, and the top cooking appliances or amenities that they would love to see in their next holiday home are an outdoor kitchen (57%), professional coffee machine (47%), and deep or air fryer (39%).
When it comes to location, alfresco dining is popular, as two thirds (67%) of Aussies say it’s the preferred place for their meals in their holiday homes.
Rustic getaways are on the rise, as travellers crave private Stayz holiday homes with abundant space and exhilarating views. Cue the hay-cation, offering an intimate escape in the Aussie countryside from converted barns to rural farmhouses. According to Stayz, demand for holiday homes in some of the country’s top rural destinations is up by more than 90%. Interest for mountainside destinations with breathtaking views of lakes and rivers are also up by 50%.
The top five Stayz Hay-cation properties include:
The Maple Lodge | Robertson, NSW
Coolabah FarmHouse | Bungonia, NSW
Rushy Creek Farm | Karrindale, WA
Arbor Escape | Upper Colo, NSW
Fawlty Farm | Taylor Bay, VIC
In addition to seeking rustic cottages and beautiful lodges, travellers are also exploring charming locations from high alpine places to farm style escapes. The following destinations have seen the highest demand increase:
Bright | High Country VIC
Marysville | Yarra Valley, VIC
Crackenback | Snowy Mountains, NSW
Goulburn | Capital Country, NSW
Wodonga | Murray East, VIC
Halls Gap | Western Grampians, VIC
Tamworth | New England, NSW
Echuca | Central Murray, VIC
Yeppoon | Capricorn Coast, QLD
Nietta | North West, TAS
“When we look at Expedia, Wotif, and Stayz data together, we see a detailed and robust picture of travel into 2023,” said Jon Gieselman, president, Expedia Brands. “We’re seeing a surge in trips to culture capitals, TV-inspired locations, and a spike in demand for outdoor destinations beyond just beaches and mountains — not a new normal but people branching out to unexpected trends in what we’re calling the ‘no normal’.”
Whether it’s flying to those once-in-a-lifetime events or hosting group celebrations at a holiday home, travellers are no longer adapting to the next new normal, but creating their own status quo altogether.
An optimistic industry pushes forward
For the first time, the 2023 travel trends are being released at the same time as insights from industry professionals, from airlines to hotels to holiday home hosts and more. In a tailored report for travel partners, Expedia Group reveals the ways that the pandemic forever changed travel. The global research shows the highest levels of optimism since 2020. Most professionals expect leisure (71%) and business (70%) travel to return to pre-2020 levels within two years. While travellers looking for a change of scenery kept the industry afloat during the pandemic, all eyes are on the return of international and business travel. In fact, more than half (51%) in the industry say business is their organisation’s highest priority in 2023.
Another insight from industry professionals shows travellers are choosing options aligned with their personal values such as sustainability, inclusivity, and accessibility. Most travel businesses (60%) made changes in the last year to ensure their services are inclusive and accessible. In fact, sustainability is tied with marketing as the highest area of investment for 2023, with one in five industry professionals saying they plan to invest in sustainability this year.
For the full consumer report on The No-Normal; Unexpected Travel Trends in 2023, go to www.expedia.com.au/stories/travel-trends-2023. For the full industry report on insights and actions for travel partners, download the Traveller Value Index 2023.