Travel Trends and Predictions for 2023

The last two and a half years have made it difficult to predict travel and business trends. With a strong rebound in 2022, it now seems a bit easier to predict how business travel will fare in 2023. According to the global business travel forecast from CWT, experts are predicting growth in business travel in 2023 with potential increases in fares and rates. Growth is expected in all major business travel and meetings markets and segments in the coming years as the industry works to recover to pre-pandemic levels.

Additionally, while business travel is still behind from 2019 levels, a survey from the Global Business Travel Association (GBTA) shows the likelihood of a rebound in 2023 with 78% of travel managers anticipating that their companies will take more business trips in 2023 and 85% of business-travel bookers estimate that there will be more overall bookings. The survey also found that wavering economic conditions is the biggest factor that may limit business travel rather than the COVID-19 pandemic.

While demand will remain high, it’s expected that global travel prices will continue to rise significantly in the remaining months of 2022 and throughout 2023, according to a report out from CWT and GBTA. The prices of meetings and events are also expected to climb particularly sharply this year, while air fares and hotel rates are also being pushed up, driven by soaring fuel prices, staff shortages and inflationary pressures in raw material.

According to a forecast from American Express Global Business Travel, airfares on corporate travel routes are expected to rise by as much as 25 percent in 2023 amid high fuel prices, a stronger U.S. dollar and labor and aircraft shortages. While U.S routes will see an impact, routes in Asia, Australia, and flights from Asia-Europe are likely to see the biggest gains.

As for rental cars, we all remember the sky-high prices seen in the last two years amid a massive shortage of vehicles. In 2023, expect slightly less demand (about three percent less according to Kayak) as those that will seek rides will look for cars at specific classes and electric charging vehicles as gas prices remain higher than average.

If you’re looking to avoid these potential increases, government travelers should book government city pair fares whenever offered, and book hotels and cars in accordance with applicable travel regulations, policies, and programs whenever possible.

Vacation travel is not showing any signs of slowing down anytime soon either, as seen by the numerous lines at airports over the summer that continued in the fall. Business travel has also continued to be combined with leisure trips, creating what some are calling “bleisure” trips. The rise in bleisure travel is mostly driven by the younger workforce looking to combine vacation stays with a small work trip, according to A Luxury Travel Blog.