We all dream of a white Christmas, and this year Paul and I have had one! For the first time in many years, we are home for the holidays and although we thoroughly enjoy spending time with family and friends, I have to admit I am missing the warm weather and sunshine!
2021 was a challenging year for the travel industry as we all know. Like many people, when we were able to venture out again, we chose to stay closer to home. But then we managed to spend as month in Europe and a few weeks ocean cruising. Although we are currently back in a non-essential travel ban, we hope that this is only a temporary measure.
As everyone begins to think about travel again, here are a few of the Trends our Industry is anticipating for 2022 and beyond:
Cleanliness and covid protocols
- Everyone is more concerned about cleanliness and covid protocols
- High-touch areas are cleaned and sanitized with alcohol-based disinfectant products in every hotel, airplane, etc.
- Face coverings, hand sanitizer, and wipes are now mandatory travel gear.
- Cruise lines have totally revamped their processes to meet the strict requirements of the CDC. For example, Celebrities “Healthy at Sea” includes testing and screening, mandatory vaccinations, enhanced cleaning and sanitization protocols, enhanced medical center and 100% fresh filtered air.
- Covid Testing is definitely going to be around for the foreseeable future, with requirements constantly changing as the world does.
- As the world transitions to touchless features such as contactless payments, digital keys, etc as much as possible, hospitality companies have accelerated the digitization of their customer and supply-chain interactions and of their internal operations by three to four years, with features such as room service robots (there are already 3,000 robots in operation).
- Digital forms and QR codes are here to stay. A smartphone is an essential when travelling and knowing the entry and exit requirements for your destinations is critical.
- And then there is video conferencing. We have had many Zoom calls with clients and although there are days when we all feel “zoomed out”, it is a great way to feel more connected and to ask and answer questions as they come up in group conversations. And it is certainly nice to see the faces of some of you that are not geographically close to us too!
- Another trend is Sustainable travel which involves minimizing impact by taking an eco-friendly approach to the physical location including simple changes like buying souvenirs from local merchants and supporting local businesses in destination.
- Many in the travel industry have recently made commitments to preserving the environment by removing single-use plastic from hotel rooms.
- Many of our clients are looking for more active choices including – hiking, biking, kayaking, walking, and the use of public transportation. Paul and I really enjoyed visiting Switzerland via public transport. It was easy to get your steps in every day and a great way to see how the locals live. It’s also super cost effective!
- Most river cruises and some ocean cruises have bicycles available for guests with hosted excursions offered at most port stops. Check out the picture where Paul and I tried out the eBikes in Dürnstein this Fall…. they were so fun!
- Wellness travel is a newer trend, estimated to increase in 2022 as travelers bridge the connection between traveling and emotional wellbeing. Meditation, yoga, mindfulness programs and retreats are more available now than ever before.
- Surveys confirm that many travelers will consider their vacation time as a strict no work zone and will add personal time extensions to their business trips.
Time and Money
- The average holiday duration and budget has increased as people struggle to make up for cancelled vacations.
- Many of our suppliers are citing bookings for 2022 are already up over 150% and some river cruise sailings are already sold out.
- Many travelers are choosing smaller venues, rural escapes, and boutique waterfront getaways over previously popular mega resorts and urban experiences in 2022.
- Studies show that people no longer want conventional travel experiences as much as they used to, choosing instead, to spend more for vacations that are once in a lifetime opportunities. World cruises of over 100 days are very much in demand and many are sold out for the 2022 season!
Lots of things to think about as we look towards our travel plans for 2022. Our January 2022 safari and cruise around South Africa and Namibia Adventure has been postponed to 2023, but we are booked for January 2023. We can still add to our group, but space is limited.
We also have a group going to France in late August 2022. We’ll immerse ourselves in French culture and wine and dine on the Burgundy to Provence River Cruise with Avalon. This amazing trip cruises through France along the Rhône and Saône Rivers with guided sightseeing to the well known French treasures and some hidden gems too! You’ll have plenty of time to explore historical cities and we’ll be sure to sample Beaujolais, the famous wine of the region.
Join us August 23-September 1, 2022 on this amazing 8 day trip for as low as $5,200 per person. That includes airfare from Calgary, all meals on board the ship, complimentary adult beverages with meals, and guided shore excursions at every port.
As we look back on 2021, we are thankful to all our clients for their support, patience and understanding as we did our best to make your travel dreams a reality. We look forward to working with all of you as the world opens up again in 2022!
If you want to follow along with our travels I post pictures and stories of our adventures on our Facebook page.
We wish you all the best for a Happy, Healthy 2022!!