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Travel trends for 2022 from Audley Travel

Published: 28/10/2021   /   Updated: 03/11/2022

Tailor-made travel specialist Audley Travel regularly conducts extensive research to ensure it is offering its clients exactly the range of options they desire for their bespoke trips, which are designed for each client based on their budget, travel wish list and tastes. This is even more important now, with clients keen to make up for missed trips. From its research, Audley has identified the following trends for travel in 2022.

Intent to travel rising

Audley’s most recent client survey (conducted in September 2021) shows that the appetite to travel continues to rise, with the highest percentage (since the question was first asked in May 2020) keen to get away. Seventy-five per cent of all people asked intend to travel within the next 12 months, (compared to 67 per cent at the same point in 2020). The most popular destinations for clients booking for travel in 2022 are Canada, USA, Japan, Tanzania and New Zealand.

Clients are spending more

Audley is seeing clients booking longer duration trips and wanting to treat themselves to nicer properties or room categories after a year and a half of not being able to get away. The average spend on trips booked in 2021 has increased by 9.4 per cent compared to 2019, with luxury options selected in particular in Kenya and Tanzania’s safaris and beaches, French Polynesia and New Zealand. Interest in Antarctica also remains strong, with clients keen to celebrate their return to travel with a high-spend destination that has been on their wish list for a while.

Larger groups and private facilities

Group sizes are increasing across all of Audley’s destinations, with the average booking increasing from 2.4 passengers in 2019 to 2.6 passengers for trips booked in 2021.

As clients book to make up for missed trips, Audley has seen a shift in the accommodation types that they request. From rooms and suites with private pools in Greece to exclusive use of safari properties in Africa, clients are asking for more space and private facilities as they book multigeneration family reunions or group trips. The same trend is seen in Sri Lanka, with Audley responding to the increased demand for private accommodation with the launch of a portfolio of private villas on the southwest coast. In the Caribbean, private islands such as Jumby Bay, Petit St Vincent and Palm Island as well as hotels that offer villas, for example Bequia Beach Hotel, are proving popular.

An 11-day Private stay on Sri Lanka’s south coast costs from £3,395 per person (based on eight sharing) and includes flights, transfers, accommodation and excursions. / 01993 838335.

A seven-night stay in Palm Villa with a private pool at Bequia Beach Hotel, St Vincent and the Grenadines costs from £2,700 per person (based on four sharing) and includes flights, transfers, accommodation and excursions. / 01993 838275.

‘Beach plus’ itineraries

As clients began to travel again last autumn, Audley saw a steep increase in bookings for beach-only trips. These allowed clients to take a much-needed trip, but without the more intricately designed itineraries that they typically book. Whilst these single destination trips remain popular with some groups (families, honeymooners and clients looking for a relaxing luxury break away in the sunshine), Audley’s specialists report an increase in requests for ‘beach plus’ itineraries for 2022.

While a typical Audley experience sees clients explore multiple destinations in one trip, a ‘beach plus’ itinerary is a first step back to this with clients enjoying a beach stay coupled with cultural touring experiences. It allows them to pack all their expectations for travel into one big trip without multiple border crossings. Many clients are choosing itineraries with a strong element of relaxation in nature away from the crowds, but teaming this with some immersive experiences that allow them to get to know the destination, and in turn take the first steps to the type of travel they love.

Popular destinations include Phuket, Krabi and Koh Samui in Thailand, with touring options including a treetop elephant experience, Phuket food tour, cookery classes or Southern community cultural experience. The same growing trend has been seen in Kenya, where it is possible to fly direct from the UK and experience both safari and beach within the country’s borders and avoid the associated Covid-testing complexities of flying to a second destination, such as Zanzibar, for the beach stay.

Audley’s Europe specialists have seen the same, with clients booking itineraries that give them time on a beach as well as some cultural experiences in Sardinia, the Algarve and the Greek islands.

A 17-day Luxury Kenya safari and beach trip costs from £9,100 per person (based on two sharing) and includes flights, accommodation, transfers and safari activities. 01993 838510.

Luxury rail

Interest in travel by rail is growing, with 81 per cent of people surveyed by Audley earlier this year saying that they were ‘very likely’ or ‘somewhat likely’ to consider rail travel for their next trip. This has risen from 76 per cent at the end of 2020.

Audley’s specialists in its programmes from Europe and Africa to Southeast and Central Asia and the US all report increased interest in luxury rail trips – both from existing product and new offerings. New opportunities to travel by luxury rail include Vietnam’s Vietage train between Danang and Quy Nhon, with semi-private seating areas for clients, three-course gourmet meals, Wi-Fi and a head and neck massage included. In Europe, the routing of Belmond’s Orient Express now includes Florence and Rome giving more options for clients. The Rocky Mountaineer in the USA now includes a two-day routing from Denver to Moab allowing clients to enjoy the views through oversized glass-dome windows, with breakfast, lunch and complimentary drinks served at their seats, with overnight hotel accommodation also included. In Russia, Audley’s specialists noted bookings on the luxury Golden Eagle train, travelling along the Trans-Siberian Railway, increased four-fold before the pandemic. This is set to continue with strong interest for 2022 thanks to the train’s off-the-beaten-track routing and luxury experience.

An 18-day Luxury rail trip across Russia costs from £17,895 per person (based on two sharing) and includes flights, transfers, hotel accommodation, 12 nights on the Golden Eagle and excursions. / 01993 838230.