The Tipping Point for Travel Loyalty 2023: Holiday Travel Trends

The November/December holiday season is a crucial period, not only for traditional retailers and businesses associated with holiday spending but also for travel operators and travel loyalty programs. Travel brands and forecasters are approaching Q4 with many questions, particularly concerning current macroeconomic conditions and the ongoing travel boom. 

Will persistent inflation and elevated travel costs dampen travel volume over the holidays? Or have consumers adjusted to last year’s across-the-board price shocks and are now ready to resume their typical year-end travel habits? And how are travel loyalty programs responding to these consumer trends and working to provide the value that their members desire? 
Our latest report, "The Tipping Point for Travel Loyalty 2023: Holiday Travel Trends," aims to address these significant questions. This report follows up on our early 2023 travel loyalty survey series and is based on a new survey of more than 2,000 U.S. consumers who are part of a loyalty program offering travel-related rewards, as well as more than 150 loyalty program executives. It unveils fresh insights into holiday travel planning and intentions, shedding light on opportunities for travel loyalty programs to attract and captivate new member segments with holiday-focused offers and promotions. 

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Anticipating More Travel Action this Holiday Season 

First, the good news: 54% of American adults we surveyed intend to travel during the upcoming holiday season, which marks a significant increase from the 40% reported taking a holiday trip in 2022. That intent signals a bounce-back holiday travel season fueled by a more stable economic environment, but it doesn’t mean that price and value are far from travelers’ minds. 

Among the 60% of consumers who didn’t travel for the holidays last year, 45% cited affordability as the reason (either the prices were too high, or they didn’t have enough points or travel rewards). Value will almost certainly be a crucial consideration for holiday travel again this season, and that’s what’s creating the opportunity for travel loyalty programs. 

The consumers we surveyed believe that the travel loyalty programs they belong to can add value and would be willing to modify their holiday travel plans if that value is unlocked for them. 

Forty-two percent would travel more during the holidays if they got more discounts through their loyalty program, and 32% would travel if they had more points available to help offset the cost of the trip. 

Travel loyalty programs that can deliver these sorts of benefits are in a prime position to expand their membership base and boost spending during this season.  

The Tipping Point for Travel Loyalty 2023: Holiday Travel Trends report is the first in a three-part series that explores how consumer loyalty and travel trends have evolved since the release of our first Tipping Point study in early 2023. For more insights into this year’s holiday trends, a look at how travel loyalty is shaping up for 2024 and why a superior loyalty program experience can help consumers access greater value through personalized travel and loyalty options, interactions, and rewards, sign up to receive notifications for each new report and access all available reports here.

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