New research shows that UAE travellers seek personalised experiences, health and wellness, and deeper connections to local communities and cultures in 2023
If 2022 was the year of the changed traveler, 2023 is the year of the evolved traveller. Today, Hilton released its 2023 trends report, The 2023 Traveler: Emerging Trends that are Innovating the Travel Experience, A Report from Hilton, which reveals the latest consumer expectations following a year when travellers showed up in record numbers.
Based on a survey of 500 UAE residents commissioned by Hilton, the new report reveals the aspirations and needs of people taking trips next year. Overall, the survey shows that a large number of UAE respondents (74%) wish to travel more in 2023 than they did in 2022. Additionally, (32%) of people said their wish list of travel destinations has increased for next year.
The research uncovered four consistent themes for 2023 travel:
Travel is a gateway to discovering different perspectives and rich traditions. The research found that UAE travellers will focus on travel in 2023 to create deeper, more engaging connections with family, friends, colleagues, customers, cultures and the planet. Nearly half (46%) of survey respondents want to learn about local culture while traveling, while 39% want access to locally-sourced products. In addition, strengthening connections with friends and/or family through travel was highlighted by 40% of those questioned.
From destination-focused culinary travel packages to impactful programs like Hilton’s Travel with Purpose, which helps guests positively impact the communities they visit, travellers are looking to create meaningful change through more immersive travel experiences. In fact, Hilton is witnessing signs of this growth through its reimagined Hilton Honors Experiences, which saw a 77% year-over-year increase in Hilton Honors Point redemption during the first nine months of 2022, allowing members to connect with their passions through new, exclusive artist and celebrity events.
Health and fitness emerges from the survey as a significant priority for UAE travellers in 2023 with 36% of people saying travel will be an important part of their wellness routine. Having access to unique spa treatments (33%) came out strongly, as did having access to fitness activities outside of the fitness centre of their hotel (34%). Regarding food and drink, almost half (48%) of people want healthier options while travelling.
Next year, Hilton anticipates UAE travellers will have a renewed appreciation for experiencing moments where they feel special. 49% care about friendly and reliable service while travelling and 28% will expect travel and hospitality companies to accommodate their personal needs next year. Specifically, more than half (56%) are looking for personalized food and beverage options and 51% are looking for personalized experiences and activities.
Travellers from the UAE know the importance of wanting to feel valued for their loyalty. In fact, 35% of survey respondents indicate that loyalty perks—such as earning/redeeming points and loyalty benefits—will matter to them when traveling in 2023.
Hilton’s research found that almost half (46%) of travelers will seek an easier overall travel experience in 2023 and 37% of respondents anticipate hotel technologies will be important to them for a seamless stay.
For a frictionless travel experience, Hilton’s Digital Key allows travelers to bypass the front desk and go straight to their rooms. Additionally, enhanced booking options like Confirmed Connecting Rooms by Hilton allows families and friends to reserve adjoining rooms when booking online.