Why the travel industry is booming (and how OTAs are taking advantage)

David Beach3 minutes
Business tips
Why the travel industry is booming (and how OTAs are taking advantage)
In this article

2023 is set to be a positive one for the travel industry, despite inflation and the cost-of-living crisis. Which might seem puzzling.

Why is everyone willing to shell out for travel this year? 

We've helped many online travel agencies (OTAs) simplify user experience and scale international growth, so if you want to do this, too, keep reading. This blog explores the travel trends led by data and how your agency can make the most of this unexpected boom.

Covid has shifted priorities for travellers

Although we were all hoping never to utter the ‘C’ word again, we have Covid to thank for making us want to travel more. After being cooped up and locked down intermittently for two years, everyone is ready to explore and absorb different cultures again, with 31% planning to spend more on international travel this year.

A trend affectionately labelled ‘revenge travel’ is encouraging travellers to see the world once more — it's all about ‘sticking it’ to the pandemic and the time it stole from us. 97% of travellers had to cancel their honeymoon plans in 2020, which has led to people booking a ‘mega moon’. 

Travel commentator and founder of Campervan FAQs, Tory Jon, agrees Covid has contributed to the 2023 travel boom:

“[Travellers are] splurging for travel upgrades, spending more while at their destination, and making additional purchases both on material goods as well as experiences. This money doesn’t feel like so much of a stretch because they’ve had time to save, leading them to be freer with their spending for all aspects of their travels.”

OTAs can target these travellers by framing their marketing campaigns to help them once again enjoy their honeymoon or city break that never was.

Remote working means employees can work from anywhere (and they are) 

Working remotely has its perks — no commute, spending your lunchtime as you please, and more time at home with family and friends. And 78% of those working from home in some capacity said it gave them an improved work-life balance.

 But there’s now another perk to add to the remote working list, called ‘hush’ trips.

According to Forbes, ‘hush’ trips are the latest travel trend for 2023, which sees employees jet off on a working holiday armed with their laptops. Working by day and exploring their new surroundings by night. All without the employer knowing. Risky? Yes, worth it? Perhaps. (Depending on employee jurisdiction.)

As long as the hotel has steady WiFi and an electrical outlet, travellers can travel while earning.

What does this mean for OTAs? Focus on all the essentials travellers need for ‘hush’ trips. 

Emphasize workstations, WiFi capabilities, proximity to the airport for easy transfers, and around-the-clock leisure facilities such as onsite pools and gyms for downtime. 

Sidenote: To be successful in 2023, you need to prioritise mobile

We already know mobile commerce is popular, but it’s estimated that a whopping 700 million of us will book travel online this year. That means your OTA needs to deliver a seamless omnichannel experience — think search, checkout, booking and beyond.

Remember, it’s not just the booking process travellers are navigating online — it’s the researching aspect, too — 70% of customers use their smartphones for travel research. This means you need to prioritise optimising your OTA for a frictionless mobile experience with fast load times and a crystal clear user journey to attract and convert all those online travellers.

How Airwallex is helping OTAs capitalise on the 2023 travel boom

With all these travellers looking for their next travel destination, you need to stand out from the other 700 online travel agencies operating in the UK.

You want to deliver the best experience possible to travellers booking through your online agency, so here’s how Airwallex can help you appeal to travellers this year.

Pass on FX rates savings to customers

To offer competitive pricing to your customers, you need to be able to save on costs yourself. By providing you with competitive foreign exchange rates and low transaction fees, we can offer significant cost savings for OTAs, which ultimately means your customers reap the rewards.

Fast and embedded payment processing means better user experience

As an OTA, you’re processing a large number of transactions quickly, so you need a platform that can offer efficiency when processing these payments. We can do that. Plus, our platform helps reduce the risk of fraud and chargebacks, which means you’re delivering a better customer experience.

Payments in multiple currencies makes global business sense

If you have a customer in Europe who wants to book a hotel in Singapore, it’s easy to accept and settle payments with Airwallex (over 150 countries and 40 currencies). Supporting multiple currencies makes business sense, particularly if you’re appealing to a global market. You want everyone to experience a frictionless experience, regardless of where they’re booking travel to and from. 

Plus, the Singapore hotel gets paid in Singapore dollars, so there’s no hold up on their end, either. With Airwallex, you’re improving everyone’s experience.

Get started with Airwallex for your travel business.

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David Beach
Content Marketing Manager - EMEA

David manages the content for Airwallex. He specialises in content that helps EMEA businesses navigate global and local payments and banking.

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