Virtuoso® Reveals Preferences and Top Destinations for Upscale Travelers this Fall and Festive Season

August 19th, 2022

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Virtuoso® Reveals Preferences and Top Destinations for Upscale Travelers this Fall and Festive Season

Las Vegas (August 16, 2022) – Global luxury travel network Virtuoso® reveals when, where and how the affluent are traveling next. Respected as an industry-leading trend forecaster, Virtuoso gathered data and insights from its network of travel advisors, preferred partners and high net worth/ultra-high net worth clientele based on its data warehouse of more than $49.5 billion in transactions and an ongoing series of surveys. The results were shared at luxury travel’s leading event, the 34th annual Virtuoso Travel Week. Running August 13-19 in Las Vegas at Bellagio Resort & Casino, ARIA Resort & Casino, and Vdara Hotel & Spa, the event is recognized as the fashion week of travel, where the latest news and trends affecting the industry are unveiled.

While travel has felt, at times, uncertain during 2022, luxury travelers have led the way forward, even in the face of covid variants, travel restrictions, and overwhelmed airports. The pent-up demand that many of us felt during the last few years has resulted in a surge in flights and bookings, resulting in trends like revenge travel and hectic “Airmageddon” scenes at major airports around the world. It’s no wonder why this year’s summer vacation cost more than it did last year and even the years before that – travelers are ready to get back out there and spend, and not just to Europe but the broader world. Both inbound and outbound leisure travel sales are booming, in some cases surpassing 2019 levels, and booking windows have normalized back to pre-pandemic numbers (which explains why it’s so hard to find deals and discounts). Despite the challenges, it’s undeniable that the future is bright, with travel sales in 2023 pacing 47 percent higher than 2019.

An overview of the information is below, with complete findings here.

Travel Roars Back

- Upscale travelers are ready to resume their pre-pandemic travel lives and have consistently led the way, even during shaky times. In January 2022, 85 percent said they were in a ready-to-travel mindset and 86 percent planned to take an international trip. Fast forward to summer 2022, even airports overwhelmed with air traffic and lost baggage is no strong deterrent for getting back out there.

- When it comes to recovery, the spend for outbound leisure travel is expected to outpace actual travel (i.e., the volume of people on the ground). According to Tourism Economics, in some markets, like Australia, U.K., and France, the differential between the two is quite slim. For others, like Mexico, China, and Brazil, the spend is expected to return years ahead of the number of outbound travelers.

- Outbound leisure travel sales have shown a strong rebound, even in markets where borders only recently opened up. The U.S. has already outperformed 2019 numbers for 2022 by 122 percent, Australia by 113 percent and Canada – at 80 percent – is rapidly catching up. Globally, we have surpassed 2019 – travel’s high water mark – for outbound travel booked January-July at 102%.

- Hotel booking windows are much wider than they were in 2019. Now, the median window for domestic hotels is 58 days (compared to 2019’s 44) and 80 days for international hotels (compared to 60). This is good news for hotels, of course, but for travelers it means more difficulty finding deals and discounts.

- 76 percent of travelers have accepted a “new normal” (up from 35 percent in January 2022), with many travelers making peace with all the uncertainty and volatility. Now, the number of travelers who were put off by traveling in January 2022 has dropped by 26 points (from 38 percent to 12 percent).

- Future sales of travel in 2023 are pacing 47 percent higher than 2019—great news for cruising, which is leading the way with heavy bookings in 2023.

- According to Tourism Economics, global outbound leisure spending won’t fully bounce back until Q2 2024 exceeding 2019 levels by 21 percent by 2024. And from there, the numbers keep climbing, surging to 55 percent of 2019 levels by 2026.

- 74 percent of Virtuoso travelers say “creating a travel experience that best fits my expectations is more important than price,” with plans to increase their previous year’s spend of $20,700 per person by 34 percent to $27,800 in the next year

Who is Traveling, Where are They Headed, and Why Are They Going Now?

- How are people traveling? The most popular way is traveling with a spouse or significant other, followed by traveling with friends and family trips with kids under 18. While traveling with friends showed a slight decrease (from 46 percent in 2019 to 36 percent in 2022), it’s still the second-most popular form of travel.

- Solo travel is on the rise—but not in the way you might expect. Interestingly, among Virtuoso clients, the highest level of interest is coming from the 65+ age group, increasing from 4 percent in 2019 to 18 percent in 2022. Meanwhile, the interest among travelers ages 18-34 has dropped from 12 percent in 2019 to 6 percent in 2022.

- Younger, richer travelers are getting out there in a big way. The 18-34 age group averaged 2.2 more international trips in the past year than the 65+ age group and 1.3 more domestic trips. DIY travelers took about the same number of trips in the past year as Virtuoso-advised travelers, but the latter took longer trips, spending more nights in hotels, rentals, and cruises and skewed more toward international trips.

- 78 percent of travelers say they’re ready to travel now. For 87 percent of those polled, the dollar’s parity with the Euro plays a factor. And only 35 percent say that this summer’s air travel complications have caused them to cancel or postpone plans.

- The hottest global summer destinations? The United States, Italy, France, Canada, and Greece come out on top, followed by the U.K., Spain, Mexico, Ireland, and Switzerland.

- The U.S., Italy, France, Mexico, and Canada are among the top international destinations for September-December 2022. And hotel bookings for fall and festive travel (September 1 to January 15) made through July of this year are at 173 percent of where they were at the same point in 2019.

- While 45 percent of people say they’re ready to travel now or within the next 3 months, 38 percent say it will be 6-12 months before they do so.

- Disconnecting from the routine and stresses of home and connecting with new people, cultures, and ideas are primary reasons for travel in 2022.

- Purpose-driven travel remains paramount. Environmentally-friendly philosophies and practices and the preservation of natural and cultural heritage are top-of-mind concerns, especially among Gen Z and Millennials. And many are willing to pay more—56 percent of Gen Z and 46 percent of Millennials for eco-friendly tourism practices and 58 percent of Gen Z and 52 percent of Millennials for travel that preserves natural and cultural heritage.

Fall and Festive Travel

- When it comes to festive/holiday travel, many people are ready to make plans, even amid the uncertainty of traveling during a pandemic. In 2020, only 16 percent were comfortable planning and making adjustments later if need be, and now that’s up to 28 percent. And in 2020, people waiting to book until closer to their travel date was 22 percent; that’s now consistently down to 15 percent.

- In terms of the motive behind holiday travel, 71 percent will travel for vacation, while 21 percent will travel to see family and friends.

- Islands and beaches are topping travelers’ lists for holiday travel, followed by trips with a wellness component, an ocean cruise, and cities outside the U.S. 62 percent will travel to multiple destinations, while 38 percent will travel to a single destination. Notably, wellness-focused trips were the only category to see a year over year increase: 2021 (13 percent) versus 2022 (24 percent).

- Among the 18-34 age group, high-end travelers seek out (and are willing to pay more for) travel brands/experiences that focus on environmentally-friendly philosophies, those that contribute to local people and that also preserve natural and cultural heritage.

- Booking trends are indicative of a strong fall season during which volume will remain above 2019 levels.

- Across all countries: through July, hotel and in-destination leisure booking volume is at 157 percent of 2019 levels.

- While the United States still leads all countries by a significant margin in total hotel and on-site booking volume, Europe will continue to be a hugely popular regional destination market.

- Trips to the Caribbean islands seem to be gaining popularity through the rest of 2022 and into 2023.

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About Virtuoso

Virtuoso® is the leading global travel agency network specializing in luxury and experiential travel. This by-invitation-only organization comprises over 1,200 travel agency locations with more than 20,000 travel advisors in over 50 countries throughout North America, Latin America, the Caribbean, Europe, Asia-Pacific, Africa and the Middle East. Drawing upon its preferred relationships with more than 2,200 of the world’s best hotels and resorts, cruise lines, airlines, tour companies and premier destinations, the network provides its upscale clientele with exclusive amenities, rare experiences and privileged access. Normalized annual sales of (U.S.) $25–$30 billion make Virtuoso a powerhouse in the luxury travel industry. For more information, visit


Media Contacts:

Misty Belles, Virtuoso – Vice President, Global Public Relations

+1.202.553.8817 /


Lauren Wintemberg

Alice Marshall Public Relations – Senior Account Director

+1.212.861.4031 /

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