New research shows that UAE travellers seek personalised experiences, health and wellness, and deeper connections to local communities and cultures in 2023
Dubai, UAE: 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:
People will turn to travel for deeper, more engaging, human experiences and connections
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.
People will recognize travel as an essential part of their wellness routine
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.
Travelers will want to be taken care of more than ever
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.
Travelers want frictionless travel innovations that are both technology- and human-led
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.
Both qualitative and quantitative methods were used to determine the emerging trends detailed in this report. Hilton conducted stakeholder interviews across the organization to gain perspectives on what travel looks like today and determine what is top of mind going into 2023. Business Divisions included: Business Travel/Events, Food & Beverage, Wellness, Sustainability, Design, Digital Innovation, Workplace Culture. In addition, Hilton commissioned a survey with 72Point, fielded August 2022 among 500 general population consumers in the UAE.
Hilton (NYSE: HLT) is a leading global hospitality company with a portfolio of 18 world-class brands comprising more than 7,000 properties and more than 1.1 million rooms, in 123 countries and territories. Dedicated to fulfilling its founding vision to fill the earth with the light and warmth of hospitality, Hilton has welcomed more than 3 billion guests in its more than 100-year history, earned a top spot on Fortune’s 100 Best Companies to Work For list and been recognized as a global leader on the Dow Jones Sustainability Indices for five consecutive years. Hilton has introduced several industry-leading technology enhancements to improve the guest experience, including Digital Key Share, automated complimentary room upgrades and the ability to book confirmed connecting rooms. Through the award-winning guest loyalty program Hilton Honors, the nearly 146 million members who book directly with Hilton can earn Points for hotel stays and experiences money can’t buy. With the free Hilton Honors app, guests can book their stay, select their room, check in, unlock their door with a Digital Key and check out, all from their smartphone.