Here’s how inflation concerns are impacting Canadians’ travel plans for 2023
Cheryl Miller, Expedia Group’s SVP of Marketing

Here’s how inflation concerns are impacting Canadians’ travel plans for 2023

TORONTO — Expedia Group’s 2023 Traveler Value Index, just released, indicates that 60% of Canadians are more concerned about inflation impacting their travel plans in the next 12 months.

That was the highest among all countries surveyed, says Expedia Group’s SVP of Marketing, Cheryl Miller, in an interview with Travelweek.

Travelweek checked in with Miller to find out more about the 2023 Traveler Value Index’s Canadian stats specifically, and how these findings can help Canadian travel advisors work best with their clients for travel plans in the coming months.

The report focuses on consumer priorities when it comes to travel, such as mental health, inclusivity, and flexibility, as well as how travel professionals respond to these needs.

Key findings include …

  • Consumers in Canada are the most likely to travel internationally. Some 41% of Canadians say they are very likely to book or have already booked an international trip in the next 12 months, ranking higher than the global average (30%).
  • 72% of Canadian travel professionals believe business travel will return to pre-pandemic levels within two years and 77% feel the same about leisure travel. This falls in line with what consumers are saying with 74% of Canadians planning to take a leisure trip in the next 12 months.
  • 65% of Canadian consumers plan to travel via an airplane in the next 12 months.
  • Canadians appreciate flexible policies (63%) more than average (51%).

Q&A WITH EXPEDIA GROUP’S CHERYL MILLER

 

Read on for our Q&A with Miller, with more context and Canadian-specific findings …

Travelweek: When you look at the Canadian stats in Expedia’s 2023 Traveler Value Index report, what really stands out? What surprises you about what’s ahead for the Canadian outbound travel industry?

Miller: “What’s striking is that consumers in Canada, alongside Western Europe, are the most likely to travel internationally. Forty-one percent of Canadians say they are very likely to book or have already booked an international trip in the next 12 months, ranking higher than the global average (30%). However, Canada has the lowest percentage (31%) of travellers who say they will travel more than once a year, potentially showing that Canadians have more sensitivities to outside factors.”

Travelweek: What are Canadian consumers prioritizing with their travel plans at this point in the pandemic? Do inflation concerns appear high enough to put a dent in the busy winter travel season, or does the average Canadian traveler still have post-pandemic momentum for travel?

Miller: “Sixty percent of Canadians surveyed said inflation is their biggest concern, the highest among all countries surveyed. This coincides with global sentiment where price sensitivity and inflation top the list more than ongoing pandemic concerns and travel restrictions. Globally, industry professionals are underestimating the impact of inflation and price sensitivity, and instead thinking consumers value the ability to get a refund (24%) and enhanced cleaning and disinfection (22%) more than price (17%).

“Although inflationary fears are arising, Canadian travel advisors are optimistic with 33% feeling that they’ll reach pre-pandemic levels in less than a year, second highest to Mexico.”

Travelweek: What tips do you have for Canadian travel advisors looking to give their clients the best possible service and travel advice in this economic climate?

Miller: “Seventy percent of Canadian travel professionals feel travelers will spend more this year, but we recommend being thoughtful about discount and perks as travelers around the world become more price sensitive than they were a year ago. Consider offering incentives, loyalty programs, discounts or complementary add-ons.

“Another tip is to see where Canadian travellers are getting recommendations. Canadians rely the most on travel advice from family and friends with looking at reviews as secondary.

Travelweek: Canadians are famously value-conscious. Prices for travel have been rising since demand picked up. What are Canadian travelers saying about the soaring cost of travel these days?

Miller: “As mentioned, 60% of Canadians are more concerned about inflation impacting their travel plans in the next 12 months, however they are also among the most likely to travel, especially internationally. The key is to find the best price for their value. Fifty one percent of Canadian travelers say getting the best deal is most important, the highest among all countries surveyed. And flexibility is a must, as 69% of Canadians say a full refund should be offered if travel plans go awry.”

Travelweek: Is there any other info that’s particularly pertinent for Canadian travel advisors in this report?

Miller: “While inflation is a top concern, it’s important to remember that it’s not necessarily stopping Canadians from travelling. Seventy-four percent of Canadians are planning to take a leisure trip in the next 12 months and travel professionals are feeling it with 77% saying that leisure travel will return to pre-pandemic levels within two years.”