Desires and tourist practices are refined over the course of a year once again marked by the Covid-19 pandemic. At the heart of these behaviors: freedom, activity and localism.
Prioritize flexible vacations
Organizing your vacation in advance is in practice choosing the option of serenity. But in the time of Covid-19, the unexpected is in order: border closures, cancellations of reservations, isolation measures… So many reasons that push a very large number of French people to choose flexible travel. According to the travel agency Tourlane, 87% of them are attentive to the prices and the flexibility of the conditions of their travel reservations. A behavior that should continue, analyzes Pascal Capellari, director of the Excelia school of tourism: “ Seeking flexible fares is a growing behavior among travellers. Hoteliers are adapting by offering many cancellable offers “.
Launched before Covid-19, in February 2019, the ALL – Accor Live Limitless loyalty program offers, for example, an offer guaranteeing free cancellation until the day of arrival. A reservation system that is even more appreciated by its customers since the implementation of health restriction measures around the world. Airbnb, which is enjoying great success despite the pandemic, offers a “free cancellation” button among its booking filters. Travelers tempted by this type of last-minute booking will benefit from this functionality of the American platform (“I am flexible”), allowing them to choose a stay according to the type of accommodation and no longer according to the date of arrival. .
Separating leisure and work
While 2021 was synonymous with teleworking and “digital nomadism”, 2022 will be an opportunity for many French travelers to disconnect from work. The online booking site Booking.com has just published a study identifying travel trends which reveals that 68% of Internet users now favor shorter holidays, but disconnected from work. The study also announces that these travelers are above all looking for a vacation that promotes “quality” rest (understand, without external disturbance). So, for a successful holiday, batten down the hatches.
Opt for other modes of transport and roaming
Being in control of your journey aboard a vehicle offers many advantages: independence, choice of route and change of scenery. So many arguments that have convinced many nomadic holidaymakers. No more dependence on public transport, the endless wait for a boarding lounge and overcrowded destinations.
A trend that is confirmed with the increase in the number of rentals of converted vehicles, as explained by Benoît Panel, co-founder and CEO of Yescapa, a motorhome and van rental company between individuals, in Figaro : “ Vacationers have less and less desire to get on a plane with the Covid. They want to treat themselves for a limited period. The van is a way to take advantage of it: it is economically affordable, it allows you to avoid the crowds and to take advantage of local tourism. he explains.
The opportunity to discover (or rediscover) many regions of France independently, such as Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur, New Aquitaine or Brittany, destinations particularly popular with customers of this rental platform between individuals. After registering nearly 127,000 booking requests from May to August 2021, the Bordeaux-based company expects further growth in 2022: “ Covid or not, the demand is not likely to stop. Last year, nearly 75% of French people said they were tempted by a roadtrip. It is a new tourist area that is developing “, describes Benoît Panel.
Select less frequented destinations
What could be worse than finally finding yourself at your destination, to discover that the place is the victim of tourist overcrowding? Impossible to properly enjoy your stay, unless the tourist sites themselves take restrictive measures? This will be the case for the first time in France in many places popular with holidaymakers in 2022: between Marseille and Cassis, the Calanques National Park will set up from 2022 daily gauges for tourists ranging from 200 to 300 people maximum. Ditto on the side of the island of Porquerolles, which last summer did not tolerate more than 6000 tourists per day on its soil on certain days.
Elsewhere in Europe, the island of Mallorca (Spain) will limit the number of cruise ships allowed to anchor around its waters from 2022 for five years. A way for these destinations to preserve their biodiversity and reduce the formation of Covid-19 clusters as much as possible, and an opportunity for tourists to take a breather.
Switch to responsible tourism
After concern for the environment and biodiversity in 2021, respect for destinations and the local population comes into play in 2022. Booking reveals that 56% of French travelers surveyed want to “ live authentic experiences representative of the culture of their destination “. A trend that is also accompanied by respect for the environment and the traditions of local populations: ” This type of tourism is becoming a priority, particularly among millennials. Nearly 71% of young French people want their money to benefit locals, in France and abroad says Pascal Capellari, citing the work of associate researchers from Excelia.
New collaborative platforms are rushing into the breach. MakeYourTripBetter, created by Olivier Gibouin, 43, former financial director, directly connects travelers and locals “according to a system of mutual evaluation”. Greengo.voyage, launched by a young polytechnician, Guillaume Jouffre, 29, aims to be an alternative to Booking and Airbnb, “with a quality offer, fair commissions and fair remuneration for hosts”. This service favors the local to the distant… And the train to the plane.
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Travel close to home
The escape is not subject to a mileage requirement. At a time when exotic and distant destinations reign, we sometimes forget that it is possible to have fun close to where we live. This alternative has a name: the staycationEnglish contraction of staystay, and holiday, holidays. A fashion born in the United States, resuscitated after the financial crisis of 2008 and by the need to save money on holidays. These projects made possible by online booking platforms like Staycation, which literally takes its name from this practice, and offers stays with up to 70% off in beautiful establishments in Paris, Lyon or Bordeaux. “Beyond spending a night in a beautiful hotel, the objective is to offer a unique, immediate and turnkey experience.explained its co-founder Mathieu Dugast to Figaro in 2019. Another way of traveling, favored by the French since the Covid in order to live their daily life in another way, for a moment apart.
Promoting “active” holidays
During a trip, well-being often depends on physical activity. What could be better than combining holidays and sporting activities? According to Tourlane, this “active” style of travel is favored by nearly 17% of French people. Cycling, hiking or skiing… There is no shortage of activity ideas, and neither are the offers.
Almost twenty years after a first experience in travel, Decathlon is making a comeback in the field of tourism. The leader in French sports equipment has thus been offering a digital platform since July 2021, aimed above all at beginner athletes, called “Decathlon Travel”, and which gives holidaymakers the possibility of choosing from many sports travel offers (such as kayaking, kitesurfing or diving) in France and abroad (Cape Verde, Cuba, Egypt…). “ It is today a niche market that we want to make more accessible by selecting the best offers on the market in France, as well as internationally. “, explains Estelle Verdier, general manager of the subsidiary.
Although Decathlon Travel has travel agency approval and an Atout France license, the company does not currently create its own trips but distributes existing offers in line with the company’s DNA. And she is not alone on the track: a French start-up launched in October 2019, Move Your Trip, also offers sports and fitness stays to holidaymakers in calm and exotic places, such as Alpe d’Huez (Isère) and Notre-Dame-de-Monts (Vendée). Ready ? Go!
“Revenge travel”, or the bulimia of travel
The Covid-19 pandemic has disrupted many overseas travel and vacation plans. The cascading cancellations, postponements of health measures and border closures have not, however, discouraged French travelers in their quest for a change of scenery: according to Tourlane, 75% of them consider themselves ready to travel in 2022. This phenomenon has a name: “revenge travel”. Born in Asia in 2020 in regions very affected by Covid-19, it materialized by a very strong recovery in tourist activity, first at the local level, before being exported elsewhere on the continent. In China, the authorities encouraged their population to travel across the country in order to participate in the recovery of the economy. For us, this behavior is almost akin to bulimia: ” As soon as the French had a window, they rushed to anything that could get them out of their daily life between four walls explained Stanislas Gruau, founder of the adventure travel agency Explora Project, to the Figaro at the start of last year. Since then, the novelty has persisted and is constantly fueled by the fear of new health restrictions. As if it was necessary to consume at all costs, so as not to “miss” anything? No: in 2022, the watchword is to take advantage.
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