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Revenge travel is over. The frugal traveller returns

As people return to pre-pandemic routines and take fewer extended breaks, they are back to seeking deals and discounts while planning vacations

Vacations are important for mental health
Vacations are important for mental health (Pixabay)

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After the restrictions of the covid-19 pandemic, travellers around the world hit the road with a vengeance. ‘Revenge travel’ was a phenomenon as people young and old booked themselves vacations, sparing no expense. Luxury hotels, spas, airlines, restaurants and stores quickly took advantage of people's desire to take a break, relax and spend time with family and friends after the stress of lockdown rules and restrictions on movement.   

This might be set to change as travellers make their plans for the rest of the year. Traditionally, March and early April are the months when people start making plans for summer holidays and other vacations during the year. So far, it seems like they're thinking about budget and value over profligacy and luxury. 

Even high-end travellers want to pay no more than $500 (~ 41,000) a night for a hotel, and aren’t interested in paying extra for greener or fancier options, according to the latest MLIV Pulse survey, reports Bloomberg. The survey covered 465 respondents from the US, Canada and Europe. This may be a reflection of diminishing consumer confidence or complaints that inflated pricing hasn’t been accompanied by a proportionate increase in service quality, notes Bloomberg. So much for a golden age of revenge travel.

About 69% of poll participants said their maximum budget per hotel room night was $500, while 24% were willing to spend up to $1,000. Respondents include traders, portfolio managers, senior managers and retail investors, according to Bloomberg. The number of people “splashing out” on their next vacation was exceedingly small: 7%. A quarter said they’d possibly upgrade things one notch.

These findings suggest that luxury spas, hotels and restaurants as well as airlines may be seeing the end of a short boom and consumers will be looking for deals and discounts. Airline fares have also been running high, which is probably causing tourists to rethink spending on travel.

Bank failures, fast inflation, elevated mortgage payments and a softening labor market, especially in high-income sectors such as tech, could see tourists keep discretionary spending in check, adds Bloomberg.

The return to full-time office work, the re-opening of schools, and a slow decline in hybrid work could also be contributing factors. Most offices have re-opened fully, and even professionals on a hybrid schedule are staying home as school and childcare responsibilities keep them in one place. Working remotely or from a beachside destination is no longer as easy as it was during the pandemic years. Workplaces may be more flexible about hours but extended absences are no longer the norm as most people return to their pre-pandemic routines.


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