Chaos in the Travel Industry is Fueling Public Opinion

Travel Trends in 2022

After years of travel restrictions, many people are ready to get out of the house for an adventure (a phenomenon known as “revenge travel”). With this renewed excitement to see the world, however, comes a plethora of issues—all of which are affecting opinions on where to go and how to get there. Even though part of the travel increase stems from loosening pandemic restrictions, COVID-19 infections continue to pop up among both travelers and airport staff, creating additional obstacles for travelers. 

More People Are Traveling in 2022

Percent Share of Travel Engagement Over Time of a Global Air Travel Audience (%)

2019 travel lagged briefly after Spring Break, but 2022 has seen continuous growth in demand
1. 2019 travel lagged briefly after Spring Break, but 2022 has seen continuous growth in demand

Percent Share of Flight Delays and Cancellations Over Time of a Global Air Travel Audience (%)

Mask mandates were dropped for most airlines on May 3rd and Interruptions started to increase.
1. Mask mandates were dropped for most airlines on May 3rd

Usually, travel demand ebbs and flows with different seasons. For example, in 2019, travel demand dipped after the spring break season. However, this year, travel demand is steadily increasing with no ebbs in sight. 

With that steady increase in demand for travel, we are also seeing more flight interruptions. In 2019, the percentage of flight delays and cancellations stayed fairly steady, but now in 2022 those delays and cancellations are increasing—especially since mask mandates were dropped in early May. 

Factors Driving Delays and Cancellations in 2022 Travel

Percent Share of Factors Widely Discussed by a Global Travel Audience (%)

Travel Demand, Labor Shortages, and Crew members out Sick are the top factors discussed around flight delays and cancelations.

Our data shows multiple factors may be driving all these delays and cancellations. Topping the list is the simple reality of increased travel demand—more people are traveling than ever before, spurred by “revenge travel” after being cooped up at home. 

Another significant factor is labor shortages. During the early stages of the pandemic, when few people were traveling, many airlines had to lay off employees, which means airlines are now struggling to get back up to a full workforce. In addition to a reduced workforce, many employees are calling out sick with COVID-19, which also leads to significant interruptions in service. 

2022 Sees an Increase in Travel Demand

Online Behavior of a Global Travel Audience

The use of the phrase "revenge travel" has seen a recent average weekly growth of +41%.

As we’ve mentioned, there’s a lot of “revenge travel” going on——in fact, the use of the phrase itself has increased 41%—but that isn’t the only factor driving higher travel demand. 

In particular, people are more interested in working from new locations, a phenomenon called “digital nomadism” that’s been made possible by more remote work possibilities (we’ll even be trying it ourselves as ShareThis recently announced it would be testing a “Work from Anywhere” model!). Why work from your home office when you could answer emails in a Paris café or stay near the beach so you can hit the surf once your workday is over? This digital nomadism trend may also be driving the uptick in interest in solo traveling. Or, people could be so anxious to get back to traveling that they don’t mind going alone if plans with friends and family don’t come to fruition. 

Strong Feelings About the Best Airline Choices in 2022

Percent Share of Sentiment by Airline and Year of a U.S. Air Travel Audience

Southwest Airlines and United Airlines have seen an increase in positive and negative sentiment in 2022 compared  to 2021.

Our data shows online audiences have more marked preferences for different airlines these days, as different companies have handled pandemic concerns in their own ways. Usually, there is more neutral sentiment for companies than positive or negative, where people don’t feel as strongly for or against particular airlines. But with all kinds of issues coming up this season, and disagreements about safe and efficient travel, opinions are growing stronger. 

Diving into the details, Southwest Airlines shows the largest jump in positive sentiment, going from 11% to 35% in the last year (while also having a jump in negative sentiment—10% to 24%). Delta Airlines has experienced the greatest dip in public favor, going from 53% positive sentiment to 23% and 7% negative sentiment to 27%, which may have been spurred by pilot strikes earlier this year. 

Travelers Still Want to Be Outdoors in 2022

Most Searched Travel Destinations, by Above Average Search Volume of a

Global Travel Audience

US National Parks are search 26.7 times more than the average search volume.

In the early days of the pandemic, outdoor spaces like national parks were some of the few travel options considered safe, and national parks are still commanding most of our online audience’s attention. Other popular destinations include Mexico, Japan, and Europe. 

Who is Traveling the Most in 2022? 

Top Indexes by Country of a Global Travel Audience

North Americans are leading travel demand with 9.6 times the average demand.

North Americans are leading travel demand, with the United States and Canada in first and third place. India also has a high index score for the likelihood of travel. Other countries showing an increased interest in travel include the Philippines, Nigeria, Australia, Malaysia, South Africa, Germany, and Singapore. 

Priorities for Global Travelers in 2022

Highest Indexing Categories Outside of Travel of a Global Travel Audience

The Global Travel Audience is also interested in Dating, Event Planning, Performing Arts, Bicycles, and the outdoors.

Our data shows that online users interested in travel also prioritize relationships and self-care. “Home” and “Family Time” are key phrases used in searches by our global travel audience, perhaps as people visit family for the first time since 2020. Travelers are also interested in finding someone to share their experiences with—”Dating and Personals” are frequently searched by travelers. With other categories of high interest including event planning, performing arts, bicycles, and outdoors, it’s clear that our travel audience is interested in having interesting, fulfilling experiences. 

Conclusion

The world of travel has been turned upside down by recent world events, making it challenging for airlines to meet demand but also opening new opportunities for travel adventures. If you’re interested in using our data to keep up with the trends, reach out to learn more. 

About the author
ShareThis

ShareThis has unlocked the power of global digital behavior by synthesizing social share, interest, and intent data since 2007. Powered by consumer behavior on over three million global domains, ShareThis observes real-time actions from real people on real digital destinations.

About Us

ShareThis has unlocked the power of global digital behavior by synthesizing social share, interest, and intent data since 2007. Powered by consumer behavior on over three million global domains, ShareThis observes real-time actions from real people on real digital destinations.