The most popular research topics of 2022

2022 was all about recovery. Unrelenting consumer demand characterized a year when restrictions on travel were lifted nearly everywhere. Travel companies welcomed the rebound but were also more attentive and respectful of their surroundings, whether that be the environment or their people.

In 2022, Phocuswright published over 65 reports, 50 Analyst Insights articles, 100+ videos and provided the travel ecosystem with food for thought via speaking engagements and events across the world.

Here are the research topics, studies and themes that were most popular among readers, subscribers and Phocuswright analysts.

Top 3 most read weekly Analyst Insights articles

3. Three key developments in the U.S. OTA market

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OTAs showed welcome recovery in 2021, buoyed by continued strength in domestic travel. After ending 2020 down 58%, U.S. OTA bookings nearly doubled despite the ups and downs of another pandemic year. According to Phocuswright’s latest travel research report on the segment U.S. Online Travel Agency Market Report 2021-2025, OTAs delivered $65.2 billion in gross bookings in 2021, reaching 82% of pre-pandemic levels (2019).

Three key developments in the U.S. OTA market:

  1. Full-service stands alone no more
  2. Money talks: sales, acquisitions and investments
  3. Tours, activities & attractions: the remix

2. By 2023, hotel supplier-direct will again surpass OTAs

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OTAs experienced a rebirth in the leisure market in 2021. According to Phocuswright’s latest travel research report U.S. Hotel & Lodging Market Report 2021-2025, OTA hotel gross bookings rose 97% from 2020 to nearly $41 billion, almost reaching 2019 levels. The scales tipped in their favor, and OTAs represented more than half (52%) of hotel online leisure sales in 2021 (see figure below).

Meanwhile, the supplier-direct online channel capitalized on hotels' "book direct" campaigns, loyalty members' increasing app use for convenience and deals, as well as traveler preference for direct contact with hotels. The channel remained strong, rising 80% in 2021, and is expected to see more strong gains in 2022. By 2023, the online direct channel will once again surpass OTAs, representing a little more than half of total online leisure sales.

1. The 7 biggest tech trends influencing travel in 2022

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The most popular Analyst Insights article of the year was focused on tech trends influencing travel. Each year, Phocuswright's expert analysts identify the technology and innovation trends that will influence travel significantly in the years to come. This article featured a video that briefly introduced seven trends that we explored in depth in 2022.

According to Phocuswright’s latest travel research report Travel Innovation and Technology Trends 2022, a dramatic acceleration in digital change has taken hold, from touchless journeys and robotic automation to the rise of remote working. We witnessed the turn in fortunes of SPACs, and the entry of tokenization and NFTs into common parlance. Travel companies dipped their toes into new business models like subscriptions and Fintech became all the rage. But which of these innovations will persist and what should we be paying attention to in 2022 and beyond?

Top 3 most read research reports by Open Access subscribers

3. U.S. Online Travel Agency Market Report 2021-2025

Read it here.

U.S. online travel agencies (OTAs) recovered handily in 2021, buoyed by resilient domestic travel. Following the 2020 crash, U.S. OTA bookings nearly doubled despite the ups and downs of another pandemic year, reaching 82% of 2019 gross bookings levels. By the end of 2022, the segment is expected to recover to its pre-pandemic, all-time high – largely driven by pent-up demand and OTAs’ technological advances.

2. Europe Travel Market Report 2021-2025 

Read it here.

Slowly but surely, the European travel market began to mount its recovery in 2021. After dipping to just 64% of its 2019 size in 2020, gross bookings climbed a projected 31% in 2021. Still limited by new waves of coronavirus infections and rapidly changing travel restrictions, an immediate and robust return to travel failed to materialize. However, projected double-digit gains for the next several years are indicative of overall strong optimism for the region’s travel market.

1. U.S. Travel Market Report 2021-2025

Read it here.

The U.S. travel industry began its post-COVID recovery in 2021. Exceeding expectations, the market rebounded 67% year over year in 2021, as pent-up demand and loosening travel restrictions contributed to the growth. Full recovery to pre-pandemic levels will likely occur by 2023, and optimism remains for continued growth and development as the market restabilizes and continues adapting.

Top 10 reports chosen by the PhocusWire editorial team

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