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Now what? Louis Karno's predictions for the travel market for 2022

Updated: Jan 7, 2022

Every year Louis Karno shares its prediction for the travel market for the coming year. So, 2022 is a real challenge, but a few things are very clear: Domestic air travel is a mess — with crowded flights, packed airports, and lots of canceled flights-look for smart travelers to skip air travel altogether, opt for rail or car travel, or go overseas. With Omicron, that is a smart move. And, look for non-stop flights to soar in price over one-stops.

The motel is back! After decades of decline, look for a rebirth with a mid century vibe of the famed roadside motel — free of elevators, crowded lobbies, and with a cool new vibe. Outdoors will still be king, and look for Omicron spikes to continue but to have an impact on tourism planning. Expect exploring the outdoors-along with hiking, biking, and kayaking — to be big, while urban stays will be uneven, depending on the city’s ability to control COVID outbreaks. Camping will continue to grow, as well as interest in the RV. America’s divided political world will spill into travel — as new laws will be a major turn off to travelers of a certain mindset. So, expect Dems to skip Florida, South Dakota and Texas, while Republicans may avoid California, Hawaii and Delaware. Don’t expect travelers to forgive and forget-with lingering bad will towards companies that failed to offer refunds or support during the darkest days of COVID. They will pay a price in a competitive market hit by waves of uncertainty. The same may be true of traveler rewarding companies that do a good job during COVID in terms of hotel chains and airlines.

And, expect the vacation rental boom to continue, as trips get extended to longer overall travel times. Look for drops in shopping, concerts and indoor dining due to Omicron.… While some cities will struggle, mountain towns, rural destinations and waterfront escapes will flourish.

With an uneven domestic track record in COVID policy, look for more Americans to visit Canada and Europe in 2022-where policies mean fewer cases, and restrictions will be in place.

Lastly, vaccines matter, as travelers may fear risking money and safety in states where the vaccination-rates are low. Vermont is about to bloom! New Hampshire, not so much.


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