What Is Revenge Travel?

May 12, 2022

Between 2020 and 2022, the travel industry faced an enormous range of challenges.  

COVID, travel restrictions, inflation, and the rising cost of commercial flights all played into one common denominator — people were staying home.  

Now, as some of those obstacles begin to ebb away, consumers stand on the cusp of another surge in “revenge travel.” 

What Is Revenge Travel? 


Revenge travel is the act of making plans for a trip to make up for lost or cancelled trips in the past.  

However, there’s a difference between “revenge travel” and “delayed travel.”  

Revenge travel has a certain set of characteristics. They include:  

  1. Going somewhere previously inaccessible 
  2. Spending more money than someone would on a regular trip 
  3. Visiting more than one destination per trip 
  4. Taking more time to experience one or more destinations 

These characteristics are reflected in the data we collected from a recent survey conducted with our 360 Travel Community. According to our survey:  

  • 84% of respondents plan on visiting a “new” destination 
  • 32% of respondents plan to spend “more” on trips 
  • 52% of respondents plan to travel two or more times this year 

Overall, these statistics show that travelers are indeed getting back out there and, in some cases, willing to spend more to make up for the time they lost to travel restrictions.  

Why Is Revenge Travel Important? 


Aside from the sheer scale of revenge travel, there are several other reasons why it’s important to the travel industry.  

According to the World Travel & Tourism Council, the travel industry lost roughly 50% of its total economic impact in 2020, dipping to $4.7 trillion from $8.9 trillion the year prior.  

Revenge travel is important because it can bring that revenue back to individual travel businesses. Instead of engaging with a small number of travelers who are spending less than usual, the travel industry can now engage with a greater quantity of travelers who are ready to spend more than they usually would.  

This sentiment and the resulting revenue could have a major impact on the travel industry. In fact, this impact is already happening in some sectors.  

For example, vacation rental bookings are skyrocketing. 85% of vacation rental owners and managers are reporting increased bookings over the previous year, as reported by Xplorie.  

Anecdotally, car rentals are also experiencing a leap in bookings. Matt Landau, CEO of VRBM, made headlines in MarketWatch when he rented a U-Haul truck for transportation on vacation. According to Landau, the scarcity of available rental cars led to an increase in the price of each rental, and it was more sensible to rent a U-Haul.  

Beyond these statistics and stories, revenge travel can represent another mix of changes coming to the travel industry. While COVID mandated that significant changes happen for the safety of travelers, those same changes are now reverting as COVID becomes a more manageable concern.  

This is why we asked our travel community about what they’ve started doing differently when they travel. Even though travel restrictions may be falling away, travelers are still taking certain precautions to stay safe during their time away from home.  

The top responses from our community include:  

  • Wearing a mask 
  • Packing and using hand sanitizer 
  • Taking public transportation less often 
  • Avoiding crowded locations 
  • Traveling locally 

The aversion to public transportation and places could also indicate that the implication of “travel” has changed for some travelers, as some they may be more prone to drive and visit local attractions instead of making plans for long-range and long-term trips.  

In other words, the restrictions on travel may be dissipating in 2022, but travelers are still taking similar (or the same) precautions to stay safe.  

Who Takes Part in Revenge Travel? 


In terms of demographics, revenge travelers could be almost anyone with any level of income and any interest in travel.  

As reported by Axios, 85% of Americans are expecting to travel this summer, and the CEO of Expedia Group has predicted that Summer 2022 will be the “busiest travel season ever” in an interview with Bloomberg.  

We discovered that this trend persists across all kinds of social circles and family compositions as well. Our respondents said that they planned at least one trip this year with:  

  • A spouse or partner (82%) 
  • Children (64%) 
  • Friends (25%) 
  • Extended family (14%) 

Overall, this data paints a picture of 2022’s travelers as a vibrant and diverse audience who are eager to leave home. Couples’ getaways, family excursions, independent trips — every kind of travel group has eager travelers within it.  

Again, this is a promising indicator for the travel industry at large. With such a diverse audience of eager travelers, nearly every business in the travel industry has a chance to recoup the losses that they may have experienced during COVID restrictions.  

How Can You Cater to Revenge Travel? 


When it comes to attracting travelers, it’s important to remember that they have some different expectations around their trips after COVID.

Respondents indicate that they’ve started wearing masks, keeping hand sanitizer with them, asking about a facility’s cleaning procedures, and even choosing to eat in their accommodations instead of going out in public.  

While these ideas may not be the selling points that ultimately make someone choose you over a competitor, they could still help this year’s health-conscious customers feel comfortable:  

  • Introducing and publishing more thorough cleaning procedures 
  • Providing travel options, like bicycles, in addition to public transportation options in the area 
  • Offering amenities (WiFi, streaming services, etc.) to cater to those wishing to “stay in” more often and avoid public spaces at peak hours 

These ideas are aligned with those sentiments in one way or another. With 52% of our community saying that they’re planning two or more trips this year, additional amenities and options could help cater to both new and returning travelers.  

Want to Learn More? 

We work with the 360 Travel Community to help clients understand the sentiment of their consumers and provide data to help them achieve their goals.  

We’ve worked with organizations like the U.S. Travel Association in the past for those reasons (and more). The results were specific to their interests as a business, including deep data on their consumers. 

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