Six travel trends that are driving agent bookings
From larger budgets for exclusive luxury experiences to expedition cruises, travel agents reveal the latest booking trends


Travel advisor Lesley Scharf says this year is the busiest she’s ever been in all of her 28 years in the travel industry.

“I have never in my career been this busy, and I like to think it was pretty busy before,” exclaims Scharf, who is with CAA North & East Ontario. “So many people have learned from the pandemic that life is short and you must live for today and experience as much as you can. People are booking their bucket lists and travelling with close and extended family.”

From larger budgets for exclusive luxury experiences to increased demand for expedition cruises, Travel Courier caught up with travel advisors to get insights into travel trends and what’s driving bookings.

Kathy Hannah, a home based consultant with Roblin Travel and Cruise in Chilliwack, B.C. says clients are no longer simply going on vacations once a year. 

“I find more people are doing multiple trips each year,” she says. “I try to encourage people to step outside their comfort zone and try something different, like a tour instead of another week on a beach. More people are thinking about this and with some excitement in travel story telling (by me), they are booking more exotic bucket list trips.”

Notably, Diane Manson, Mountain City Travel, Uniglobe Enterprise, Kimberley, B.C. says this trend doesn’t only apply to families. “Solo travellers are travelling multiple times in a year,” she shares. “Private guided, custom travel and small group travel continue to be the sought after way to travel.”

For Brenda Dillon, senior travel advisor, Marlin Travel, Saskatoon, SK, river cruising is in particularly high demand. “It seems to be on everyone’s wish list,” she says.

Interestingly, Dillon has noticed a shift in what her clients are looking for from their holidays.

“People are wanting a more off-the-beaten path vacation that really dives into the culture, food and customs of the country they are visiting,” she reveals. “Their travel budgets have increased a lot and they are looking for a more in-depth experience in their trip. People want to pre-book local experiences such as cooking classes and either small group or private day trips with experienced local guides.”

For Vancouver-based travel advisor Kemi Wells-Conrad of Wells Luxury Travel, group travel bookings continue to thrive. 

“I am seeing more and more group trips for celebration birthdays where a number of couples want to travel together or two families,” she says.” I also notice more clients splurging on more luxurious suites – your hotel room is not just a place to sleep!”

Similarly, Cindy Gaudet, the COO of Fareconnect in Winnipeg, Man., shares that “clients are wanting to travel in groups and destinations that they never thought they would vision for a vacation.”

Notably, Nancy McInnis, a travel consultant with Mayne Travel Services in North Bay, Ont. reports that she’s booking far more intergenerational travel than in previous years. “Families spanning different generations are travelling more together; and I’ve also been preparing more custom itineraries where travellers want more  authentic experiences.”

Ever since the pandemic, clients are willing to spend more on their getaways. 

“According to my bookings, I’ve noticed that more clients are booking fancy hotels,” says Onvigo’s Roy Dong. “They’re seeking out comfortable beds, luxurious amenities, and top-notch service, even if it means a higher price tag.”

On a similar note, Ola Ulewicz, the owner of Jet Lag Voyages in Barrie, Ont. believes the post-covid surge in bookings is just at its infancy.

“Travellers are booking multiple trips, big trips, reunion trips… And everyone is upgrading anything and everything,” she tells Travel Courier. “It feels like everyone is making up for lost time by doing everything bigger and better than they probably would have before and it’s fantastic to see travellers giving themselves those experiences without the need to justify it.”

Although clients have expanded their budgets, Amy Davoli, the owner of Travitude Travel Group, points out that as the demand for travel has increased so has the pricing. However, she says her clients are still starting to book and take more bucket list trips.  

For Kyla Coe with The Travel Agent Next Door in Camrose County, Alta. custom travel arrangements are becoming increasingly popular. 

“People are spending more – we live in a ‘me’ world where people feel they deserve the best,” she says. “That is definitely a trend.”

Another positive travel trend is that many Canadians are opting to maximize their holidays. Laurel Lepin, the owner of SeetheWorld365 Travel in Alberta, says her clients are coming to her for longer vacation itineraries. 

“The usual seven nights is just not long enough to fully experience their need for a time to rejuvenate,” she shares. “Another trend is the requests to book those bucket list destinations they’ve kept on their ‘someday’ shelf.”

Alyssa McGee, manager, corporate and leisure travel consultant, FERNWEH TRAVEL, an affiliate of TTI Travel, Vancouver, B.C. is also witnessing the same thing amongst her clients. 

“Clients are booking their trips earlier, they’re willing to spend a bit more money, and they’re extending their time away,” she tells Travel Courier. “It’s like they’re on a mission to make every getaway extra special, whether it’s by splurging on flights or treating themselves to top-notch accommodation. It’s all about crafting those unforgettable experiences.”

According to Davoli, who is a travel and cruise consultant, cruise bookings are coming in hot. “Cruises, especially new-to-cruise clients, are definitely sky rocketing,” she says. 

When it comes to the style of cruising, Manson adds “the smaller-the-ship-the-better” and expedition cruises are leading the way.

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