Analyst Take: Digital travel spending bounces back, but new headwinds loom

Contributor: Vivian Dong

Digital travel spending in the US has recovered more quickly than expected and will exceed pre-pandemic levels this year. We forecast total sales for travel booked online will reach $224.99 billion in 2022—up 18.3% from last year and $16.55 billion more than in 2019, which was the previous peak before the coronavirus devastated the industry.

Our previous forecast (conducted in early 2021) did not call for digital travel spending to exceed pre-pandemic levels until 2024. However, US travelers returned to airplanes, hotels, rental cars, trains, Airbnbs, cruises, and long-distance buses with greater gusto than expected last year. We now anticipate at least a couple more years of healthy growth before the rebound tails off.