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Top 5 travel trends influencing bookings in 2024

Find out what trends are already impacting next season's bookings.

Top 5 travel trends 2024 | Smartpricing

What are the most relevant travel trends? The ones that are truly redefining the way people travel right now?

Knowing the answer to this question is crucial to staying one step ahead of your competitors and not missing any revenue opportunities.

That's why, among dozens of reports and forecasts, we’ve selected for you the 5 most influential travel trends of 2024, the ones that are already guiding your potential customers' choices and bookings in the coming season. Let's discover them together!

1. Sustainability and seasonal adjustment

The relationship between environmental sustainability and tourism is an increasingly central issue, not only for operators who are called upon to limit the environmental impact of their businesses but also for travelers, who are also starting to orient their choices according to this factor.

In January 2024, the Accor hotel group commissioned a survey in seven European countries precisely to measure how much sensitivity to more responsible use of natural resources is influencing travelers. The result leaves no doubt: for 7 out of 10 Europeans, having sustainable options is important when planning a trip. 

As we covered in our article on the relationship between sustainability and revenue management in hotels, this isn’t only valid in theory: 43% of respondents would be willing to spend more to stay in a certified sustainable establishment.

But concern about climate change does not only mean looking for sustainability-conscious hotels: travelers are also changing in booking behaviors, stating that they want to avoid travel during the 2024 peak season.

The reasons? To save money (32 %) and to avoid the scorching temperatures (19%) that increasingly characterize destinations such as Italy, Spain, Portugal and Greece.

2. Overtourism and destination duping

By 2023, people were back to traveling, and air passenger traffic had returned to 95% of pre-pandemic levels. 

Since then, just like climate change, the word "overtourism" has entered the vocabulary of travelers around the world, who are increasingly aware of the negative impact this phenomenon has on destinations and their inhabitants.

What’s more, while many of the destinations at risk of overcrowding have introduced (or increased) the tourist tax, travel continues to become more and more expensive.

According to Eurostat data, between January and March 2024, airfares increased by over 30% compared to the same quarter in 2023 (and by 10-20% compared to 2019). 

In response to these critical issues, Expedia has reported the emergence of destination duping (referring to “dupe”, which means to duplicate, to copy) or the trend by which travelers have begun to avoid traditional mass tourism destinations, preferring destinations that are similar in some ways but feature fewer tourist influxes and more affordable prices.

A Skyscanner survey revealed that 93% of travelers would consider such a destination for their next trips. An example? Liverpool instead of London, Taipei instead of Seoul, Palermo instead of Lisbon, or Treviso instead of Venice.

3. Hyper-personalization and artificial intelligence

For modern travelers, tailored experiences are no longer a luxury, but a necessity.

In fact, according to a McKinsey research, 71% of consumers presume they will receive personalized interaction from companies (and 76% are frustrated when they don’t).

We’ve already touched on this in our article on how to implement a personalization strategy in hospitality establishments: from booking to post-stay interactions, customers expect every aspect of their trip to match their preferences.

In 2024, the ability to personalize could take a significant leap forward to hyper-personalization, thanks to the unstoppable technological progress impacting the hospitality industry.

Artificial intelligence (AI) and its innumerable applications enable us to go beyond simply addressing customers by name or remembering their preferences: thanks to the analysis of data collected at every stage of the stay, accommodations now have the ability to gain an in-depth understanding of people's behaviors and expectations, to respond ever more effectively.

Travelers aren't the only ones to benefit. According to a survey conducted by Statista, revenues influenced by artificial intelligence in the travel industry rose from 9% in 2018 to 21% in 2021

By 2024, this figure is expected to reach 32%. In other words, within the year, almost a third of annual revenues could come from artificial intelligence.

The activities indicated as most profitable in this respect are:

  • Sales of products and services realized through AI-based data analysis;
  • Sales of products and services achieved through AI-based tools (chatbots, digital concierges, etc.);
  • Machine learning algorithms for dynamic pricing.

4. The new faces of business travel

After a decline due to the pandemic, the business travel sector has made a comeback, but with different characteristics due to the new organization of work.

While 90% of companies are planning a return to the office by 2024, in reality, many will continue to operate with "hybrid work" solutions.

This will lead to two key outcomes as highlighted in the "2024 State of Business Travel" survey conducted by Skift and Navan: 

  • 60% of business travel managers said their employees will take more business trips to compensate for the lack of personal interaction;
  • 68% of business travelers said they plan to add personal travel days to a business trip.

5. Experiences

The latest survey conducted by the Get Your Guide portal confirms what is now a certainty rather than a trend: for travelers, experiences are essential. So much so, that across all markets surveyed, people said they would rather cut back on flights and accommodation than spend on things to do.

What's more, the value placed on experiences is influencing the booking process: whereas in the past, experiences were only considered after the choice of destination and accommodation, today 98% of travelers say that experiences are extremely important, right from the moment they choose a destination

To find inspiration and choose the perfect vacation, more than 80% of travelers start their research three months in advance, scouring social media, specialized articles, and online videos.

Knowing the current trends in the tourism industry is essential, but to make a difference, you need to know how to ride the wave to attract more potential customers.

That's why we've put together a guide with tips on how to increase your revenues by capitalizing on the most relevant trends of the moment.

Download it now!