Peter Vazan, EVP of industry relations of Trevolution Group shares the trends for this year from personalised travel solutions to AI-powered innovations
Guest Post: What 2024 looks like for the global travel industry
With a busy and rather hectic year behind us, 2024 is set to be a pivotal one for the travel industry, as it now enters a new post-pandemic phase. As the revenge travel rush is now over, travellers can anticipate more competitive pricing and increased options. Along with that, new trends and technologies have emerged globally that have interesting implications for consumers, businesses, and the whole industry, directly shifting people’s decisions, behaviour and approach to travel in general. This shift in mindset is thus driving some exciting patterns that are directly reshaping the travel landscape today.
One of the main travel trends that is expected to steal the spotlight in 2024 is personalisation, with more vacationers requesting tailor-made and authentic travel solutions. Today's holidaymakers want the chance to create interest-specific, individually tailored trips that allow one to fully immerse in the destination’s culture, people, and traditions instead of the regular holiday packages so readily available. Now it's rather about hidden-gem spots and custom-themed activities such as wellness retreats, culinary, art, history or hiking tours, authentic local experiences, cultural trips and long-haul adventures or specific destinations (often inspired by social media or streaming services) that take the vacation to the next level. As a result, customer engagement will be mainly driven by personalization, and travel companies will need to adapt to this demand quicker than ever before.
That said, the human workforce will go hand in hand with further integration of AI tools that are predicted to have an even more distinct influence across the travel sector throughout 2024 and beyond. From receiving one-of-a-kind destination recommendations and the most efficient flight bookings to taking advantage of personalized itinerary planning services in a matter of seconds. Not to mention the business development aspect with AI-generated data analysis to draw conclusions and make predictions about consumer travel habits, business practices, smart pricing strategies, as well as new partnership opportunities. However, it is worth noting that fully automated, AI-powered services tend to create confusion, which is why AI works best when coupled with real-life human support, available upon request.
2024 will also be the year of 'value per money'. Along with the increasing cost of living, people will be looking to cut travel costs and get more for the same price. Cheaper destination alternatives or so-called travel dupes are already gaining popularity along with affordable luxury where style meets budget-friendly travel solutions. Traveling off-season, planning well in advance, taking advantage of reward programs and looking for all-inclusive deals are just some of the ways travellers choose to enjoy a fancy vacation for less without sacrificing their comfort.
As people across the globe also look to prioritize their wellbeing and take more control of their schedule, I expect the emerging ‘bleisure’ travel trend getting even more attention in the year ahead, where travellers combine business matters and leisure. It can involve planning a work trip with some free time activities before or after working hours. Or it can also mean a few days on the beach after a conference or enjoying a city break on the weekend before a big meeting that doesn't require taking extra days off.
And finally, in 2024, we will also see more people becoming conscious about their carbon footprint as sustainability gains momentum while continuously forming the future of the global tourism industry. It has been a hot topic for the past few years, but now actions are finally starting to speak louder than words. Today's vacationers want to explore the world in a more responsible manner to reduce environmental impact and help local communities and organizations as part of the whole vacation experience. This ranges from purchasing sustainable aviation fuel to doing volunteer work and supporting the local economy while exploring a new holiday destination. But then again, this trend is also majorly influenced by the global economic situation. Those with limited funds will still not prioritize the carbon footprint and will end up selecting the cheapest travel option instead. Nonetheless, at this point, sustainability has become more of a lifestyle than a travel trend, and it's certainly not going anywhere. Whether we choose to adapt to its evolution or not.