As we bid farewell to 2023, it’s the perfect time for you to start thinking and planning for the year ahead. In our most comprehensive travel predictions research to date, a total of 27,730 travellers across 33 countries and territories responded to our survey. One key takeaway? Travel will be the primal pulse of life in the year ahead.
We can now unveil seven exciting insights about what travellers are looking for in the coming year, which will help you to build your strategy to delight guests and increase your bookings in 2024.
1. (Alter) Ego Enthusiasts
In 2024, travellers are increasingly embracing the art of shaping alter egos during their holidays, with 37% of them weaving intricate narratives about their real lives when interacting with fellow travellers. They’re excited to reinvent themselves, with 42% even prepared to pay to rent a nicer car than the one they usually drive. By partnering with car rental firms, you can offer these guests a quick and easy way to upgrade their wheels while away.
They might also want to use their travels as an extension of aliases and avatars they already use online. You can help them bring their digital fantasies into the real world by implementing augmented reality (AR) experiences in your property. Whether it’s transforming the menus in your on-site restaurant into an interactive experience, or offering a virtual treasure hunt or escape room activity using your property’s design elements, embracing this technology can really add an extra level of appeal.
As global temperatures continue to rise, travellers are seeking cooler destinations to escape the heat. To benefit from this trend, you can position your property as an ideal choice for travellers seeking relief from high temperatures. For example, update your listing with seasonal photography. If your property is in a winter holiday location, make sure you highlight this with tempting snow-filled vistas.
Three quarters of travellers say being close to water instantly makes them feel more relaxed. Consider offering unique ways to escape the heat, such as partnering with local companies offering waterskiing, paddleboarding or windsurfing, or update your listing with information about local spa experiences. You can also attract guests searching for a refreshing escape by highlighting your property's climate advantages – emphasise top facilities such as air conditioning, proximity to water, a swimming pool or outdoor areas.
3. Surrender Seekers
Travellers in 2024 are increasingly inclined to embrace spontaneity and adventure. We have a range of AI-powered tools, including our AI Trip Planner (available in the US) – by integrating some of these tools into your listing you can help travellers to organise more flexible trips and incorporate the unexpected.
Over half of travellers are keen to book a surprise trip where everything down to the destination is unknown until arrival, so promote your property as a haven for spontaneous travellers. Offer last-minute deals and flexible cancellation policies to accommodate travellers’ changing plans.
Showcase the uniqueness of your location by updating your profile description in the extranet and adding new photos that show people having a great time in the property, as well as surroundings to encourage future guests to explore the unknown. By embracing this trend, you can create an environment that caters to the adventurous spirit of modern travellers.
4. Culinary Excavators
Food plays a central role in the travel experience, and we recognise the growing interest in culinary exploration. According to our survey, almost two-thirds of respondents are more interested in discovering more about a destination’s ‘must-eat’ dishes than ever before. So, why not elevate the culinary experiences at your property to attract food enthusiasts?
If your property has an on-site restaurant, make sure to feature this in your profile, with tantalising photos of delicious delicacies. You also might want to level up your breakfast offering to cater to these inquisitive appetites. If your property has built its reputation around top quality cuisine, put that front and centre of your listing – many food-first destinations are having great success with this strategy.
Four in five travellers want to try indigenous cuisines and local food so they can tell a tale of taste from across the globe, so make sure to highlight hidden treasures and cultural secrets. Consider collaborating with local restaurants to offer authentic dining experiences or hosting culinary events or workshops on-site. By embracing culinary exploration, you can entice food-loving travellers to choose your property.
5. Reboot Retreaters
In times of global instability, travellers are seeking retreats focused on self-improvement. Accommodation providers are waking up to the new dawn of sleep tourism, to support the 58% of travellers who are looking for some uninterrupted snoozing in 2024. We understand it – the need for rejuvenation.
Consider enhancing your offerings with wellness packages that incorporate sleep-focused amenities and create dedicated spaces within your property for relaxation. You should highlight facilities such as a sauna or spa, or other activities designed to promote wellness, such as hydrotherapy pools, yoga, dance or exercise classes. This will help you position your property as a flexible sanctuary for self-discovery and relaxation.
6. À La Carte Affluencers
Travellers in 2024 are looking to optimise their vacations by seeking value and luxury simultaneously. They want to level up their holiday experience, but are keen to cut costs. Elevate guests' experiences by embracing budget-friendly luxury and proximity to affordable attractions – you can promote your property as a place where guests can enjoy luxurious add-ons without breaking the bank.
According to our research, over 50% will choose to travel closer to home, or somewhere less expensive than their hometown. You could add country rates to your listing if you expect to have increased bookings from guests from specific regions. Additionally, 47% of parents plan to take their children out of school outside of peak season to save money on holidays – you might want to offer competitive Child Rates at your property and offer promotions to boost your bookings during slower periods.
7. Mindful Aesthetes
Sustainability and style converge in 2024, with travellers seeking more sustainable accommodations. Our research shows that 73% of guests are more likely to book at a property that has sustainability practices in place, and partners who are already focusing on sustainability are creating even better guest experiences. Why not follow their lead?
Incorporate more sustainable practices, such as energy-efficient lighting and water-saving measures. If your property aligns with sustainable practices it can earn our Travel Sustainable badge, meaning you can showcase your sustainability initiatives in your listing. Create green spaces and incorporate plants. By embracing sustainable practices, you can attract mindful aesthetes who value responsible travel.
Arjan Dijk, Senior Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer at Booking.com comments: "Our 2024 travel predictions reflect the idea that travel is not a means to escape life, but instead a catalyst to live our best lives.”
As we move forward into 2024, let's embark on this transformative journey together. We’re committed to empowering extraordinary experiences for travellers, and you can play a pivotal role in making these predictions a reality. By aligning your offerings with these trends, you will ensure that every guest's journey is filled with unforgettable moments, making their travel experiences truly exceptional.
Together, we'll shape the future of travel and create a world where every adventure is a celebration of life itself.
- As guests seek refuge from rising temperatures and look for ways to cool down, update your property description and photography to emphasise pools, outdoor showers and air conditioning.
- Sustainability practices and eco-conscious initiatives are becoming increasingly important, with guests showing a preference for properties that implement such measures.
- Culinary explorers are travelling with an increased appetite for unforgettable food experiences. Level up your cuisine offerings, whether it’s in your on-site restaurant, or in partnership with local food producers and eateries.