Travel platform Booking has revealed 7 types of travellers that will overtake the tourism industry in 2024, according to changing habits and the new post-Covid environment.
To explore how travel will transport people out of autopilot and into unleashing their best life, Booking.com commissioned research among more than 27,000 travellers across 33 countries and territories, combining it with its insights as a leading digital travel platform to reveal the predictions for 2024.
Where in years past travel has been a means to escape life, Booking.com is releasing research that shows that “travel is life” in 2024 with more than three quarters (78%) of respondents revealing that they feel more alive than ever when they are on vacation, and 68% wanting to be more like their vacation self in their day-to-day life back home. That’s because 68% also think they are the best version of themselves while on vacation.
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.Arjan Dijk, Senior Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer at Booking.com
1. (Alter) Ego enthusiasts
“In 2024, travellers will feel more alive by creating their very own epic alter egos on vacation”, Booking says, with more than a third (37%) of respondents admitting to making up stories about their real life to people they meet on their travels. These alter ego enthusiasts love the thrill of embodying a 2.0 version of themselves and go to great lengths to reimagine their best self, with more than three in five (62%) enjoying the anonymity of travel and the chance to recreate themselves.
Fuelling the idea that people take on different personas when travelling to feel more alive, over two thirds (68%) feel they are the best version of themselves on vacation, able to shed inhibitions and embrace new aspects of their personalities, while 42% would even pay to rent a nicer car than they drive at home to live their finest lives with confidence.
Record-breaking heatwaves are accelerating a rise in travellers chasing cooler climes to revive and refresh themselves. The majority (51%) of travellers report that climate change will impact the way they plan their vacation in 2024, while over half (56%) say that as temperatures soar close to home, they will use their vacation to cool down elsewhere.
In the search for a cooler holiday, travellers are increasingly looking to have water nearby, three quarters (75%) agreeing that being close to water instantly makes them feel more relaxed and over a third (36%) interested in water-centric vacations in 2024. As people dive headfirst into aquatic escapes, Booking predicts mindful water immersion will quickly become the next mainstream version of meditation, from floating yoga, water sound baths and snow meditation surge to a boom in ice therapy retreats, underwater hotels and mermania.
3. Surrender seekers
Travellers increasingly want to surrender themselves to the element of surprise, explore the unknown and venture into uncharted territory on vacation, with over half (52 %) keen to book a surprise trip where everything down to the destination is unknown until arrival. Averse to the ‘sameness’ of everyday life and actively avoiding popular experiences, the intuitively adventurous traveller of 2024 wants to step outside of the homogenized vacation, with 56% preferring to venture off the beaten path and a third (34%) seeking to travel with strangers.
The majority (55%) would like to have no plans set in stone prior to travelling in 2024 so they can go where the wind takes them, while over two thirds (69%) prefer to travel with loose plans so they can change direction based on what feels good in the moment. Moreover, 48% of respondents would trust AI to plan a trip for them, with a third of baby boomers (30%) and one in five (20%) of the silent generation finally surrendering to AI in order to assist their travels plans in the year ahead.
4. Culinary excavators
The food archaeologists of 2024 will dig deep into the roots of food on vacation to unearth new culinary treasures, nearly two thirds (61%) of travellers being more interested in learning about the origins of a destination’s ‘must-eat’ delicacies than they were in the past. Four in five (81%) want to try indigenous cuisines in 2024, while heritage flavours are in the spotlight. Moreover, nearly half (46%) of respondents are looking for multisensory extravaganzas, wanting an immersive ‘phygital’ food experience enhanced by VR or AR.
Expect an increase in indigenous experiences that take travellers on trails that tell the story behind the food they serve, bringing pride and income to communities around the globe.Booking.com
5. Reboot retreaters
“When things are falling apart back home amid global instability and an ever-hectic world, dishevelled travellers are booking one-track trips rooted in self-improvement to bring themselves back to the life they truly want again”, Booking says.
The new era of sleep tourism will welcome sleep concierges and cutting-edge tech to serve the 58% who want to travel in 2024 to solely focus on uninterrupted shuteye, the travel platform predicts. Moreover, taking the impetus to reinvent their ‘real’ life even further, half of all travellers (51%) revealed that the stripped-back lifestyle of agrarian and indigenous communities, where self-sufficiency is a way of life, would appeal to them in 2024.
6. À la carte affluencers
Fuelled by the cost-of-living crisis alongside the mainstream stealth wealth trends of 2023, travellers in 2024 will employ money saving hacks to cut costs, yet level up vacations with ‘à la carte’ luxuries, scoring a rush from travelling like the rich – even if just for a moment in time. These à la carte ‘affluencers’ want to appear wealthy, sweeping away the reality of having to make financial sacrifices, but behind the scenes are obsessed with see-through spending and curating budget-friendly travel itineraries, sometimes with the help of AI. More than half (56%) of travellers will want insights and tips from AI when on vacation to upgrade experiences with suggested ancillaries and deals.
Additionally, half (50%) of travellers plan to pick destinations in 2024 where the cost of living is less expensive than their hometown, while travelling closer to home is also a draw for some who will be searching for luxe-for-less copycat vacations to reduce costs in 2024 (43%). Many (51%) travellers will be willing to pay for day passes to use the amenities in a five-star hotel rather than actually staying there, with a similar number of parents (47%) planning to take their children out of school to travel outside of peak season to make their money stretch further in 2024.
7. Mindful aesthetes
The intersection of style and sustainability is bound to influence travel in 2024. Discerning travellers will hunt down jaw-dropping architecture that has environmental features at its heart, with over half (53%) looking for accommodation that has wow-factor sustainability innovation. Three in five (60%) want to see sustainability in action, while nearly two thirds (65%) want to see the outside brought indoors with green spaces and plants in accommodations on vacation.
Many travellers (60%) are also interested in sustainable travel apps where they can unlock rewards, such as experiences with locals in off-the-beaten-path areas (47%) or visiting remote locations that tourists otherwise have limited access to (44%).