Six big travel trends for 2024

We’re only just half way through 2023, but travel is all about planning – and often booking – ahead. So let’s look at some of the big travel trends predicted for 2024.

If you’re a travel or holiday brand looking to increase your bookings, it is vital to be aware of upcoming and current trends. This enables you to plan campaigns with highly targeted and relevant ads that will appeal to people actively searching for breaks.

We know that the conversion rate for relevant ads is higher. Conversely, cold ads blasted out at random have a much lower engagement rate. So knowing what people are searching for (and choosing to book) is important.

Equally important is working with a programmatic advertising partner, like Crimtan, with the technology and access to legal, consented data to run highly targeted ads to a curated audience.

With that in mind, let’s look at the six big travel trends you need to be aware of for 2024.

1) An increase in automated bookings

Perhaps unsurprisingly, given our increasing reliance on tech, one of the biggest trends predicted in travel for 2024 is automated bookings.

Automated (online and app) bookings in travel aren’t new, but they are expected to see dramatic growth over the next couple of years. To give you an idea, in 2020 the online travel booking market was worth $432 billion. By 2025, this is estimated to rise to $833 billion. Advertising in the places your customers are searching for their holidays is vital; from people just starting their research to those ready to make a booking, using programmatic enables you to tailor your messaging to where your customers are in the funnel and push them towards that ‘book’ button.

2) Faster mobile bookings

On top of the rise in automated bookings comes the greater use of mobiles. It’s estimated that as many as 70% of us use our smartphones to book our holidays. And we’re acting quickly; 72% of mobile bookings happen within two days of a Google search.

So what does this mean for advertisers? Firstly it’s important that not only are you reaching potential customers through their mobiles, but your ads effectively engage their attention.

And secondly, you only have a short window from searching to booking. So you need to be able to effectively retarget customers with display ads that are appropriate, based on their prior activity and engagement. If not, you risk losing sales to a competitor who can.

3) More personalisation

According to research by McKinsey, 71% of consumers expect companies to deliver personalised interactions. And 76% get frustrated when this doesn’t happen.

So if you want to interest and convert customers, you need to ensure their interactions with your brand are personalised and tailored, as much as possible, to their interests, behaviours and experience. From sports events for football fans, ski breaks for winter sport lovers, and treks and safaris for adventure seekers.

It’s also essential that your ads acknowledge your customers’ prior interactions with you. So if they have viewed a holiday, they are served ads with dates and prices for that location. Or if they have already booked, they are shown ads for hire cars or insurance for that destination. And don’t risk alienating your customers with an ad for a holiday they have already booked…

The more you can personalise your ads, based on legal and consented data, the higher your conversion rate will be and the more long term goodwill your brand will generate.

4) Bigger bleisure trips

As its name may suggest, bleisure travel is the blurring of lines between travelling for business and leisure. Basically it involves extending or combining a work trip with leisure travel for just yourself, or with friends and family. So you may book a few days’ city break before or after a conference, or bag a week at the beach after a big meeting in another country.

Bleisure travel started to grow in popularity in 2023 as lockdowns eased, and has become so popular it’s predicted to take over business travel, with over 89% of people planning to add personal vacation time to their business trips.

As an advertiser this is a significant opportunity to capture people already researching and planning work breaks, and promoting leisure activities and destinations within easy travelling distance to tempt them to extend their breaks and bring the family.

5) A surge in sustainable tourism

With travel coming under the microscope regarding environmental damage, it’s not surprising that more and more people are looking for more sustainable alternatives. According to a report from the World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC) and the Group, 69% of travellers are actively seeking sustainable travel options in 2023 – and there’s no sign of that trend slowing down.

So when planning your ad campaigns, it is worth highlighting destinations and measures taken that promote sustainability and ecotourism. And, if customers are factoring in ethics and environmental considerations when booking trips, you need to make sure your offerings deliver what they’re looking for.

6) More transformational trips

One trend we reported for 2023 that is still popular is wellness getaways, or transformational trips. Many travellers today don’t want to come back from their holiday less fit and healthy than when they left – they want to return a better version of themselves.

As a result, there’s a growing trend for seeking out holidays and trips that combine experiences that boost our health and wellbeing, and even our knowledge. Think yoga or meditation retreats, cultural trips, outward bound explorations and cooking holidays.

Again, this is where access to the right data becomes invaluable. Because when planning your ad campaigns you want to ensure you’re serving ads for the appropriate type of break to the right person. A fitness lover hoping for an adventure break, for example, is not going to be excited by ads for an all-inclusive beach resort. Equally, a sun worshipper who loves a free cocktail bar won’t be interested in an alcohol-free, silent yoga retreat!

Make sure your ads promote the perfect destination

If we get nothing else from these trends, it is that people travel for a variety of reasons and with vastly differing expectations of what makes a ‘perfect’ getaway. As a result, the days of generic, static ads promoting a one-size-fits-all holiday are over.

In today’s more sophisticated travel market, you are expected to be able to appeal to many different types of traveller at once. And that means access to the right data, plus the ability to instantly build ad creative that speaks to exactly where someone is in your customer journey – and the type of break they want to book.

If you’d like help to plan personalised travel ad campaigns, whatever trend you want to appeal to, please get in touch and one of our experts will be happy to help.