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Wednesday,  April 17, 2024 5:42 PM 

Unpack '24: trends in travel from Expedia, Hotels.com, and Vrbo

  • Buzz
  •   11-09-2023  1:25 pm
  •   Pax Global Media

Unpack '24: trends in travel from Expedia, Hotels.com, and Vrbo
Swimming pools are travellers’ most-wanted (Expedia Group)
Pax Global Media

Earlier this week (Nov. 8), Expedia Group unveiled Unpack '24, a comprehensive look at what's motivating travellers and where they're going next year. 

Based on the company's first-party travel data, plus a global consumer survey of 20,000 travellers, Unpack '24 includes eight new travel trends for 2024, from top destinations to what's next in travel tech.

Jon Gieselman, president of Expedia Brands says Expedia Group has extensive first-party travel data that it uses to enhance and curate experiences for travellers across Expedia®, Hotels.com®, and Vrbo®

"These insights shape our travel forecasts, revealed in Unpack '24, enabling our travellers to be the first to discover and book the most desired trips before they become well-beaten paths," said Gieselman. "From 'dry tripping' to events like Taylor Swift or Beyoncé performances, and the rising allure of destinations like Perth, Palermo, and Paros, these trends begin to define the travel landscape in 2024."

The 2024 set-jetting forecast

For 2023, Expedia predicted travellers would turn to television sets and movie screens for travel inspiration. They did, and the trend shows no signs of stopping in 2024. 

More than half of travellers say they've researched or booked a trip to a destination after seeing it on a TV show or movie, and 1 in 4 admit that TV shows and films are even more influential on their travel plans than they were before. 

In fact, travellers say TV shows influence their travel decisions more than Instagram, TikTok and podcasts.

Given the popularity of this travel trend, Expedia, Hotels.com and Vrbo compiled its first-ever Set-jetting Forecast predicting what entertainment-inspired destinations travellers will head to in 2024, based on upcoming show and film releases and travel data from Expedia Group.*

  • Thailand inspired by "The White Lotus" season 3.
  • Romania inspired by "Wednesday" season 2.
  • Malta inspired by the new "Gladiator 2" film.
  • Paris inspired by "Emily in Paris" season 4.
  • Scottish Highlands inspired by the remaining seasons of "Outlander."
  • London, Bath and Windsor, UK inspired by the new season of "Bridgerton" and "The Crown" season 6.
  • Korea inspired by "Squid Game" season 2.
  • Florida Keys & Bahamas inspired by the new Apple TV show "Bad Monkey."
  • Australia inspired by both Baz Luhrmann's "Faraway Downs" and the Mad Max prequel "Furiosa."
  • Greece inspired by new spy action thriller "Argylle."

Expedia ‒ Destination Dupes 

The "dupe" trend — affordable alternatives to popular products — that has flooded TikTok feeds is now taking over travel, said Expedia.

 Expedia's 2024 destinations of the year are destination dupes — places that are a little unexpected, sometimes more affordable, and every bit as delightful as the tried-and-true destinations travellers love.

The 2024 destination dupes all experienced a notable uptick in searches over the past year. In fact, global searches for the top 5 destinations on the list more than doubled YoY.

  • Taipei (dupe for Seoul)
  • Pattaya (dupe for Bangkok)
  • Paros (dupe for Santorini)
  • Curaçao (dupe for St. Martin)
  • Perth (dupe for Sydney)
  • Liverpool (dupe for London)
  • Palermo (dupe for Lisbon)
  • Québec City (dupe for Geneva)
  • Sapporo (dupe for Zermatt)
  • Memphis (dupe for Nashville)

Expedia ‒ Tour Tourism

According to Expedia, in 2023, the cultural impact of the eras and renaissance tours was undeniable, driving ticket sales but also travel and tourism. 

Expedia predicts that Tour Tourism will continue to thrive in 2024. 

Nearly 70 per cent of survey respondents say they are more likely to travel to a concert outside their own town, with over 40 per cent saying they'd travel for a concert as an excuse to visit a new place. 

In a new twist to Tour Tourism perhaps driven by ticket prices, 30 per cent of travellers say they would travel outside of their home city for a concert because tickets were cheaper elsewhere. 

Unexpected places on Expedia's list of top tour tourism destinations are Kuala Lumpur, Edmonton, and Mexico City.

Hotels.com ‒ Dry Tripping

From observing dry January to sober October, Expedia reported that it's clear that living a low- or alcohol-free lifestyle is becoming more common. 

In addition to beverage brands and celebrities releasing nonalcoholic products, the travel industry is also catering to sober-curious travellers by stocking minibars with zero-proof options, or offering mocktail-making experiences.

More than 40 per cent of travellers say they are likely to book a detox trip in the next year, and half of travellers say they would be interested in staying at hotels that offer easily accessible alcohol-free beverage options. 

One in 4 say the top reason for drinking less on vacation is to stay in control and feel better emotionally and physically, and surprisingly, attending sporting events was the top reason travellers said they'd be likely to reduce alcohol consumption while travelling.

Hotels.com ‒ Vibe Check-in

Beyond searching for specific amenities or star ratings, a hotel's overall "vibe" is becoming a strong indicator of travellers' hotel choices, reported Expedia.

Guest reviews mentioning the word "vibe" have increased an average of 1,090 per cent YoY, and 9 out of 10 travellers say the vibe of a hotel is important when booking.

Travellers are seeking a variety of vibes when searching for hotels from "Modern Vibe" and "Industrial Vibe" to "Retro Vibe" or "Margaritaville Vibe.

What contributes to a hotel's overall vibe? Travellers say the top element is customer service, which surpassed the music, interior or lighting of the hotel.

Vrbo ‒ Go-ccasions

Puppymoons, First-date-iversaries, and Plate Dates are in the cards for travellers in 2024, according to Expedia.

One in 4 say they are looking for 'any excuse' to get away with their loved ones. 

With one-third of travellers planning to take more trips with family and friends next year than in 2023, they're going all in on identifying occasions to book a getaway to a private vacation home to celebrate together.

In addition to annual anniversaries and milestone birthdays, interestingly, work-related occasions are one of the most popular trip catalysts — many travellers would book a weekender to celebrate retirement, getting a new job, a promotion, or quitting a job.

Vrbo: Outside In

Expedia shared that with pickleball becoming one of the fastest-growing sports, it's no surprise that outdoor amenities, like pickleball courts and cold plunges, are dictating what private vacation homes families and friends are booking for group getaways. 

Survey data shows that 42 per cent of travellers book vacation homes with amenities they either cannot afford to have at home, or that they want to try out before they buy themselves. 

Furthermore, nearly 30 per cent say they would choose a vacation home with outdoor amenities, so they'd never have to leave the property.

The trending types of outdoor amenities travellers want:

  • Relaxation and rejuvenation: properties with a hot tub, cold plunge or barrel sauna.
  • Roaring fires: vacation homes with a fire pit, barbecue or outdoor kitchen.
  • Sports and recreation: properties that have amenities like ping-pong tables, padel tennis courts, pickleball courts and lawn games.
  • Fresh produce: vacation homes with access to fruit trees or a vegetable patch.

Gen Gen AI

While generative AI tools like ChatGPT took centre stage in 2023, only 6 per cent of US travellers used it to plan their trip. 

In 2024, Expedia Group predicts the "generation of generative AI" travellers will come of age and fully embrace this tech throughout their travel journey. 

In fact, survey data reveals that half of travellers are interested in using generative AI to plan their next trip, and 1 in 3 say it's very useful when making travel plans.

What's driving this trend? Generative AI's ability to simplify planning and shopping through a conversation. 

Nearly 40 per cent of travellers say they would use this tech to find the perfect stay, 35 per cent would plan activities and things to do, 33 per cent would compare flight options, and 20 per cent of travellers would change or cancel their travel plans.

To further explore Unpack '24, visit here and download the full report.


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