The Future of Travel: Embracing Sustainable Luxury and Experiential Adventures in 2024

Wellness travel trends 2024

In 2024, the landscape of travel is undergoing a transformative shift, marked by emerging trends that redefine the way we explore the world. These trends are not mere fleeting moments but rather enduring shifts that shape the future of the travel industry, offering travelers new perspectives and experiences that are here to stay. Let’s explore these new ways of travel that promise to revolutionize the way we journey and discover the world.

 

#1: Astrotourism 

Gazing beyond the horizon.

Astrotourism transcends traditional travel experiences, making its mark as an out of this world experiential travel experience that invites explorers to gaze at the stars and immerse themselves in celestial wonders. What exactly is the appeal here, besides the obvious allure of venturing beyond the realm of international borders?

Embracing what’s beyond the horizon taps into consumers’ desire for escapism. It emphasizes the allure of untouched destinations where one can escape pollution and crowds to behold the beauty of the cosmos. From remote resorts to serene beaches, stargazing activities offer moments of wonder and tranquility for travelers of all ages, promising experiences that inspire awe and contemplation. 

Not to mention, untapped destinations are actively seeked by travelers as adventurers are constantly in search of the new and the unknown. Whether it’s for the simple fact of claiming you were there before anyone else, or genuinely seeking an entirely new category of travel, astro tourism can be leveraged by hotels and resorts in many destinations who offer stargazing activities, activations, or even Celestial Concierges that can set up special starry experiences for guests. From lounging under the stars on a beautiful beach, to offering in-room

#2: Sports Tourism & Gig Tripping

Where fandom meets adventure.

The fusion of sports tourism and gig tripping represents a new wave of adventure for enthusiasts seeking live entertainment experiences. Whether it’s venturing to another city to attend a music concert (hello, Swifties) or a Formula 1 race, travelers are willing to embark on short-haul and long-haul journeys to be part of the action. This trend highlights the thrill of cultural immersion and the enduring passion for shared experiences that transcend geographical boundaries.

According to Skyscanners 2024 travel trends, a whopping 44% of US travelers are willing to fly short-haul to see their favorite artists, and 18% would go the extra mile with long-haul flights. While 34% of US travelers plan to attend local music events in 2024 (rising to 50% among 25-to-34-year-olds), a substantial 60% are open to gig tripping abroad to save money. 

What does this mean for hotels and resorts? Investing in musical experiences or partnering with milestone events and big name partners who can draw in a crowd can help drive occupancy. For all-inclusives in particular, creating an all-in-one package with tickets included for instance can be a fantastic revenue-driver and surefire way of drawing in loyal fans.

#3: Sustainability

Navigating the eco-conscious traveler’s world.

In response to the growing demand for sustainable tourism, the industry is undergoing a pivotal shift towards transparency and accountability. Hotels and resorts are leading the way by showcasing their eco-friendly practices and offering immersive experiences that promote environmental stewardship. 

From eco diving — a niche where divers increasingly choose diving destinations based on the environmental practices of scuba centers — to back-of-house tours, travelers are embracing sustainable initiatives that redefine the essence of responsible travel. 

Hotels are now opening their doors for back-of-house tours, showcasing their dedicated efforts to guests and fostering a sense of accountability.

#4: Destination Dupes

The travel trend driven by TikTok culture.

The influence of TikTok’s dupe culture has infiltrated the realm of travel, as evidenced by Expedia’s selection of “destination dupes” for 2024. These destinations offer a refreshing twist, presenting travelers with alternatives that are both unexpected and often more budget-friendly compared to traditional hotspots. 

In essence, they provide the same level of delight and charm as their more renowned counterparts. As we venture into the new year, we anticipate a surge in holidaymakers choosing these slightly off-the-beaten-path destinations, such as Curacao over St. Martin or Paros instead of Santorini, seeking unique experiences that defy conventional travel norms.

#5:  Wellness, Active, and Biohacking Travel:

A holistic approach to wellbeing.

Since the pandemic, feeling good trumps looking good. The rise of wellness travel signifies a paradigm shift towards proactive health and holistic well-being. Travelers are prioritizing experiences that promote physical, mental, and emotional wellness, driving the growth of the wellness tourism market. According to the Global Wellness Institute’s (GWI) latest Global Wellness Economy Monitor projects that the wellness tourism market will more than double from 2022 to 2027, making an especially dramatic jump between 2023 ($868 billion) and 2024 when spending will reach a record $1 trillion. In 2027, spending is expected to hit $1.4 trillion.

From active adventures to longevity-focused treatments, this trend reflects a profound commitment to self-care and personal transformation where longevity is the goal. More and more travelers are shifting away from the traditional beach vacation model and are actively in search of a balanced blend of relaxation and physical activity. In other words, they don’t want to abandon their healthy habits on vacation, and they desire to leave the destination feeling better than they did when they first checked in. 

For hotels, this means consciously integrating opportunities for wellness beyond the spa, and creating moments that allow guests to embrace the active lifestyle. Some resorts are curating unparalleled wellness getaways and retreats that they are packaging and selling during select dates. Others are integrating brand partnerships that embrace the science of enhancing life — think IV infusions, biohacking treatments, cryotherapy, and even stem cell therapy.

#6: Skip-Gen Travel

Bridging generations through adventures.

In 2024, we are seeing a new form of multigenerational travel take shape where grandparents opt to vacation with their grandchildren, effectively “skipping” a generation in traditional travel dynamics. Clio Wood, the founder of family retreat company &Breathe, notes a significant uptick in inquiries for grandparent-grandchild bookings in recent months, suggesting a growing trend in multi-generational travel. 

This surge in skip-gen travel can be attributed in part to promises made during lockdowns, with parents eager to seize opportunities for quality time and childcare support from their retired parents. Additionally, the global ratio of living grandparents to grandchildren has reached unprecedented levels, fueled by longer life expectancies and declining birth rates. With society increasingly dubbed “the age of the grandparent,” this trend shows no signs of slowing down, promising continued growth and enrichment for families seeking meaningful travel experiences.

Travel brands can capitalize on this growing  form of travel by curating specialized itineraries tailored to skip-gen travel that include existing amenities, experiences, or excursions that can be enjoyed by both age groups.

#7: Culinary Travel

A gateway to cultural immersion.

According to the latest American Express Global Travel Trends report, culinary travel continues to be a driving force behind travelers’ booking decisions. Culinary travel transcends traditional sightseeing, inviting travelers to explore and connect with diverse cultures through food and beverages. From immersive cooking classes to wild feasting experiences, this trend fosters authentic connections and deepens understanding across borders, reflecting a desire for meaningful cultural exchange.

While there are a number of ways hotels can embrace culinary travel, “collab hotels” are gaining traction. The idea of collab hotels merges culinary excellence with hospitality by pairing renowned chefs and hospitality groups to create a unique stay and eat, gastronomic-focused hotel experience. The expansion of Groot Hospitality into Las Vegas serves as a prime example of this trend, recognizing the demand from travelers for opulent accommodations paired with exceptional culinary experiences. Similarly, Lifestyle hospitality group SBE has partnered with Wyndham Hotels & Resorts to introduce a novel hotel brand, described by both companies as a “smart lifestyle” concept, catering to modern travelers seeking innovative hospitality offerings.

In their quest for distinctive and immersive experiences, travelers are drawn to collab hotels, which lead the way in offering a comprehensive journey that goes beyond conventional hospitality standards.

#8: Set Jetting, Screen Tourism and Influencers

2024’s Top Travel Advisors.

If you have seen the highly-regarded dark comedy drama series The White Lotus, then you may be familiar with what sparked the idea of set jetting. Although not new, screen tourism has become increasingly popular as travelers flock to iconic locations featured in their favorite TV shows and movies. Consumers are increasingly booking travel based on the backdrops of their favorite TV shows and movies like The White Lotus and Emily in Paris

In fact, more than half of travelers now say that TV shows and movies inspire their travel plans. Set jetting and screen tourism guide travelers to locations made famous by on-screen adventures.

Similarly, influencers continue to shape travel choices through their curated experiences and recommendations. This trend underscores the power of storytelling and visual media in inspiring wanderlust and shaping travel itineraries.while influencers maintain their significant influence in guiding travel choices.

#9:  Tactile Moments in the Digital Age

Rediscovering the power of touch in hospitality.

After years of contactless hospitality, there is a growing appreciation for tactile moments that evoke warmth and intimacy. From personalized amenities to thoughtful gestures, hotels are embracing the importance of sensory experiences that resonate with guests on a deeper level, reminding us that technology is no substitute for genuine human connection.

While QR code menus and room service apps offer convenience that is still demanded by many, we can confidently say that technology will not replace the impact of a personal touch. 

Hotels who are looking to embrace technology while still offering a warm touch can focus on injecting personalized touches like warm in-room cookies and milk, layered blankets, surprise and delight moments like a birthday cake. 

The travel trends of 2024 herald a new era of exploration, where luxury meets sustainability and experiences go beyond the ordinary. As travelers lead these transformative shifts and travel brands embrace them, the future of travel invites us to continue innovating, leading with curiosity, compassion, and a sense of wonder.

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