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2024 Travel Trends

Key takeaways of Travel Trends 2024 by Hilton.

Table of Contents

Key takeaways of Travel Trends 2024 by Hilton. Four key themes

  • Travellers will invest in sleep
  • Travellers will value personalisation and connect
  • Culture and experience drive leisure travel decisions
  • Business Travel to Pick up

Travellers will Invest in Sleep

Forget the endless bucket lists and jam-packed itineraries.

In 2024, travel is taking a restful turn, with personal wellness and sleep topping the priority list for adventurers across all generations. Forget the FOMO, this year is all about finding your inner zen and emerging from your travels feeling refreshed and rejuvenated. A recent study revealed a surprising truth: regardless of age or demographic, the No. 1 reason travelers cite for hitting the road in 2024 is to simply rest and recharge. This shift in priorities is driven by a growing awareness of personal wellness, with sleep emerging as the ultimate vacation souvenir

  • 55% of Gen Z travelers prioritize rest and relaxation on their 2024 adventures.
  • Millennials follow close behind at 60%, seeking respite from the daily grind.
  • Even the ever-energetic Gen Xers yearn for a good night's sleep, with 68% citing rest as their primary travel goal. 
  • And even the seasoned Baby Boomers join the rest revolution, with 67% seeking a rejuvenating escape.

Gen Z Sleeps Smart

Forget the all-nighters and Netflix binges – Gen Z is ditching the sleep deprivation stereotype and embracing a new mantra: smart sleep. These tech-savvy trendsetters are all about intentional winding down, making small yet impactful choices throughout the day to ensure a quality night's rest.

  • Workout Wise: 21% of Gen Zers are adjusting their workout routines to prioritize sleep. That means swapping the late-night gym session for a morning jog or opting for a relaxing yoga flow before bed. They understand the link between physical activity and sleep quality, and they're choosing to optimize both.
  • Alcohol-Free Nights: A whopping 25% say no to alcohol before bedtime. Gen Z is ditching the nightcaps and opting for herbal teas or calming beverages to avoid disrupting their sleep cycle. They're prioritizing long-term health and well-being over the immediate buzz, and their sleep patterns are reaping the benefits.

Pillow Packer: Why 1 in 5 Travelers Pack Their Dreams Away

When it comes to a good night's sleep on the road, nearly one in five global travelers turn to a familiar comfort: their own pillow. That's right,

18% pack their preferred pillow to ensure a restful slumber in unfamiliar territory.

And it's not just older generations seeking their homey haven. Gen Z leads the pillow-packing pack at 23%, followed closely by Millennials at 22%. This surprising trend speaks to the growing importance of sleep for travelers of all ages, and the lengths they'll go to achieve it.

But why the pillow obsession? It's more than just sentimentality. Studies have shown that familiarity plays a crucial role in sleep. The right pillow can provide the perfect support, height, and texture, creating a sense of security and comfort that can be especially valuable in a new environment.

For some, it's about combating allergies or sensitivities to hotel bedding. Others simply find the hotel pillows flat, lumpy, or the wrong temperature. Whatever the reason, packing a pillow offers a simple solution to a common travel dilemma.

This trend presents an opportunity for the travel industry. Hotels can cater to this demand by offering pillow menus with a variety of options, or even partnering with pillow companies to provide high-quality loaners. They could also invest in pillow-friendly bedding, such as adjustable-height mattresses or hypoallergenic options.

Clicking Your Way to Adventure: Online Booking Reigns Supreme in 2024

Forget the days of phone calls and travel agents – the future of travel is digital!

A whopping 80% of global travelers now crave the convenience and control of booking their entire trip online, according to the Trends Global Survey.

This preference transcends generations, with Gen Z leading the charge at 83%, followed closely by Millennials at 86%. Even Gen X and Baby Boomers are embracing the digital wave, with 74% and 66% respectively favoring online bookings.

Why the online booking boom? It's a perfect storm of factors:

  • Convenience: 24/7 access, instant comparisons, and hassle-free booking from anywhere in the world.
  • Choice: A vast online marketplace offering endless destinations, accommodations, and activities.
  • Control: Travelers can personalize their trips, tailoring them to their budgets and preferences.
  • Transparency: Reviews, ratings, and detailed information empower travelers to make informed decisions.

The world's wanderlust is back with a vengeance, and budgets be damned!

A whopping 64% of global travelers are prioritizing leisure travel in 2024, even if it means tightening their belts elsewhere.

This "travel-first" revolution is especially strong among Gen Z and Millennials, with a staggering 72% and 71% respectively planning to spend more on adventures than ever before.

This isn't just a post-pandemic rebound; it's a paradigm shift in travel priorities. Travelers, especially younger generations, are increasingly valuing experiences over possessions. They're seeking personal growth, cultural immersion, and soul-enriching memories, and they're willing to adjust their budgets to make it happen. 

Food Takes Center Stage: Culinary Adventures Top Travelers' Priorities in 2024 

Forget boring buffets and generic hotel menus – 2024 is all about gastronomic adventures! Travelers across generations are prioritizing culinary experiences, with nearly half (50%) citing it as a top focus when planning their budgets. This isn't just about filling their bellies; it's about immersion, discovery, and creating lasting memories.

And where does the food journey begin? Local and regional cuisine reigns supreme, with a whopping 86% of travelers eager to tantalize their taste buds with authentic dishes. Whether it's savoring fresh seafood on a coastal escape or indulging in spicy street food in a bustling city, travelers are craving a taste of the place they're visiting.

But convenience also plays a role. 82% of travelers prioritize having a good restaurant within their hotel, seeking a seamless transition from exploration to delicious dining. This opens doors for hotels to elevate their culinary offerings and become culinary destinations in their own right.

Travelers Crave Control: Grab-and-Go Markets Rise as Snack Saviors

Forget the days of limited hotel minibars and mystery vending machines! Travelers are taking charge of their snacking in 2024, with a whopping 78% appreciating the convenience and control offered by on-property grab-and-go markets. This trend transcends generations, with Gen Z leading the pack at 82%, followed by Millennials (83%), Gen X (77%), and even Baby Boomers (69%) joining the grab-and-go revolution.

By embracing the grab-and-go revolution and catering to travelers' evolving snacking needs, hotels and businesses can differentiate themselves, attract new customers, and boost their bottom line. 

Green Guilt on the Go: Travelers Crave Sustainable Adventures in 2024 

The wanderlust is back, but it's carrying a new companion: eco-anxiety. While experiencing the world and its cultures remains a top reason for travel in 2024, a whopping two-thirds of global travelers (66%) admit that the topic of environmental change feels overwhelming when planning their vacations.

This green guilt resonates across generations, with Gen Z leading the charge at 69%, followed by Millennials (72%). Even Gen X (63%) and Baby Boomers (54%) are grappling with the environmental impact of their travels.            

Business Travel Trend:  From Pandemic Pause to Bleisure Boom

The past few years haven't just been a wrinkle in the travel industry – they've been a seismic shift. Business travel, once predictable and routine, has undergone a dramatic transformation. New programs, new products, and a whole new breed of traveler have emerged, reshaping the landscape entirely.

But the world is moving on, and the business travel industry is evolving right alongside it. In 2024, we're witnessing a bleisure boom, with 46% of global workers embracing the "work-cation" trend. This wanderlust is particularly strong in India (65%), UAE (64%), and China (60%), where employees are eager to blend work with exploration and cultural immersion.