Travel Consumer Trends: Why Experiences are Dominating in 2024

Unpacking key travel trends for the year 

Travel Consumer Trends 2024

After years of recovering from the pandemic, global travel is back and buzzing. But this year, one thing’s for sure: travelers are motivated more than ever by experiences. Read on to learn more about two key trends in 2024, and why they’re important to TXUSA and its goal of “Making the USA Bookable.”

Data from Get Your Guide’s Travel Experience Trend Tracker 2024 shows that experiences are the most influential part of the travel planning process. In fact, 98% of travelers said experiences are very or extremely important when considering where to go.

What makes this even more interesting is that it completely disrupts the typical traveler booking flow as we’ve known it, which suggests booking experiences comes last. Get Your Guide data shows that activities are considered before anything else in the customer booking journey, and that promoting experiences after a consumer has chosen their destination is leaving a lot of money on the table, potentially, for destinations and travel businesses alike.

Typical traveler booking flow and travelers' actual decision flow
Source: Get Your Guide’s Travel Experience Trend Tracker, March 2024

In other words, the amount of activities and things to do in a destination will positively influence how many travelers it can expect to reach. In smaller destinations, where more businesses may be offline or underrepresented online, this could have a meaningful impact on the business and destination marketing alike. Becoming bookable via Tourism Exchange can help connect underrepresented businesses to a larger slice of the global travel economy.

Let’s face it: it’s hard not to love a shoreline, unique cultural experiences, the great outdoors, and a vibrant culinary scene. And that’s exactly what travelers are searching for most these days. According to data from Get Your Guide’s Travel Experience Trend Tracker 2024, search analyses for “things to do” show that more people prefer experiences related to waterfronts, culture, nature, and food.

The desire for these types of experiences is especially prevalent in younger travelers. Hilton’s 2024 Travel Trends report suggests that learning about a culture is a top priority for travelers of all ages, and is highest among rising generations of travelers (Gen Z and Millenials).

Source: Hilton 2024 Travel Trends

This is also the case for younger travelers when it comes to prioritizing culinary and exploration experiences during their trips. According to Hilton’s 2024 Travel Trends report, 50% of travelers’ top focus, across all generations, is on culinary experiences. 50% of travelers will also prioritize exploration and adventure, with Gen Z and Millennials (52% for each) carving out more budget for these types of experiences than other generations. 

Businesses of all kinds, but especially those focused on beaches, culture, nature and food, can benefit economically from getting connected to Tourism Exchange USA, because they’ll be able to reach an even wider audience of global travelers seeking those types of experiences.

To learn more about how Tourism Exchange USA is working to increase the availability, diversity and reach of U.S.-based travel products globally by expanding access to online booking and distribution tools, fill out our Get Connected Form here.