Luxury, Culinary and Wellness Experiences Driving Travel in 2024

WeTravel has released its second annual “What’s Ahead for Travel Bookings and Payments Report.” The survey reveals travel trends in 2024, and how consumer expectations will impact travel businesses. What did it find? Analyzing survey responses from more than 600 global travel businesses and comparing them against survey data from 2022, the report finds that external factors such as mobile technology adoption, flexible work arrangements and climate and economic conditions are driving consumers to spend more on customized itineraries, with more ways to instantly book and pay.

In 2024, the surveyed travel businesses claim that, unlike post-pandemic travel that was customized for smaller groups and private transportation and accommodation, consumers are now customizing itineraries to localize and broaden in-destination experiences—willingly spending more on luxury travel, culinary adventures and wellness escapes, especially in lesser-known destinations. The high-price ticket items aren’t deterring bookings; instead, consumers are choosing to pay instantly, with the most common booking lead time being less than one month before departure, and the majority of travelers paying the total trip cost at checkout.

Here are more detailed findings from the report:

  • Seeing Beyond Sights, Spontaneously
    • The most common booking lead time according to respondents is one month before departure, with 60 percent of bookings falling within the one- to three-month window
    • Seventy percent of travelers now make the full payment at the time of booking, reflecting a substantial 181 percent increase from 2023
  • The Expense of Experiences
    • Most survey respondents reported that travelers are spending more on trips in 2024, with 33 percent describing an increase in spending by between 10 percent and 25 percent, compared to 2023
    • Eighteen percent of travelers are choosing to visit more expensive destinations, while 15 percent are seeing costs increase as a result of customizing their trips
  • Involvement in Itineraries
    • Fifty-nine percent of businesses offering personalized itineraries note a 56 percent rise in traveler requests for customization in 2024
    • Thirty-six percent of respondents stated that travelers are spending more on add-ons to customize their trips than they did in 2023
  • Travel’s New Flavor
    • Culinary trips are growing: 39 percent of businesses adding local activities offer culinary experiences
    • More than half of businesses chose to update their existing trips for 2024, with 8 percent specifically updating to include culinary experiences
  • Wellness Widens
    • The 46- to 60-year-old age group remains the most significant for wellness travel, at 33 percent of bookings
    • The popularity of Latin America for wellness travelers remained stable at 33 percent, while Asia grew to account for 19 percent of trips in 2024

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