Skift Take

As a monster summer travel season is a rapidly approaching, here are some trends worth noting as the industry continues its recovery from the pandemic.

Travel brands are busy preparing for the upcoming summer season, and travel demand is xpected to surpass pre-pandemic levels. What are the major trends for this summer?

We put the question to our artificial intelligence chatbot Ask Skift, which used information from our past news coverage and research, and we did additional reporting as well.

Ask Skift said:

Based on recent articles from Skift, several travel trends are emerging for summer 2024.

First, many travelers are keeping an open mind when it comes to their summer trips. In fact, 51% of visitors to a certain website and app are still undecided on a destination or departure date as of March 2024.

In terms of specific travel behaviors, there’s a growing trend of digital nomadism, where people are traveling while working, spurred on by the rise of remote work. This trend is not only popular among solo travelers but across different traveler segments as well. There’s also a noticeable increase in travelers seeking social connections during their travels. For instance, about 66% of Hostelworld’s guests travel solo to meet people to hang out with.

Personalized experiences are becoming more in-demand, with more travelers hiring private drivers and guides to design their unique tours, showing a growing demand for more independent travel experiences.

In terms of accommodation, hotels remain the top choice, but vacation rentals are also gaining in popularity. Direct bookings, especially for hotels and flights, maintain an upward trend. It’s also worth noting that international tourism is predicted to rise by 15% in 2024, exceeding 2019 levels by 2%, suggesting a strong recovery for the travel industry.


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What else you need to know:

One trend to look out for this summer is the rise of “coolcations,” which are summer vacations in colder and more moderate destinations. Condé Nast Traveler listed coolcationing as one of 2024’s biggest travel trends, with a growing number of travelers looking to avoid scorching heat.

A survey by luxury travel network Virtuoso found 75% of travelers are seeking destinations with more moderate weather, according to its Vice of President of Sustainability Javier Arrendondo. In addition, 46% of Virtuoso advisors said climate change was causing their clients to travel differently.

As for where travelers might head to this summer, a survey by Skyscanner found 53% of those based in Europe, the Middle East and Africa said they’re choosing Europe as a summer holiday destination this year. That’s a 4% percent jump from 2023. Meanwhile, roughly 12% of EMEA travelers are looking to visit Southeast Asia this summer, a 1% increase from last year.

Skyscanner attributed that shift in part to a 4% decline in interest among EMEA travelers in visiting North America this summer, which the travel metasearch site said was likely caused by the strength of the U.S. dollar.

The strength of the U.S. dollar is also driving more Americans to plan travel to destinations where their money will go further. Tour operator Intrepid Travel said its North American bookings to Southeast Asia for this year are up 15% from 2023, according to the company’s President of the Americas Matt Berna.

As for travelers based in the Asia-Pacific region, more of them are looking to visit destinations closer to home this summer. Skyscanner found roughly 10% fewer APAC travelers are looking to book trips to Europe, while it saw 4% and 1% increases in those looking to visit North Asia and Southeast Asia this summer, respectively.

Finally, this summer is poised to see a further boom in the rise of ‘destination dupes,’ in which travelers opt to visit a less crowded or less expensive location with a vibe similar to that of a more popular destination.

“We’ve seen some more ‘alternate’ destinations starting to grow in popularity, like Balkans in Europe with lesser-known destinations like Albania becoming a popular alternate to Croatia,” said Berna, adding that bookings made to Italy and France for the first quarter of 2024 dropped 25% from the previous year.

“We anticipate more people this summer looking to avoid those bucket list trips this year to escape the crowds, as well as find better deals.”  


Ask Skift Is the AI Chatbot for the Travel Industry

Go deeper into the business of travel with Skift’s new AI chatbot.

Ask Skift Your Questions

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Tags: ask skift, climate change, skyscanner, summer, summer travel

Photo credit: This summer will continue to see more scenes like this. Phil Shirley / Flickr

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