Rise in spontaneous bookings sparking solo adventures: American Express


According to the 2024 Global Travel Trends Report from American Express, four movements are defining the new tourism landscape.

This year, jet setters are basing their vacations around sporting events, seeking out expedition-style trips, going on solo adventures and leaving space for spontaneity in their plans. As 84 percent of respondents are planning to spend more or the same amount on getaways that they did last year, hospitality names that can lean into these themes are likely to have a leg up on the competition.

The report is based on an online survey that was conducted between Jan. 31, 2024, and Feb. 8, 2024. In total, 2,005 American, 1,007 Australian, 1,002 Canadian, 1,002 Japanese, 1,006 Mexican and 1,005 Indian adults making at least $50,000 a year were polled.

Expeditions, independence and spontaneity

Shining a light on the reasoning behind travelers’ habits, the report reveals what will be driving bookings throughout 2024.

The quality of trips is top of mind, it seems, as 77 percent of respondents stated that they care more about having the right experience than they do about the cost. This echoes findings from last year’s report, which showed that exploration continues to be a major financial priority for consumers (see story).

Places that are far-flung continue to climb higher on travelers’ bucket lists. Image courtesy of American Express

Expedition travel, a long-standing love of post-pandemic travelers (see story), also keeps its chokehold on spenders.

These adventure-seekers are especially looking for a transformative offering. For this reason, places such as the South Pacific (see story) and the South American coastline (see story) are seeing rising tourist numbers.

Big trips are especially appealing, with 65 percent of people surveyed stating that they are more interested in taking one this year than they have been in the past.

In general, spenders are getting more independent, embracing solo excursions more than ever before. Seventy-six percent of millennial and Gen Z participants mentioned that they plan to take a trip alone this year, whereas just 69 percent of all respondents share the sentiment.

The idea is quite popular, as 60 percent of those involved in the study plan to take two or more solar trips in 2024.

The shift could be feeding into the third trend, which is that of spontaneity — 78 percent of respondents find adventures with this characteristic appealing.

Travelers are starting to book trips more spontaneously. Image courtesy of American Express
The travel game

Finally, participants share that they are increasingly planning getaways that revolve around athletic events.

This might be an unsurprising development this year, considering the fact that the Paris Olympic Games are coming up this summer. With so many in luxury getting involved (see story), travelers are seeing sports-themed ads everywhere, from fashion campaigns (see story) to automotive collaborations (see story).

Millennials and Gen Z respondents, or those born between 1981 and 2012, are showing higher than average interest in this trend. Sixty-seven percent of the group, compared to 58 percent of all participants, see trips to sporting events as favorable.

Fifty-eight percent of respondents who plan to travel in 2024 for sports are doing so for basketball, soccer and Formula 1 racing. This summer, New York, Miami and Paris are the top destinations they plan to visit for athletic events.

Hospitality brands that tout a mutual appreciation could foster customer loyalty and perhaps even boost sales.

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