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WorldVia travel group offers select 2024 travel trend insights

WorldVia remains committed to leading the travel industry by simplifying and streamlining business management practices for travel agency owners and advisors.

WorldVia Travel Group, a collection of leading travel companies in the United States, has shared select, current and upcoming travel trends. These trends provide insights into a selection of the dynamic changes and evolving preferences shaping the travel industry, offering valuable guidance for travel advisors and travel agency owners planning their strategies and services to meet the shifting needs of modern travelers.

Jason Block, chief executive officer of WorldVia, has identified key trends for the travel landscape this summer and beyond. These select trends reflect the travel industry’s robust growth, the adoption of new government policies and regulations, and the shifting preferences of consumers, highlighting the evolving priorities of today’s travelers.

1.) Unique experiences and luxury cruises to lead bookings: Travel clients are increasingly seeking unique experiences for this summer and the upcoming 2024 travel seasons, particularly in the custom touring segment, alongside a notable surge in premium and luxury cruise bookings. “The high perceived value of cruising continues to fuel this growing demand,” explains Jason Block, CEO of WorldVia. “For trending destinations, Europe remains a top choice among consumers, which is projected to outpace a very robust 2023 season. France, in particular, is seeing a resurgence in its appeal as a travel destination, driven by the 2024 Paris Olympics.” There is also a notable rise in bookings for destinations in Asia, especially Korea and Thailand, reflecting a broadening of traveler preferences and a keen interest in diverse and enriching travel experiences.

2.) Evolving travel landscape and rising demand for personalized travel: The travel landscape is undergoing significant changes throughout 2024, with a growing demand for personalized travel. Florida and its theme parks, once the unrivaled destination choice during the pandemic, are experiencing a demand softening. This trend is expected to continue, due to price insensitivity for a lower perceived level of value, anticipation of Universal’s new park in 2025, along with extraordinary interest in international travel. “Those not among the millions who trekked to Florida for a family trip to Orlando over the last few years may have timed things well,” Block mentions, explaining that “significant promotions are expected in the second half of 2024 as theme park operators look to fill capacity.” Travel professionals can also anticipate a notable uptick in local tour products provided by micro-tour operators on platforms like Project Expedition. WorldVia Travel Quest Network, the travel host agency operating under WorldVia’s flagship, has already doubled its bookings through such marketplaces in the past year. This surge is expected to further accelerate in 2024 as travelers seek out more personalized and local experiences. “Travel advisors are at the forefront of this evolution, working closely with clients to understand their unique preferences and expertly matching them with the right providers,” notes Block. “This personalization is key in the ‘intelligence-before-artificial intelligence’ approach, ensuring that each travel experience is thoughtfully curated to meet individual desires and expectations.”

3.) Extended booking windows reflect forward-thinking travelers: Booking windows are extending dramatically across the travel industry. “The advance purchase window for international air travel has grown from 43 days in 2021 to 68 days in 2023, reaching around 75 days in 2024,” reports Block. “Hotel bookings have seen even more changes, with advance booking windows tripling since 2022. The advance booking window for the cruise sector, once around 173 days in 2023, now exceeds 180 days for longer voyages in 2024.” The two main factors driving this trend, according to Block, are rising prices, prompting early bookings to secure good deals, and the introduction of new ships, such as Royal Caribbean’s Icon of the Seas and Norwegian Viva, which cause demand and price spikes. These extended booking windows reflect a more forward-thinking approach by travelers, keen to secure their preferred experiences well in advance.

4.) High demand destinations and emerging alternatives: Select destinations and travel types are expected to continue growing in demand during the current and upcoming travel season. Among these is the increasing demand for Thailand resorts like the Four Seasons Resort Koh Samui and The Anantara Mai Khao Phuket Villas, which will be featured in the season three of HBO’s popular “White Lotus,” reflecting the influence of popular culture on travel trends. “Despite sell-outs in these ‘hot’ destinations, there is an increase in inventory in new areas ready to welcome travelers, giving an abundance of choices for those seeking new experiences beyond the usual,” notes Block. “New resorts are opening in destinations like Mexico and the Caribbean, such as Secrets Tulum Resort & Beach Club in Tulum, Mexico. Underrated locations like Malta, lesser-known Greek islands like Corfu, and Italian cities like Trieste offer excellent alternatives to the crowded, stereotypical vacation spots.”

5.) Preparing for new travel regulations and trends: Travelers should prepare for considerable changes in travel regulations. More countries are adopting digital registration requirements for entry and exit, such as the European Travel Information and Authorization System (ETIAS) and its associated 7-euro fee, expected to take effect in mid-2025 The European Union’s (EU) Entry and Exit Scheme (EES) is set to be implemented in 2024, which will expedite entry at immigration checkpoints in most EU countries by digitally processing passports, shifting from manual reviews. The Department of Transportation (DOT) has increased consumer advocacy, imposing larger civil penalties, which may positively impact traveler experiences, especially during long delays or cancellations. “It’s essential for travelers to stay informed about these developments and consult the U.S. State Department and their travel agents and advisors for the latest visa requirements specific to their destinations before booking and departure,” advises Block. “These measures will help ensure a smoother and more informed travel experience in 2024 amidst evolving global travel regulations.”

WorldVia remains committed to leading the travel industry by simplifying and streamlining business management practices for travel agency owners and advisors. WorldVia helps its members deliver the best possible experiences for their travel clients, tailored to evolving needs and preferences, by adapting to travel trends and providing unparalleled service and expertise.

Member travel agents and advisors of WorldVia Travel Quest Network as well as prospective host agency members, can discover more information about travel insights and how best to prepare for planning travel for clients in 2024 by visiting www.travelquestnetwork.com.

Consumers interested in researching, planning, and booking 2024 travel can explore popular destinations and travel packages by visiting www.worldvia.com. Future travelers can also connect with a WorldVia Travel Quest Network advisor for premium deals and personalized support.

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