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Sustainability, AI, and ‘Slow’ Travel set to be key travel trends in next three years


A fifth of UK travellers have used AI to help them plan a holiday according to the Marriott Bonvoy 2024 Future Travel Trends research.

UK travellers plan to increase their spending on breaks and holidays over the next three years and will have more of an eye on sustainability than ever before. However, high temperatures in parts of Europe could impact when and where people travel for their ‘summer holidays’ in the coming years.

Other key trends will also come to the fore. Artificial Intelligence (AI) will become a key tool for holiday planning – with a fifth (19%) of people already using it for this purpose. Meanwhile ‘dupe’ destinations – that are similar to traditional holiday destinations but closer and cheaper – will be another key theme.

In addition, ‘slow holidays’ – where travellers take their time, connect with the local culture, disconnect from technology and minimise their impact on the environment – will be another significant trend.

These are the key outtakes from the UK findings of Marriott Bonvoy’s 2024 Future Travel Trends research, in collaboration with foresight agency The Future Laboratory, which analysed the travel plans of 14,000 travellers across Europe and the Middle East over the next three years.

The rise of AI

The era of AI holiday planning is very much here – one in five UK adults (19%) have used AI to help them plan or research a holiday – rising as high as four in ten for younger adults (39% of those aged 18-34).

Amongst those who did use AI, 93% say it influenced their holiday decision in some way. This includes booking the accommodation it recommended (25%), booking at the time of year it recommended (25%), and booking food it recommended (24%)

Emerging trends

The research investigates several travel trends that are likely to emerge or strengthen over the coming years. Amongst them, ‘slow holidays’ are becoming increasingly popular. Nearly half of UK travellers (46%) say they have already been on a ‘slow’ holiday – and 31% have several times. Meanwhile, half (49%) say they plan to go on a slow holiday in the next three years.

In addition, ‘dupe destinations’ – such as the Lake District over Lake Como, the vineyards of Northern Spain instead of South Africa, surfing in Portugal instead of Hawaii, or Morocco instead of Dubai – will be another key theme. Over a quarter (26%) of those intending to go away in the next three years are planning to save travel time and money by having a similar experience through a ‘dupe destination’. Solo holidays, something 36% of UK travellers who have been away in the past three years have done in that period, will also continue to be a significant trend. This will be most prevalent amongst younger adults, with 47% of those aged 18-24 and 46% of those aged 25-34 who intend to go away in the next three years planning to go on one.

Changing Summer holiday patterns?

The extremely high temperatures that parts of Europe experienced this summer could be set to impact holiday plans in the coming years for UK holidaymakers. Seven in ten (69%) say that if these temperatures became a regular occurrence, it would impact their summer holiday plans. While there is no suggestion that people would avoid holidays because of this, some may be amending what they intend to do and when they choose to travel.

Three in ten (29%) say they would instead choose to go somewhere cooler, 25% would visit the destinations at different times of the year, and 15% say they would take different types of holidays in summer.

Spending and sustainability both up

Nine in ten UK adults (89%) say they will be going on holidays over the course of the next three years – 75% are planning to take a holiday in 2024. Of them, 53% say they plan to ‘spend more than usual’ on holidays over the period, with one in five (19%) saying they will spend ‘much more’.

Over the next three years, sustainability will be on the agenda more than ever before. Around half (51%) say they would be happy to pay more for environmentally friendly accommodation – however they would on average only be prepared to pay 14% more. In addition, eight in ten (80%) say that accommodation providers and holiday companies have a responsibility to support the local communities where they offer holidays.

For many, sustainability is already important – one in five UK adults (18%) say they looked into how sustainable the last accommodation they stayed in was before they booked it, with a further 18% doing so after booking. In addition, 47% say they check the environmental impact of their travel plans ‘sometimes’ – although currently only 7% say they ‘always’ do.

Value for money will be key

Whilst on the whole spending on holidays is set to increase, travellers will continue to seek good value for money and save where they can. Just seven per cent of those planning to take holidays in the next three years say they won’t be looking to save money on some elements of their holidays.

A third of UK travellers (32%) will try to save by going on more domestic holidays, while 28% will favour all-inclusive holidays, to help them plan their spending and for cost certainty. Many will also look to make savings by booking at the right time – 25% will book further in advance, while 24% will book last-minute. And 13% will use loyalty programmes to pay for some or all of their holiday with points.

Neal Jones, Chief Sales & Marketing Officer, Marriott International – Europe, Middle East & Africa: “With the leisure travel market well and truly back to ‘normal’ we are now in a stronger position when it comes to looking at future trends and travel habits for the sector over the next few years. The post covid travel rebound is still going strong but because of what travel means to people, there’s been a seismic shift in people’s thought processes and prioritisation of funds. We are seeing that there is a more considered approach to travel, and a more emotional connection to travel that’s really unfolding in tandem with people’s core values.

“Two trends we have seen coming to the fore in particular from the consumer research are sustainability and AI – particularly amongst younger travellers under the age of 45. Being ecologically responsible is moving from being a ‘nice-to-have’ to a ‘must-have’ for many of these travellers and will only become more so. 

“What’s really interesting to see from this research is the already-established use of AI for holiday planning. Generative AI is perfectly placed to analyse huge amounts of information for travellers, and offer them recommendations based on it. With nine in ten of those who have used it saying it impacted their travel plans, we expect its use to become even more mainstream in the next three years. As a result, travel providers like us need to ensure that we have the information available for AI to find and share with those doing their holiday research.”

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Theodore is the Co-Founder and Managing Editor of TravelDailyNews Media Network; his responsibilities include business development and planning for TravelDailyNews long-term opportunities.