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Traveler insights Q1 2024: Top destinations and event trends from Expedia

Expedia Group’s Q3 2023 data indicated that traveler confidence remained high as people continued to travel for events and planned short- and long-term trips.

Expedia‘s traveler insights for Q1 2024 uncover the most recent traveler behavior based on our first-party data from Q4 2023.

Travelers book earlier

The latest data from the final quarter of 2023 reveals a significant uptick in international travel interest, particularly in the Asia-Pacific (APAC) region, alongside heightened enthusiasm for Paris as a prime destination in anticipation of major sporting events. These insights not only reflect evolving travel preferences but also offer valuable cues for travel and hospitality professionals to refine their marketing strategies effectively.

As the year unfolded, a notable trend emerged with travelers increasingly planning their journeys well in advance. The data indicates a substantial quarter-over-quarter (QOQ) surge in searches for trips planned 180 days ahead or more. This trend was observed globally, with a more than 15% increase, and nearly 20% for domestic searches, signaling a shift towards mid-year travel planning. This forward-looking behavior was most pronounced in Europe, the Middle East, and Africa (EMEA), where searches expanded by over 70%, and in North America (NORAM), which saw a 10% increase.

Event travel and tour tourism are on the rise

In the latest travel trends report, the spotlight is on Paris as a premier destination for summer 2024 travel. Data from the fourth quarter of 2023 indicates a surge in interest for the French capital, with searches for trips in July and August rising by over 20%. This uptick is particularly notable for the period between July 26 and August 11, 2024, where there’s been a significant year-over-year increase in the anticipated length of stay by travelers from North America and Latin America, nearing 25%. Such statistics suggest a growing trend among international visitors to extend their Parisian vacations, presenting a valuable window for local hospitality and tourism sectors to capitalize on this increased footfall.

Furthermore, the Expedia Group’s Unpack ‘24 report highlights a burgeoning trend in live music tourism. Following a record-setting year in 2023, 2024 is anticipated to witness a continuation of this trend, with nearly 70% of travelers expressing an increased likelihood of attending concerts outside their hometown. This evolving dynamic underscores the importance for destinations and businesses to integrate cultural and entertainment elements into their marketing strategies, catering to the diverse interests of global travelers.

APAC cities show major search increases

As the travel industry continues to rebound from the pandemic’s impact, recent data from the fourth quarter of 2023 highlights a significant resurgence in interest towards the Asia-Pacific (APAC) region. This renewed fascination is evident in the sharp increase in search volumes for several APAC cities, underscoring a global eagerness to explore this diverse region. Notably, Guangzhou has seen an astonishing 85% year-over-year (YOY) growth in global search volume, with Hong Kong and Shanghai also witnessing substantial rises, each by 35%.

This burgeoning interest spans across all four super regions, showcasing a universal appeal of APAC cities among global travelers. European, Middle Eastern, and African (EMEA) tourists have notably contributed to a 70% and 50% YOY increase in searches for Osaka and Kyoto, respectively, demonstrating a keen interest in Japan’s cultural and historical richness. Similarly, Latin American (LATAM) travelers have expressed a pronounced preference for Tokyo, with an 85% YOY surge in search volumes, highlighting the city’s global allure.

Travelers from within the APAC region have shown a strong propensity to explore nearby Chinese cities, with Shenzhen and Macau experiencing double-digit YOY search volume growth. North American (NORAM) tourists are also part of this trend, with significant increases in searches for Guangzhou (65%), Kyoto (55%), and Osaka (50%), indicating a broad-based interest in the cultural, historical, and modern experiences offered by these destinations.

Warm-weather destinations jump in popularity

As the chill of winter began to grip the Northern Hemisphere in the fourth quarter of 2023, Expedia’s latest data reveals a significant trend: travelers seeking refuge in warmer climates propelled destinations such as Orlando, Miami, and Punta Cana to the top of the global search rankings. This shift underscores a growing preference for sun-drenched escapes during the colder months, with Cancun and Fort Lauderdale ascending the ranks for North American (NORAM) travelers, and Buenos Aires making a notable leap to the fifth spot among Latin American (LATAM) destinations.

The trend extends beyond individual city preferences, reflecting a broader surge in interest for tropical locales among U.S. travelers. Notably, destinations like St. Lucia, Aruba, and Curaçao witnessed triple-digit quarter-over-quarter (QOQ) increases in search volumes from the U.S., signaling a robust desire for beach-bound holidays. Supporting this observation, the GWI Zeitgeist Study reveals that nearly half (46%) of recent visitors to Expedia are planning a vacation centered around beaches or water this year.

Co-Founder & Managing Director - Travel Media Applications | Website | + Posts

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

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