Travel trends and predictions for 2024: What should you look for as a tour operator?

December 13, 2023
Allan Formigoni (he/him)
8 min read

Approximately 975 million people traveled globally between the months of January and September in 2023. If these stats are anything to go by, we are fascinated to see what awaits the world of travel in 2024. 

With a new year on the horizon, comes many a new trend. As a tour operator, staying ahead of the latest travel trends will help you offer enriching experiences to both existing and new clientele, giving your business a competitive edge. 

To help you plan for a successful year of travel, this guide unpacks some of the biggest travel trends and predictions for 2024. 

Let’s get started. 

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Top 10 Travel Trends And Predictions For 2024 

From Expedia’s Trends for Travel 2024, and our own experience in working with hundreds of travel businesses, here are some of the biggest trends we can expect in the travel industry for the year ahead.

1. An Increase In Sustainable Travel 

Over the last year, sustainability has been and continues to be, a hot topic in the world of travel. 

Travelers are increasingly prioritizing eco-friendly and responsible practices in their itineraries. Travelers are more focused than ever before on reducing their carbon footprints and supporting destinations committed to sustainability. 

More travelers are seeking out accommodation that boasts eco-conscious features, and opting for transportation options that minimize emissions. 

There's also a growing interest in immersive experiences centered around environmental conservation, such as volunteering for conservation projects, participating in eco-tours focused on wildlife protection, or engaging in community-based sustainable tourism initiatives. 

This increasing preference for sustainable travel not only aligns with travelers' ethical values but also shapes their choices in selecting destinations and experiences that contribute positively to the environment and local communities.

As a travel business, you should consider offering tour packages that align with this, and/or make your offerings more eco-friendly. This could include partnering with more sustainable businesses or even introducing some kind of carbon offsetting program on the tours that you offer.

2. Generative AI in Travel 

If there’s one trend you cannot get away from, it’s the rise of AI. We’re seeing AI being applied across all kinds of industries, including travel and hospitality.

Expedia's forecast of a new "generation of generative AI" travelers, termed Gen Gen AI, signals a shift toward embracing AI technology in travel planning. 

Travel trends 2024

The report revealed a significant curiosity among travelers to leverage AI for trip planning, from finding accommodations to seeking inspiration and comparing flight options. 

As a travel company, integrating AI-driven functionalities into platforms or services can help you offer personalized and efficient solutions to cater to the evolving preferences of tech-savvy travelers. 

AI technology is also developing at a rapid pace, and we may be seeing some exciting new developments soon. For example, Intrepid Travel’s report foresees a future where technology, such as carbon footprint trackers on smartphones, holds travelers accountable for their environmental impact. 

Platforms like Ariel, Klima, Earth Hero, and Joro are already being used for calculating and offsetting carbon footprints.

As a tour operator, you could get in on the AI action by ensuring that you’re making the most of AI for running your business smarter. From using AI tools to streamline your admin, manage schedules, create copy for your tour booking pages, and more, embracing this technology is certainly going to be one of the biggest trends in the travel industry for the year ahead. 

3. The Political Angle 

Travel trends are also influenced by geopolitical factors. 

The aftermath of the US election plays a role in shaping international relations, impacting travel policies, visa regulations, and diplomatic ties that could affect cross-border travel. 

There are also ongoing geopolitical conflicts and crises worldwide, such as the Ukraine war, unrest in Israel, and the earthquake in Morocco, which may lead to fluctuations in travel patterns and safety concerns. 

These events could prompt governments to issue travel advisories or restrictions, affecting travel itineraries and destination choices that travel businesses can offer. Staying flexible and dynamic is key to overcoming challenges like this. 

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4. The New Era Of “Dupes” & “Set Jetting” 

The rise of "dupes" and the popularity of "set-jetting" are two trends that we’ll see shaping the travel industry in 2024.

The concept of "dupes" is all about travelers seeking more affordable alternatives to popular destinations. For example, Taipei, Taiwan, has been experiencing a significant surge in flight searches, as it’s viewed as a substitute for more expensive locations like Seoul. 

Pattaya in Thailand, Paros in Greece, Curacao in the Caribbean, and Perth in Australia are also emerging as affordable alternatives to Bangkok, Santorini, St. Martin, and Sydney. 

On the other hand, "set-jetting" is a funny travel trend that’s being carried over from 2023. This is where over half of travelers have been influenced to research or book a trip after seeing a destination featured in a TV show or movie. 

For example, the series "Wednesday" caused a spike in searches for Romania, and "Emily in Paris" boosted interest in travel to Paris. This shows just how much the media continues to drive travel choices. 

With the upcoming filming of the third season of "White Lotus" being done in Thailand, Expedia anticipates a surge in travel interest to this Southeast Asian country in 2024.

5. Rise Of Zero-Proof Getaways 

If there’s one major travel trend to be aware of in 2024, it’s the demand for wellness experiences

There has been a significant surge in interest in healthy and detoxifying travel experiences over the last few years, and this is only increasing. 40% of respondents in Expedia’s travel survey said that they would be interested in booking a detox trip in the year ahead.

From Dry January to Sober October, the allure of zero-proof holidays is on the rise. Expect to see an increase in alcohol-free holidays and travel packages shortly. 

Travel trends 2024

Accommodations offering alcohol-free options, such as mocktail menus and wellness-focused activities, are gaining traction among travelers seeking a rejuvenating escape. Of course, the demand for general wellness experiences, healthy food, and healthy activities continues to be a popular trend in the industry. 

As a travel company, recognizing and incorporating these wellness-driven preferences into your offerings can attract a growing segment of health-conscious travelers. If you haven't already, consider adding wellness packages or detox trips to your travel offerings.

6. Tour Tourism 

 "Tour Tourism" is a fun travel trend where travelers base their itineraries and destinations on musicians' tour schedules. 

This trend involves a growing number of travelers planning their trips around concerts, music festivals, and live performances of their favorite artists.  

7. The Importance Of Hotel Vibes

While accommodation options like Airbnb have been popular choices over the last few years, travelers still crave staying in a good hotel. Today’s travelers are seeking out the hotel experience more than ever. 

Beyond traditional factors like location and amenities, the importance of a hotel's ambiance and "vibe" is surging. 

Reviews on have seen a remarkable 1,090% increase in mentions of the word "vibe." Travelers are actively seeking stays that set the tone for their entire trip, whether it's a retro, modern, or chill atmosphere. 

Identifying and promoting these distinct vibes can greatly influence travelers' decisions when choosing accommodations. Keep in mind that travelers are looking for unique experiences, so they want to find hotels that offer something beyond your regular stay.

Tour operators can leverage this trend by highlighting the unique ambiance and character of properties in their promotions. Emphasizing the specific vibes that align with their target audience's preferences can significantly enhance the appeal of the travel packages and experiences offered. 

Tour operator business

Use tour booking software that helps you create detailed travel booking pages with embedded videos of the accommodation. The more you can promote the unique “vibe” of your accommodation options, the more appealing it will be to travelers.

8. Immersive Cultural Stays: Ryokans and Riads 

On the topic of unique places to stay, travelers are also interested in immersing themselves in new cultural experiences.

Today’s travelers have a strong desire for authentic cultural experiences when booking their trips. In the report mentioned earlier, Expedia's data shows a substantial increase in searches for ryokans in Japan and Moroccan riads. This is a good reflection of the growing interest in immersing oneself in local traditions and lifestyles

Offering stays in culturally immersive accommodation options like this aligns with the evolving preferences of travelers seeking authentic and enriching experiences.

As a tour operator, you should consider ways to curate specialized itineraries that include stays in accommodation like this. Look at the destinations you offer trips to, and consider whether you’re offering travelers enough cultural immersion in these destinations. 

9. Celebration-Focused Travel 

People used to simply plan their travels around their work calendar and holiday schedule. Now, however, people are finding new excuses to plan a trip.

Unique reasons for travel celebrations are gaining popularity, from "puppy moons" to commemorating first dates or job milestones. Travelers today are increasingly seeking travel experiences centered around special occasions. 

Understanding and catering to these diverse celebratory motivations can present an opportunity for tour operators to create tailored packages and experiences that resonate with these travelers. You can also partner up with companies and offer “special packages or deals for celebrations”. This could include specific activities or fine dining experiences. 

Travel trends 2024

10. Outdoor Amenities In Vacation Rentals 

The allure of vacation homes with enticing outdoor amenities is growing stronger. 

Travelers are inclined towards properties offering unique outdoor features such as hot tubs, fire pits, and sports courts. These outdoor amenities look attractive on social media and are easy to promote on your website and tour booking pages.

Incorporating these fun outdoor elements into vacation packages can make your trips far more appealing to travelers. This trend follows the broad shift we’re seeing in travelers seeking more unique and memorable accommodation options. 

Why It's Important To Stay On Top Of The Latest Travel Trends 

Let’s first explore why tapping into these trends is so important.

Meeting Customer Expectations 

Understanding current travel trends allows companies to align their services with what customers expect. By offering experiences that are in demand, travel companies can improve customer satisfaction and loyalty.

Remember that customer habits and desires are always changing, so your travel business should change with your customers in the same way.

Remaining Competitive 

The travel industry is dynamic and always changing. Staying updated on trends helps travel companies stay competitive. 

By aligning your travel business with the latest trends, you can differentiate your offerings and stay ahead of competitors by providing unique and sought-after experiences. After all, this is what running a travel business is all about.

Targeted Marketing and Communication 

The key to running successful marketing campaigns in the travel industry is keeping active on all communicative platforms and making sure you’re offering customers what they want (before your competitors). 

Staying in tune with the latest happenings and trends offers valuable insights into your customer preferences. By tailoring your marketing strategies and communication to resonate with these trends, you can target specific customer segments more effectively. 

Sending out innovative campaigns can easily lead to higher engagement and conversion rates. 

Tour operator business

How To Give Your Travel Business A Competitive Edge In 2024 

We’ve covered some of the biggest travel trends and predictions for 2024. So, how can your travel business make the most of these trends to attract more customers?

Here are a few key aspects your tour company should focus on to achieve a competitive edge in 2024. 

Offer Personalized Experiences 

We understand that travelers are actively seeking more unique experiences. So, tailor your experiences to match these evolving traveler preferences. 

Use data analytics to comprehend customer behavior, preferences, and past bookings. Offering personalized travel packages and unique experiences aligned with current trends can set your business apart. It will also help to make your traveler's journeys more memorable.

To achieve this, you’ll need to use the right travel software that offers comprehensive data insights into your customers and their behavior. 

Leverage Technology And AI 

Embrace all the latest tech advancements, particularly AI-driven solutions, to enhance customer service and streamline operations. 

Implementing AI-powered chatbots or virtual assistants can provide 24/7 customer support, personalized recommendations, and more efficient booking assistance. Integrating AI-driven analytics into your systems could also help you predict trends and optimize your offerings.

Focus On Outdoor Amenities 

Capitalize on the growing interest in vacation homes with appealing outdoor amenities. 

Highlight properties with unique features like hot tubs, fire pits, or unique outdoor spaces in your offerings. Partnering with vacation rental platforms or property owners to showcase these outdoor attractions can attract travelers seeking something different. This gives your business an edge in the market. 

Travel trends 2024

Invest In The Right Travel Booking Management System 

Your travel booking and payment system is arguably the most important piece of software your travel business should invest in. 

This is because it directly affects how your customers interact and experience your business, as well as how you’re able to manage your bookings and tours (and pay your suppliers). 

Choose a system that not only integrates seamlessly with your operations, provides real-time updates, and offers a range of features for easy booking management; but is a one-stop shop for all your operational needs. Choosing a system that can streamline all your processes is a game-changer. 

Take A Customer-Centric Approach 

Place a strong emphasis on providing exceptional customer service. 

Make sure you respond to customer inquiries quickly, provide detailed and accurate information about your tours, and offer top-notch support throughout the customer journey. 

Use feedback to understand customer satisfaction and continuously improve your services based on your customers’ input. 

Give Your Website A Professional Glow 

Creating an optimal booking experience on a first-class website is key. Use the feature on the WeTravel platform for a customizable private booking page


As 2024 creeps in, with it comes an array of interesting trends in the travel industry. 

From a surge in sustainable travel to a growing trend of finding the ultimate “dupe”, it is an exciting time to be a tour operator, offering enriching experiences that have the power to create long-lasting memories for your clientele. 

While you shouldn’t change your entire business model to match the latest trends, staying informed and keeping your offers dynamic and in line with customer preferences is essential for successful tour bookings. 

Looking for ways to streamline your booking and payment process? Give WeTravel a try (for free). We can help you manage your entire operation from one platform. Go on, see for yourself.