March 20, 2024

Will 2024 Be the Biggest Travel Boom Year Ever?

As we enter the latter portion of the first quarter of 2024, advisors are predicting what may be the strongest year the travel industry has ever experienced.

“As a company, we are on pace to double our 2023 goals in 2024,” said Crafty Getaways Chief Executive Officer Sam Yaffe. “Consumers are ready to spend and book with an expert. Our referral bookings are also on pace to double in 2024, as happy customers pass along our information to friends and family.”

Yaffe added that travelers are spending more on luxury vacations. “Whether it’s private tours, upgraded rooms or business class flights, most want an incredible experience,” he said.

In the view of TravelSalesGroup President and CEO Heather Di Pietro, luxury travel will gain further momentum this year. “My biggest prediction for luxury travel is that it will continue to be very strong and sales will continue to grow, making 2024 our best year yet for luxury travel,” she said.

“In our offices, some other segments are cooling just slightly as far as per person spend. Immediately post pandemic there was a huge demand for high-end experiences like private tours, luxury transfers and the best suites in the house.

“I think it was an after-effect of being stuck in their homes for such a long time. People who previously were not necessarily our usual luxury travelers were booking more customized, more expensive vacation experiences.”

Di Pietro added, “The luxury segment is always our strongest and that continues to be the case. It seems to be the last one to drop and the first one to recover when new challenges strike the hospitality industry. My luxury travelers are still calling and emailing in droves.”

The only caveat, she said, is that the cost of airfare to some destinations is making some mid-level luxury travelers hesitant to book vacations. “But for our higher-end, luxury travelers, nothing has changed. They are still wanting unique, custom experiences versus cookie cutter trips.”

Chris Caulfield, a CruiseOne franchise owner, also believes 2024 may be the biggest year ever for travel. “In many ways it has already hit that mark despite being so early in the year. Demand is high, as is pricing,” he said. “Many clients are already reserving 2025 to ensure they get the cruise they want and lock in pricing.”

Although Krouse Travel CEO/Director of Sales Vickie Everhart said the agency is off to a slower start in the first quarter of 2024 compared to the same period in 2023, she is nonetheless optimistic about business going forward.

“Requests have definitely picked up in March and I’m feeling confident that we’ll match or surpass 2023, which was our best year ever,” she said. The number of reservations might be fewer, but spending is higher, which is an ideal situation.”

Meanwhile, anecdotal evidence from advisors was reinforced by the 2024 State of Travel Report, which was published by Going, a company that conducts online searches for the best flights for its members. “The ‘revenge travel’ trend of 2022 and 2023 shows no signs of slowing, with 54 percent of respondents saying they’ll take even more international trips in 2024 than they did in 2023,” according to the report, which was conducted in November 2023 and included 2,695 respondents.

“More than half (54 percent ) of people plan to take more international trips in 2024 than they did last year and more than one-third (35 percent) plan to take more domestic trips,” the report found. “The vast majority of respondents plan to take at least two domestic and two international trips in 2024.”

The report also found that upward of “half (56 percent) of respondents plan to spend more on international travel this year than last, and nearly one-third (32 percent) expect to increase their spending on domestic travel.”

All things considered, as demand for more customized experiences continues to rise, consumers are increasingly understanding the value that advisors bring to the travel experience, advisors said. “Consumers are looking for unique, custom, out-of-this-world experiences and travel professionals have the expertise, partnerships and connections to get it done,” Yaffe said.

Copyright 2024 Northstar Travel Media, LLC. All rights reserved. From By Claudette Covey.

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