The Tipping Point for Travel Loyalty: Travel Trends for 2024

As the new year draws closer, airlines, travel brands, and the entire travel sector are examining what’s in store for 2024. With stubbornly high inflation still a factor and the “revenge travel” trend losing its luster, can the current travel boom continue into another year?  

Our latest survey report, Travel Trends 2024: Still Planning for Robust Demand, illustrates that 2024 isn’t the year where the wind gets knocked out of the industry’s sails. Many of the consumers we surveyed (64%) plan on ramping up their travel in 2024, not cutting back. 

In other words, 2024 will continue to yield new opportunities for travel brands and loyalty programs to take advantage of positive consumer signals. Our Travel Trends 2024 report looks at the rise of “Bleisure” travel, a trip characterized by business and leisure and some of the challenges facing travel loyalty programs in converting offers into actual bookings. 

Unquenchable Demand for Travel, But Generational Splits Remain 

 Despite concerns about inflation and the rising cost of living, these factors seem to have minimal impact on travelers’ plans, with many intending to travel more in 2024 than they did in the current year, illustrating that the travel boom we are enjoying will continue. But for how long, we don’t know.  

 A core aspect of this trend is the generational influence. Millennials and Generation Z are at the forefront, driving this increased interest in travel. And that behavior aligns with the well-acknowledged preference of younger generations for valuing experiences over material possessions. 

Our latest report, along with our recent Holiday Travel 2023 report, highlights a crucial point: although there is an increase in travel, it doesn't mean that consumers are willing to travel regardless of the cost. The importance of value remains a key consideration for travelers. This presents a substantial opportunity for travel programs to cultivate loyalty and offer more valuable rewards to their members. 

The Challenge (and Opportunity) to Turn Loyalty into Action 

Many businesses are attuned to the growing demand for travel, particularly among younger generations, and have incorporated travel rewards into their loyalty programs. Our research shows that 63% of businesses include travel rewards in these programs, rising to 73% in the financial services sector. And nearly every one of these companies provides direct travel booking options. 

 However, our study also indicates that many businesses aren’t fully leveraging this opportunity despite having the necessary infrastructure. Feedback from loyalty program managers we surveyed reveals key challenges, such as being unable to offer an extensive range of travel options, an inability to offer tailored travel recommendations, and a failure to deliver substantial value to program members. 

These insights are consistent with those from our earlier reports, suggesting that there has been little progress in how businesses approach this aspect of customer and member engagement. 

 Travel loyalty programs hold immense potential, yet companies have struggled to align them with travelers' expectations—and this trend has persisted unchanged into the current year. Our latest report offers valuable insights into travelers' actual perceptions and preferences regarding loyalty programs and travel-related rewards. 

 Armed with these fresh insights, loyalty program managers across various sectors now have a strategic guide to capitalize on the significant and seemingly unmet demand for travel. 

 Travel Trends 2024: Still Planning for Robust Demand is part of the Tipping Point Survey Report Series, which delves into current travel trends and consumer loyalty dynamics. For businesses looking to seize this golden opportunity, staying informed is key – download the report here and sign up to receive our upcoming reports in this series.  

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