Skyscanner has published a new report exploring the latest trends in global travel. Titled Skyscanner Horizons: 2023/4 destination and booking insights, the report unpacks and explores a combination of consumer survey and proprietary search and booking data to provide a unique view of how travellers are thinking about their plans for the next 12 months.
Survey data from 18,000 consumers in 15 markets reveals insights about key indicators such as travel propensity, spend, trip type, mobile device actions and the trip planning process, including the top sources of destination inspiration.
For travel planning, the report showed a positive outlook for 2024 in terms of travel demand, with 42% of travellers planning to travel more and 39% planning to spend more. Tops flight ancillary requests include insurance, seat selection, food, baggage, and lounge, where 20% of travellers surveyed indicated a willingness to upgrade to business or first class.
Airfares (30%) and hotel (21%) costs are the biggest decision-making factors in travel, and it was found that travellers highly engaged on mobile devices in the travel planning and booking process – researching destinations (48%), comparing flight and hotel options (47%), booking (40%), and a fifth (22%) having used an AI chatbot.
Cultural experiences top the 2024 agenda, with destination choice influenced not by just the weather (60%), food (58%) and culture (54%), but the overall vibe (41%). Globally, YouTube is the top source of travel inspiration, followed by word-of-mouth recommendations (35%) and Instagram (33%), as well as guidebooks (27%) and TikTok (21%).
In addition, Skyscanner has identified seven travel vibes and trip types that travellers are seeking in 2024 – gig tripping, main character energy, budget bougie foodie, destination zzz, analogue adventurers, celebration vacationers and lux-for-less seekers.
As for booking, Europe, the Middle East and Africa (EMEA) travellers are booking flights further in advance, with most booking over 90 days ahead for both shorthaul and longhaul trips; meanwhile, Asia-Pacific travellers show greater volatility in shorthaul booking windows compared to other regions. For longhaul flights, there’s been a surge in last-minute bookings.
Trending destinations for EMEA travellers include Rayong (Thailand), Ouarzazate (Morocco), Pristina (Kosovo), and Klagenfurt (Austria), while for Asia-Pacific travellers, six destinations in Japan dominate the top 10 list.
The report also features commentary from industry thought leaders such as Hugh Aitken from Skyscanner, and Nick Hall of Digital Tourism Think Tank.
“Airlines continue to restore and re-orientate their global networks to meet traveller demand. At the same time, travellers in many markets are signalling a willingness to upgrade their fares and build customised itineraries that provide them with the best value,” said Hugh Aitken, vice president, strategic relations and development, Skyscanner.
Nick Hall, CEO of Digital Tourism Think Tank commented: “High travel propensity means destinations must focus on values and experiences. With travel spend a key priority for consumers globally, destinations, along with their industry partners, must focus on value proposition more than ever. Honing in on what sits at the very core of the destination’s brand values is key to winning travellers’ hearts. Yet, driving demand, with timely product proposition, is key to shaping decisions.”
The Skyscanner Horizons: 2023/4 report can be viewed here.