Circle Insights

Most impactful holiday and air travel trends for 2024

Brie Edwards-Adams
Paul Sene

If the last few years of pandemic uncertainty and budget constraints amidst the ongoing cost of living crisis have shown us anything, it’s that travellers have become increasingly conscious of the cost of travel. As a result, they’ve placed increased value on having an optimal travel experience to justify its cost.  

We examined the current driving factors behind optimised travel experiences in our Voice of the Nation Q1 2024 survey, where we asked 2,000 respondents how they felt about an array of travel changes and how the cost of living, airline loyalty and more have impacted their travel choices into 2024. 

So, what shared values and needs do travellers of all ages and affluence levels seem to have in common this year? How have these forthcoming trends been affecting the wider travel industry?

Travel spend will increase in 2024 despite decreases in most other sectors

When asked whether their anticipated spending will decrease, increase or stay the same this year compared to last, holidays actually rank third among areas people expect to increase spend in 2024– with groceries and commuting costs coming in first and second– despite an overall expected decrease in spend in other areas this year.  

Plans to holiday abroad skew significantly on affluence lines 

From Boomers to Gen Z, more than half of respondents from every age group plan to holiday in some capacity– both in the UK or abroad– in 2024.  

When it comes to taking holidays abroad, 38% of respondents are making plans and budget room to do so this year. Of these respondents, as much as 50% come from the higher affluence Acorn categories of Established Affluence and Thriving Neighbourhoods. Approximately one in three of the lower affluence categories of Steadfast Communities, Stretched Society and Low Income Living share the same sentiment.  

A quarter of all respondents have no intention of travelling this year, and 22% plan to visit another part of the UK, which would appear to be in an effort to save on travel spending. In reality, no matter where you go for your next holiday, the same proportion of respondents agree that cost will be the biggest determinant behind their destination. 36% of those staying in the UK say that they will go on holiday within the UK because they prefer it to going abroad, showing that while cutting travel costs is a major driver, it is not necessarily the only one.  

Half of respondents claim no loyalty to an airline

When asked what the contributing factors towards airline loyalty are, half responded that they have no loyalty to any airlines.  

Roughly one-third (31%) of those who are loyal towards an airline felt that their loyalty is driven by more than one factor, such as convenience, discounts and luggage/check-in benefits. In comparison, 18% felt there was only a singular driving factor behind their airline loyalty, showing that where loyalty is in play, it is usually multi-factorial. 

Convenience is the most significant driver behind airline choices

Apart from price, respondents’ most significant contributing factors towards airline choices when booking trips came down to flight times and route, both of which are also the only factors heavily skewed by affluence. Nearly 60% of the Established Affluence and Thriving Neighbourhoods category respondents reported this to be significant, compared to just 35% among Low Income Living. Gen Z, however, scored this even lower, with just 32% finding this to be significant and instead placing more emphasis on the ease of booking at 37%. 

Families are much more affected by cost this year

In terms of holiday planning this year, one-third of respondents said that they wanted to keep their holiday costs as low as possible to maximise value for money and felt that costs would be the greatest determinant of where they holiday in 2024. Among those with children, 40% said that cost is the biggest determinant of where they go on holiday. 

Sustainable transport options appeal much more to Gen Z

Of all demographics, Gen Z appear to be the most motivated by sustainability when planning their holidays, both in terms of those taking immediate action but also those who would like to travel but feel unable to presently. In fact, 18% of Gen Z respondents said that they will be cutting down on air travel in 2024 due to their growing environmental concerns, compared to just 8% among the rest of the population. 

How CACI can help?  

As the travel industry evolves with travellers’ changing sentiments, holiday and air travel operators must be equipped with the necessary understanding of who their customers are, what their motivations for travel are, what they seek from their travel experiences and how to deliver optimal experiences that will drive loyalty. Data is integral to this, which is where CACI excels in providing support.  

To find out how we can keep you and your team amidst turbulent times, get in touch with us today.

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Brie Edwards-Adams
Paul Sene