Top Tourism Trends in the United States

by | Nov 17, 2023 | Destination Marketing

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The landscape of travel and tourism continues to evolve, greatly influenced by changes in tourism technology, societal attitudes, and lifestyle preferences. As we look forward to 2024, let’s explore the top trends that will shape the US tourism industry.

1. Set-Jetting Continues its Vogue

Set-jetting,” a term coined to describe traveling to locations featured in movies and TV shows, will persist as a significant trend in 2024. The intrigue of visiting the real-life backdrops of popular entertainment content continues to captivate American travelers, offering them an immersive experience of their favorite fictional worlds. Some popular choice include the following places.

  • King’s Landing from Game of Thrones – Fans flock to Dubrovnik, Croatia, which served as the setting for the Westeros capital.
  • The Lord of the Rings Trilogy Locations – New Zealand’s breathtaking landscapes were transformed into Middle Earth, attracting a swarm of Tolkien fans every year.
  • Downton Abbey’s Highclere Castle – Located in England, this historic structure draws fans eager to experience the grandeur of the Crawley family’s home.
  • Breaking Bad’s Albuquerque – The New Mexico city, where the influential series was shot, offers guided tours to the show’s key locations.
  • Harry Potter’s Hogwarts – The Wizarding World of Harry Potter in Universal Studios (Orlando, Florida, and Hollywood, California) allows fans to step into the famous school of witchcraft and wizardry.

As you can see, the set-jetting trend expands beyond traditional destinations and allows travelers to relive their most cherished on-screen moments.

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2. Value Redefined Through Experience

Travelers are increasingly seeking value through experiences rather than material acquisitions. About 85% of US travelers plan to take the same number, if not more, trips abroad in 2024 compared to 2023, with a focus on authentic, local experiences. This shift in mindset towards experiential travel signifies a desire for deeper connections with destinations and cultures. Consider the following ideas or popular tours.

  • Culinary Tours – A culinary expedition is a fantastic way to explore a region’s culture. These tours often involve visits to local markets, cooking classes with regional ingredients, and dining experiences at traditional restaurants.
  • Wildlife Safaris – Natural reserves and national parks across the globe offer wildlife safaris, allowing travelers to delve into the wild and see exotic animals in their natural habitats.
  • Hiking and Trekking – Outdoor enthusiasts often opt for hiking or trekking expeditions in scenic locales, such as the Appalachian Trail in the US, the Inca Trail in Peru, or the Himalayan foothills.
  • Vineyard Visits – Wine lovers frequently travel to famous wine-producing regions like Napa Valley, Tuscany, or Bordeaux, where they can tour vineyards, learn about wine-making processes, and participate in wine tasting sessions.
  • Historical and Heritage Tours – Traveling to historical sites like the Acropolis in Greece, the Pyramids of Giza in Egypt, or Rome’s Colosseum provides a deeply enriching experience, connecting travelers with the past.
  • Wellness Retreats – These have become increasingly popular, with travelers heading to destinations like Bali, Costa Rica, or India for yoga, meditation, and wellness therapies.
  • Festivals and Cultural Events – Visiting a locale during a traditional festival or event, such as Rio’s Carnival, India’s Holi, or Germany’s Oktoberfest, offers a unique cultural immersion.
  • Volunteer Tourism – Also known as “voluntourism,” this involves traveling to a destination to contribute to a cause, such as wildlife conservation, teaching, or construction projects.

Does your location offer any of these? Perhaps you can explore ways to incorporate these experiences into your current offerings.

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3. Increase in Bleisure Trips

“Bleisure,” a blend of business and leisure travel, is another trend gaining momentum. More professionals are combining business trips with leisure activities, extending their stays to explore destinations. This trend reflects a blurring line between work and personal life, fueled by remote working arrangements.

Consider this scenario: John, a software engineer from Seattle, is scheduled to attend a week-long tech conference in Barcelona. Leveraging the trend of “bleisure,” John decides to extend his stay. His company covers the initial flight and hotel costs for the conference duration. After the event, John takes a few vacation days to delve into the local scene.

He starts his post-conference ‘bleisure’ time by exploring the Gothic Quarter’s narrow medieval streets. He then visits the iconic Sagrada Familia and the Picasso Museum to get his dose of art and architecture. He indulges in local cuisines at vibrant tapas bars and dives into the city’s nightlife.

John also decides to take a quick trip to the beautiful beach town of Sitges, just a short train ride away from Barcelona. By extending his business trip into a personal vacation, he manages to blend work with leisure, making the most out of his travel experience.

How Can We Apply This it Tourism Marketing?

  • Promote Bleisure Opportunities – Market your destination or property as an ideal place for both work and leisure. Highlight local attractions, cultural experiences, and relaxation options to entice business travelers to extend their stay.

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4. Upgraded Air Travel Arrangements

In 2024, 38 percent of U.S. travelers are looking to upgrade their air travel arrangements to Business or First Class. This trend indicates a growing willingness among travelers to invest in comfort and luxury during their journeys.

How Can We Apply This it Tourism Marketing?

  • Upgrade Travel Experiences – Consider offering premium package options that include business or first-class air travel. Highlight the comfort, luxury, and exclusive services this upgrade provides to attract customers willing to invest in high-end travel experiences.

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5. Local Exploration and Sustainable Travel

Exploring locally is a top trend to watch in 2024, with travelers keen on discovering hidden gems in their own backyards. This trend aligns with the increased focus on sustainable travel, as local exploration often involves low-impact activities and supports small businesses.

This is important to know because it means that travelers are becoming more conscious of their impact on the environment and local communities, and are actively seeking sustainable options.

How Can We Apply This it Tourism Marketing?

  • Boost Local Tourism – Implement marketing campaigns focused on promoting local exploration. Highlight off-the-beaten-path attractions, local cuisine, and unique experiences that cater to travelers looking for sustainable and locally-focused trips. This can also support local businesses and foster community development.
  • Introduce Sustainable Practices – Emphasize your company’s sustainability efforts by implementing eco-friendly practices such as reducing plastic usage, promoting responsible tourism, or supporting local conservation projects. This will appeal to the growing number of conscious travelers looking to minimize their environmental impact while exploring new destinations.

By staying current with these travel trends and leveraging AI to enhance your offerings, you can attract and retain customers in the dynamic landscape of 2024. So keep an eye out for emerging technologies and adapt your strategies accordingly to stay ahead in the ever-evolving travel industry. The possibilities are endless, and the growth potential is immense. Start preparing now, and get ready to soar into a successful future.

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It’s Important to Pay Attention to the Rise of AI and Personalization

Automated bookings and personalization are set to increase in 2024. With advancements in artificial intelligence (AI), travel companies can offer personalized recommendations based on travelers’ preferences, enhancing the overall customer experience.

  • Customized Itinerary Suggestions – AI can analyze individual traveler’s interests, past trips, and preferences to suggest tailored itineraries. This includes recommendations on destinations, accommodations, attractions, and even local cuisines.
  • Predictive Analytics – AI-powered predictive analytics can forecast travel trends, helping companies cater to customer demand more accurately. This could include predicting popular travel times, anticipating customer needs, or even suggesting off-the-beaten-path destinations that a traveler may enjoy.
  • Chatbots for 24/7 Customer Service – AI chatbots can provide round-the-clock personalized assistance, answering travelers’ inquiries, providing travel suggestions, and even facilitating bookings. This significantly enhances the customer experience as it saves time and ensures instant support.
  • Dynamic Pricing – AI can help in implementing dynamic pricing strategies, adjusting prices based on factors such as demand, time of booking, and customer preferences. This allows companies to optimize revenue while also offering competitive pricing to customers.
  • Personalized Marketing – AI can help travel companies personalize their marketing campaigns, targeting individual customers with deals, packages, or experiences that align with their interests. This increases the likelihood of bookings and enhances customer satisfaction.
  • Improved Accessibility – Using AI, travel platforms can become more accessible, offering personalized options for travelers with different needs. This can include information about wheelchair-friendly destinations, dietary-specific restaurant recommendations, or hearing-impaired friendly tours.

As AI continues to evolve and become more sophisticated, it is sure to revolutionize the travel industry, providing travelers with a more personalized and seamless experience.  So keep an eye out for AI-powered solutions that can enhance your offerings and attract more customers in 2024.

How Can We Apply This it Tourism Marketing?

  • Leverage AI in Marketing Campaigns – Utilize AI to analyze customer behavior and preferences, curate personalized marketing messages and recommend tailored travel packages. This could significantly enhance customer engagement and conversion rates.

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Local Tourism Trends in the USA for 2024

Local tourism in the USA is expected to flourish in 2024, driven by shorter, frequent trips. The appeal of weekend getaways or short vacations lies in their convenience and affordability. With diverse landscapes and rich cultural heritage, the US offers ample opportunities for mini-adventures, from beach escapes and mountain retreats to city breaks.

In line with the overall trend towards experiential travel, local tourists are also seeking unique, off-the-beaten-path experiences. Whether it’s exploring a new hiking trail, visiting a local craft brewery, or attending a community festival, these experiences allow travelers to engage with their local surroundings in meaningful ways. All of these are good things to think about when putting together a tourism business plan

The tourism trends for 2024 reflect a shift towards more personalized, experiential, and sustainable travel. As the industry continues to adapt to these changes, travelers can look forward to more enriching and memorable journeys.

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