Skip to main content

Tourism trends: Domestic and international tourist market

  Posted in Resources  Last updated 15/02/2024

What are tourism trends?

Tourism trends reflect evolving patterns and preferences in travel, influenced by factors such as technological advancements, socio-economic shifts, and changing consumer behaviours. These trends can range from the rise of eco-friendly and sustainable travel to the growing popularity of experiential and personalised vacations.

Table of contents

Why keep up with new trends in tourism?

Keeping up with new trends in tourism is crucial for hotel owners to stay competitive and meet the evolving expectations of guests. It enables:

Market positioning and brand differentiation

Adapting to trends allows hotels to position themselves strategically in a crowded market, highlighting unique selling points that resonate with current consumer interests. For instance, embracing eco-friendly practices can attract environmentally conscious travellers, setting a hotel apart as a sustainable choice. Additionally, innovative offerings based on trends, such as offering local culinary experiences or wellness retreats, can significantly enhance brand differentiation, making the hotel more memorable and likely to be recommended.

Increased revenue opportunities

Trends towards personalised travel experiences open avenues for upselling tailored services, from customised room settings to bespoke tour packages, directly impacting revenue. Meanwhile, understanding demand trends allows for dynamic pricing strategies, maximising occupancy and revenue during peak periods and stimulating demand when needed.

Guest experience and satisfaction

Trends like mobile check-in/check-out, in-room technology, and AI-driven customer service can significantly elevate the guest experience, making it more convenient, personalised, and engaging. Furthermore, catering to trends in experiential travel by offering immersive local experiences or themed stays can lead to higher guest satisfaction and stronger emotional connections with the brand.

Operational excellence and sustainability

Implementing the latest technological trends can streamline operations, from automated booking systems to energy-efficient facilities management, reducing costs and environmental impact. On that note, adopting sustainable and responsible tourism practices not only meets the growing demand for eco-friendly travel but also contributes to long-term operational savings and compliance with regulatory standards.

Future-proofing the business

Keeping abreast of trends enables hotels to adapt more swiftly to market changes, making them more resilient to disruptions such as economic downturns or shifts in consumer behaviour. Understanding emerging trends helps in strategic planning, ensuring that investments in marketing, renovations, or expansions are aligned with future market demands.

Capitalise on tourism trends with SiteMinder

Stay in control and reach guests around the globe via SiteMinder’s smart platform, built to deliver unbeatable revenue results for hotels.

Learn more

Emerging trends in tourism

Global tourism trends

2024 is witnessing a fascinating evolution in global tourist preferences and behaviours

The allure of urban landscapes is on the rise, with city breaks becoming increasingly sought-after for their vibrant culture and bustling energy. 

Meanwhile, the pressing narrative of climate change is reshaping future itineraries, as cooler climes begin to draw more visitors, offering a respite from the heat intensified by global warming.

Family vacations are experiencing a revival, signalling a renewed appreciation for cherished moments spent with loved ones. 

When it comes to luxury vs budget travel, travellers are willing to spend more – where they see value. Otherwise they are combating inflation by choosing cheaper rooms or purchasing packages.

Television and cinema continues to cast its spell on travel enthusiasts. A staggering number of travellers are now charting their next adventures inspired by the locales of their favourite flicks and series, underscoring the profound impact of storytelling on travel choices.

Popular destinations are becoming more diverse. Nations like the Dominican Republic, Mexico, Greece, and Colombia are climbing the ranks of traveller hotspots, thanks to a blend of safety, affordability, and improved connectivity​​.

As live events make a roaring comeback, the star power of icons like Taylor Swift is notably transforming travel patterns, with tour announcements sparking surges in searches and bookings to concert venues across the globe​​.

Lastly, off-the-beaten-path destinations like the secluded corners of Peru, the historic mystique of Tangiers, the untouched wilderness of Argentine Patagonia, and the tranquil waterways of New Zealand are emerging as the sanctuaries for those seeking solace in togetherness and the beauty of nature’s embrace​​.

Domestic tourism trends

The essence of domestic travel, where the journey begins and ends within the same country, is undergoing a remarkable transformation. 

For example, a recent “Cultivating Luxury” market trends report by PoB Hotels unveils that the UK’s domestic travel scene is set to be dominated by gastronomy-inspired getaways in 2024. An overwhelming 82% of domestic voyagers are drawn to culinary experiences, making it the highlight of their journeys. 

The report further reveals an uptick in travel plans among affluent individuals, with over half aiming for “three or more” leisurely escapes within the UK, a significant leap from the past year. Additionally, a notable 27% of this demographic is looking forward to extended stays of “three or more nights” on their UK adventures, indicating a deeper exploration of local charms​​.

In light of recent global events, including geopolitical tensions and economic pressures like rising travel costs and inflation, a shift towards more proximate destinations is helping the balance between domestic and international travel. This trend is anticipated to bolster tourism in regions such as the US, Europe, and Africa. Countries like Kenya, Gambia, Seychelles, and soon Rwanda are enhancing this appeal by easing visa protocols for fellow African continent explorers, promising a richer tapestry of cultural exchanges and experiences. Moreover, the resurgence of major festivals and events on a global scale promises a plethora of unforgettable experiences, all accessible across international borders without the need for lengthy flights​.

Current tourism trends: How to attract international tourists

The international travel market is of course, by nature, very complex and diverse. However, international travel is a universal activity that almost every human with the means to do so enjoys. Either that or it becomes a necessity for them if they have to travel for work or to visit family.

There are many reasons people travel internationally and that’s why it’s such a growth market, and such a valuable one for many hoteliers.

Attracting international travellers to your hotel may differ in difficulty depending on what region and location you’re located in. By the same token, the level of prioritisation you give to capturing international travellers will also be impacted by these factors.

In an era where the impact of technology and data has never been larger, it should be easier for travellers to navigate the maze of destination and booking options to make the right travel choices and be more satisfied with their trips. In the same breath, there should be more opportunities for travel marketers to apply specific, personal, strategies and make dramatic increases in conversion rates and optimise guest experiences.

These days, some travellers will prioritise technology and personalised service, while others could grow to see it as a hindrance to their experience.

The types of services offered to travellers will be impacted by technological advancements in artificial intelligence, robotics, 3D printing and virtual reality. But ultimately, travellers will still have the same human needs as they have always had – it is their purchasing behaviour that will vary.

The enduring explorer

These travellers have an unwilling desire to visit new places, despite whatever pressures they may be facing.

Based on SiteMinder’s Changing Traveller Report, 57% of travellers intend to travel more than they did the previous year, while 91% will travel at least the same amount.

On top of that, the number of people planning to travel ‘internationally only’ has doubled.

The digital dependent

Travellers are also characterised by the time they spend online, which has now exceeded six-and-a-half hours a day globally. Travel planning is obviously linked to this. 

Globally, 70% of travellers admit that social media has an influence on how they discover accommodation, while 50% are warming to the idea of using AI to generate accommodation recommendations.

The memory maker

Travellers are also becoming more intentional about how they cultivate enriching and memorable experiences on their trips.

Three-in-four reported to SiteMinder that what they need from their accommodation provider has changed within the last year. 

One-in-two globally put a high focus on their property in this respect, saying they would spend considerable time or most of their time at their accommodation.

The conscious collaborator

Travellers no longer see their accommodation as just a bed and a roof over their head. They want to work with their chosen property and enjoy a stay that feels designed for them.

When it came to hearing more from their accommodation, 88% said they would be happy to – with 35% also keen to be delivered personalised offers.

Future of tourism trends and the tourist market

The future of tourism and the tourist market is poised to evolve significantly, shaped by emerging trends and shifting traveller preferences. Here are some potential developments we might see:

  • Sustainability at the forefront: With growing environmental awareness, sustainable travel will become even more central. Tourists are expected to increasingly opt for eco-friendly accommodations, low-carbon transport options, and experiences that contribute positively to the local ecosystem and community.
  • Technology integration: The integration of advanced technologies like AI, VR, and IoT will enhance the travel experience, offering personalised itineraries, virtual tours, and seamless connectivity. Blockchain could also play a role in secure, transparent bookings and loyalty programs.
  • Experiential travel: The demand for unique, immersive experiences will continue to rise. Travellers will seek out activities that offer a deep dive into local cultures, cuisines, and traditions, moving away from generic tourist attractions towards more authentic, off-the-beaten-path experiences.
  • Health and wellness tourism trends: The focus on health and wellness will intensify, with tourists looking for destinations that offer wellness retreats, spa experiences, outdoor activities, and culinary tours focused on healthful eating.
  • Bleisure travel: The blend of business and leisure travel, or ‘bleisure’, is expected to grow, driven by remote work trends. Professionals will extend business trips for leisure purposes, seeking destinations that can cater to both productivity and relaxation.
  • Microcations and staycations: Shorter, more frequent trips, or ‘microcations’, along with staycations, will become popular choices for travellers seeking quick breaks without the hassle of long-distance travel.
  • Digital nomadism: With the rise of remote working, destinations offering ‘digital nomad visas’ and facilities catering to long-term stays for remote workers will attract a new wave of travellers.
  • Accessible tourism: Greater emphasis will be placed on making travel accessible to everyone, including people with disabilities, ensuring that accommodations, attractions, and transportation are inclusive and barrier-free.
  • Cultural and heritage preservation: Tourism that supports the preservation of cultural and historical sites will gain traction, with more tourists participating in conservation efforts and educational tours.
  • Safety and security: In the wake of global challenges, including health crises and geopolitical tensions, tourists will prioritise destinations known for their safety, stability, and robust health infrastructure.

Travel audiences are changing too. In the latest edition of SiteMinder’s Changing Traveller Report, we uncovered 4 key audiences:

  • The Enduring Explorer. Relentlessly prioritising ‘the adventure’, the enduring explorer categorises travel less as a luxury and more as a fundamental aspect of being human. Travel, to them, is both a right and a means of regaining control in an otherwise relentless world.
  • The Digital Dependent. Trying to limit their screen time, but bound to their devices, today’s traveller relies on a growing network of technology platforms before making any decision, including where to stay.
  • The Memory Maker. While travel flows are normalising, today’s traveller is not. Their evolution is set on a different plain. The memory maker is fixated on the unique and the new, and is drawn to the road not yet travelled.
  • The Conscious Collaborator. An ally to the industry, today’s traveller is driven to create meaningful connections via their accommodation stay.

You can see a clear overlap between these changing audiences and both global and domestic tourism trends. Ensure that your hotel can appeal to these new audiences to ensure that you can capitalise on changing preferences and requirements.

By Dean Elphick

Dean is the Senior Content Marketing Specialist of SiteMinder, the leading technology provider delivering hoteliers unbeatable revenue results. Dean has made writing and creating content his passion for the entirety of his professional life, which includes more than six years at SiteMinder. Through content, Dean aims to provide education, inspiration, assistance and value for accommodation businesses looking to improve the way they run their operations achieve their goals.

Unlock the full revenue potential of your hotel

Watch demo