2024 Travel Trends: Expect More Business Travel and AI

Predictions for what’s to come in the travel & hospitality industry in 2024
Getty Images / Morning Consult artwork by Ashley Berry
December 18, 2023 at 5:00 am UTC

Key Takeaways

  • The travel industry enjoyed steady success in 2023, and 2024 looks poised to continue that momentum.

  • Business travel will pick up: Business travel decision-makers are 13 percentage points more likely to say that business travel will increase next year than they are to say it will decrease. That sentiment is even stronger looking further into the future.

  • Generative AI interest will convert into usage: Consumer interest in the technology for travel inspiration and assistance has remained stagnant this year, but this will change as more companies roll out public-facing offerings.

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2023 was a banner year for the travel industry, and the busy holiday season is looking to catapult the industry past not only 2022 booking numbers, but pre-pandemic figures as well. Will it be possible for the industry to keep this strong momentum going in 2024? Read on for key trends to monitor as the travel industry aims to top one of its best years yet. 

Prepare for a business travel boon

Business travelers have an outsized impact on the travel industry. Despite being a smaller audience than leisure travelers, they spend more and greatly contribute to overall revenue for the sector. So their slow return following the pandemic has been heavily felt by the industry and led many to ponder when they will come back in full force.

2024 could be that turning point. Business travel decision-makers — those who “sometimes” or “often” make decisions about where, when and how their direct reports, colleagues or companies as a whole travel for work — are more likely to say that business travel will increase next year than they are to say it will decrease.

Nearly 3 in 10 (28%) business travel decision-makers say work trips will increase in the next year, 13 percentage points higher than employed adults. Looking further into the future, this sentiment is even stronger. Employed adults and business travel decision-makers are both more likely to say work trips will grow in the next five years. 

Business Travel Leaders Predict Increased Work Trips in 2024

Shares of respondents who said whether business travel at their company would increase or decrease in the next year
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Survey conducted Aug. 12-13, 2023, among 2,435 employed U.S. adults, with an unweighted margin of error of +/-2 percentage points. “Stay the same” and “Don’t know/No opinion” responses are not shown.

Beyond increased volume, the industry should be prepared for business travelers to change up their behaviors, which could spread wealth to other areas of the sector that are less favored by the key audience. Vacation rentals, which are typically beloved by families and those taking large group trips, are starting to appeal more to business travelers. In October, 27% of those with plans to travel for business in the next three months said they will stay at a vacation rental, a 5-point increase from the same time last year. 

The most appealing factors of vacation rentals — increased space and quality — are important for business travelers, so it makes sense they may turn to these accommodation options. But to really steal share from hotels, vacation rentals will need to bolster convenience offerings like a smoother check-in and check-out process, which business travelers find more important than leisure travelers. 

Travel brands will place more emphasis on generative AI 

Generative artificial intelligence captured the attention of the general public and just about every industry in 2023 as they raced to incorporate the technology in their offerings. And while the public is clearly intrigued, that interest isn’t accelerating when it comes to specific travel use cases. The share of U.S. adults who said they would be interested in AI-generated personalized travel itineraries, AI-powered flight and hotel recommendations and AI-powered virtual travel agents and customer support has remained relatively consistent since we first began tracking in February 2023.

Consumers Are Most Interested in AI-Powered Flight and Hotel Recommendations

Shares of U.S. adults who said how interested or not interested they are in the following:
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Survey conducted Dec. 7-9, 2023, among a representative sample of 2,204 U.S. adults; each statement was seen by 443 to 514 U.S. adults, with unweighted margins of error between +/-4 and +/-5 percentage points.

While interest in AI for travel may be stagnant, it is reasonably strong, which makes sense given the amount of time it could save potential travelers. Searching, booking and planning a vacation could all become simpler with the right AI assistance, and many companies are hoping to deliver just that: like AirBnB, which promises to create a “whole new AirBnB” with AI at the center of it by mid-2024. The company is making big moves to get there, like its recent acquisition of Gameplanner.AI, a startup cofounded by one of the creators of Siri. Other industry giants like Booking.com, Expedia and Priceline are also making it known they plan on using AI to do everything from improving customer service to planning trips for customers.

Lindsey Roeschke contributed to this analysis.

A headshot photograph of Nicki Zink
Nicki Zink
Deputy Head of Industry Analysis

Nicki Zink is deputy head of Industry Analysis. Her team identifies trends affecting key demographics across food & beverage, travel & hospitality and financial services. Prior to joining Morning Consult, Nicki served as the head of digital intelligence at Purple Strategies, a corporate reputation and strategy firm. She graduated from Miami University with a bachelor’s degree in mass communication. For speaking opportunities and booking requests, please email [email protected].

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