Strategy European Travel Trends 2024: European Travelers Confident About Spending Power

New Accor report examines travel intentions and the factors influencing their trips.

Europeans are confident about their travel spending power in 2024 despite the ongoing cost of living pressure across the continent, according to a new report from Accor, the world leading hospitality group.

The report, based on research carried out among 8,000 travellers from across seven European countries, reveals that over half (54%) believe they will have more money to spend on travel in 2024 than they did in 2023, compared to just 11% who say they’ll have less to spend.

Those in Poland were the most confident about their travel spending power this year compared to last, with 64% expecting an increased budget compared to just 7% expecting a decrease. Those in Germany were the second most confident (61% versus 13%), and even in Italy, the least confident of the seven nations, there were almost four times as many travellers expecting increased budgets (44%) as those anticipating reduced budgets (12%).

The number of overseas leisure trips people expect to take is slightly up over the number they took last year, and international “workation” or “bleisure” trips – that is, trips that combine both business and leisure – will also see an increase. With working patterns increasingly flexible and employers ever-more willing to enable greater latitude around their employees’ work trips, a noteworthy one in five European travellers (19%) expects to take at least one trip combining work and play in 2024.

The hotspots of southern Europe are still top of the list for European travellers, with one in four (23%) planning a trip to Spain this year, followed by Italy (18%), France (16%), Portugal and Greece (13%). Outside of Europe, 16% of European travellers intend to take a trip to North or Central America this year, with the same proportion planning a trip to Asia.

While our comprehensive and robust wellness offer is rollout-ready, it also aligns perfectly with the essence of each destination with a sustainable approach to ensure exceptional returns in both guest satisfaction and sustainable growth.

Cost Pressures Despite Confidence

While spending more overall, finances aren’t far from consumers’ thoughts – with the vast majority (87%) taking measures to reduce costs where they can as a result of inflation and a heightened cost of living. From opting for more affordable accommodation (27%) to reducing their spending money (27%), cost-saving measures may shape travel offerings in the year ahead. 

Climate Consciousness

Seven in ten travellers (71%) say sustainability is important to their travel decisions. Of the European countries sampled, travellers in Italy are the most focused on green travel, with 82% claiming that having sustainable options is important to their decision-making process. This is followed by Spain (78%) and Poland (77%), with British travellers lagging behind (61%).

Three in four travellers (77%) say climate concerns will have an actual impact on their travel or booking behaviour. Actions people will take include travelling less frequently (11%); flying less (14%); and actively seeking sustainable accommodation providers or tour operators (10%). 

However, despite their good intentions, travellers acknowledge that there are obstacles preventing them from making sustainable travel choices, including conflicting cost pressures, cited by 38% of respondents, and a perceived lack of information (23%). 

Longer Peak Season

Climate change is also partially contributing to another trend; peak season avoidance. One in three respondents across Europe (32%) say they will purposefully take a holiday outside peak season to reduce costs; while one in five (19%) expects to do so to avoid the risk of heat waves, such as those seen last summer in southern Europe.

Some warm weather destinations may see a longer tourism season as a result, with some tour operators already offering holidays in warmer destinations.

Spheres of Influence

Travellers take recommendations from friends and family first around where to go on holiday, with 35% saying their recommendations influence their holiday plans, followed by 29% who are swayed by online reviews on sites such as TripAdvisor or hotel websites. 

Loyalty also counts. Trusted operators and brands are vital to people’s choices, with 17% citing them as an important factor. Being a member of the loyalty programme of a particular accommodation provider or tour operator is also crucial for 6% of respondents.

One in six (16%) are influenced by destinations they have seen on TV programmes or movies. “Set-jetting”, the trend for holidays to TV show or movie filming locations, has been popularised with influxes of visitors to landscapes made famous by shows such as The White Lotus and Game of Thrones. Some travel firms have even created TV-inspired itineraries and experiences to capture the interest. 

Some 12% of respondents are influenced by destinations they have seen on social media – the same as those who are influenced by advice from a travel agent.

Hotel Heaven

Hotels dominate as the most popular type of holiday accommodation for European travellers, with two-thirds (65%) planning to check-in in 2024. When it comes to picking a hotel, cost and location are understandably the most important factors. However, travellers are also drawn to hotels that offer great in-person service, with 21% citing it as a key factor when booking a stay. Other booking drivers include great food and drink (37%), great ambiance (17%) and embracing the local destination (11%).

Other insights and trends revealed in the report include:

  • Solo travellers: 17% of European travellers will go on a solo trip in 2024.
  • Pets: 9% of holidaymakers plan to take their pets away with them.
  • A deeper connection: 36% of respondents say it is important to be immersed in the local cultures and communities that they visit on holiday and 13% need to feel they are making a positive contribution to the destination.
  • Recharging the body and soul: rest and relaxation is the most important thing about a holiday to 44% of travellers, and 15% are currently in need of a break because they have an uneven work-life balance. 36% say it is important to choose a trip that allows them to look after their physical and mental wellbeing and leave their stresses behind.
  • Concerts, competitions and carnivals: 9% of travellers will take a trip based around food and drink such as wine tasting or a food festival; 9% around a music event such as a concert – like the Taylor Swift effect that is boosting hospitality across the globe; and 6% will take a trip based around a sports event, with the Paris 2024 Olympics & Paralympics top of the bill as the major sporting attraction of the year.
  • Roads, railways and waterways: 19% plan to take a road trip, 9% a boat trip or cruise and 3% a luxury rail trip this year.

The study highlights other crucial long-term trends. Consumer focus on wellness is here to stay. Bleisure is here to stay. Travel businesses must have a strategy to cater to these evolving needs, capture this significant demand and stay ahead of the competition.

Patrick Mendes CEO Premium, Midscale & Economy, Europe & North Africa

Download the New Accor European Travel Trends Report