Amadeus, a leading travel technology company, has released its annual report forecasting major trends that will shape and disrupt the travel industry over the next two years.
The 2024 Travel Trends report draws on data and input from industry experts worldwide.
Amadeus predicts meaningful trends centered around the evolving needs and preferences of travelers in a post-pandemic world.
Music Festivals Spark Tourism Boom
One major trend is the rise of “music tourism,” with travelers booking vacations around concerts and festivals worldwide. The report found flight bookings to host cities spiked after concert announcements.
Searches to Athens jumped 62% and bookings 80% week-over-week after a Coldplay show was announced. Similarly, Romania saw a 91% increase in flight searches and 436% spike in bookings for 2024 after the band added Bucharest to its tour.
The trend benefits European economies. Last year, 1.1 million people visited the UK for concerts, spending £6.6 billion. Amadeus analysts foresee continued growth as bands schedule more ambitious world tours and loyal fans plan trips around them. They predict festivals like Primavera Sound in Spain and Glastonbury in the UK will draw 500,000 attendees this year.
Influence of Social Media Stars Rises
Another 2024 trend is the growing influence of social media personalities on travel decisions. Rather than just providing inspiration, popular influencers are becoming travel providers themselves. Through platforms like TikTok, Instagram and YouTube, they share booking links and facilitate direct reservations for their own curated tours.
Amadeus pointed to surges in flight bookings and hotel searches when destinations trend on TikTok. They cited an 85% increase after #amsterdam garnered 6.9 billion views last November. The report suggests social media will continue replacing search engines for trip research among Gen Z travelers.
Electric Aircraft to Open New Travel Routes
Amadeus expects “electric skyways” enabled by flying taxi and eVTOL aircraft to emerge as a more sustainable alternative for urban, regional, and island transportation. Companies worldwide are developing electric aviation networks, with plans to launch services as soon as 2024.
For example, Volocopter aims to provide electric air taxi flights during the 2024 Paris Olympics. Surcar Airlines is adopting hydrogen-electric engines for its Canary Islands seaplane network. Analysts predict installing vertiports across cities will allow electric aircraft to reduce emissions on first- and last-mile passenger journeys.
AI Drives Hyper-Personalized Planning
The report also highlights artificial intelligence as an evolving trend set to transform online trip planning and customer service. Since launching late last year, ChatGPT has pioneered advanced “generative AI” capabilities. Amadeus expects similar AI to deliver instant, personalized recommendations to travelers through virtual chat tools.
Some examples include Expedia launching a ChatGPT plugin to mimic a travel agent and TripAdvisor announcing new AI-powered chat features. Analysts foresee AI chatbots handling routine customer queries, enabling human agents to focus on higher-value, specialist needs.
More Options for Premium Air Travelers
Finally, Amadeus forecasts airlines responding to lifestyle changes by expanding premium class travel. They predict more unbundled business class fares to open access and generate revenue.
At the same time, carriers will add bespoke, ultra-luxury offerings like private suites and double beds. Amadeus cites trends of travelers across generations aspiring for premium experiences and being unwilling to revert to economy post-pandemic.
As evidence, US airlines plan to increase premium seating 25-75% to capture profits.
Impact on the ETIAS
The influx of visitors to Europe predicted in Amadeus' report will place additional demands on the European Travel Information and Authorization System (ETIAS).
ETIAS requires pre-travel authorization for visitors from over 60 countries entering the Schengen Area visa-free.
With spikes in music tourism and social media-influenced bookings, more travelers will need to complete the online ETIAS application and pay a €7 fee before their trips. This will test the system's capacity to efficiently process extra volume while maintaining security standards.
The trends toward premium air travel and electric aviation could also drive increases in ETIAS applications if new routes expand visa-free entry options.
As an automated system, ETIAS aims for rapid approvals so legitimate tourists aren't deterred. However, implementation teams may need to scale up infrastructure and staffing to handle the Amadeus-projected rise in Schengen Area arrivals through 2024.
The Amadeus Travel Trends report provides valuable intelligence for policymakers and industry players on emerging shifts in tourism demand, transportation, technology, and traveler priorities. As borders re-open, data-driven insights will be key for travel providers across the EU to align products and services with changing traveler desires in 2024 and beyond.