Traveler insights Q1 2024: Top destinations and event trends

To help you understand shifting demand patterns and changing traveler behaviors, our quarterly traveler insights look at Expedia Group’s first-party traveler search and booking data. Our Q3 2023 data indicated that traveler confidence remained high as people continued to travel for events and planned short- and long-term trips. 

Diving into the data from Q4 2023, travelers are showing strong interest in several international destinations, including various cities in the Asia-Pacific (APAC) region. Plus, fans from around the world are planning trips to Paris this year to cheer on their favorite athletes and explore the city. With this latest roundup of data insights, let’s look at how you can apply these findings to your marketing strategies to reach and engage travelers.   

Connect with travelers booking early

In Q4 2023, we noticed that travelers are planning trips further in advance, which presents unique opportunities for you to engage with them. Looking at quarterly search patterns, the 180+ day window saw the largest quarter-over-quarter (QOQ) increase — at over 15% globally and nearly 20% for domestic searches — as travelers began planning for mid-year travel. This growth in the 180+ day search window was led by a more than 70% increase in Europe, the Middle East, and Africa (EMEA) and a 10% increase in North America (NORAM).   

How to act on this trend

You can get in front of travelers who are looking and booking early as they plan mid-year trips and end-of-the-year trips. Using TravelAds Sponsored Listings boosts your property’s visibility in the search results, helping you inspire and connect with potential guests as they’re planning and comparing options. Plus, our precise targeting capabilities can help you target travelers based on our exclusive first-party data to drive demand when you need it. 

We know our travelers are highly motivated — that’s supported by findings from GWI’s January 2024 Zeitgeist Study, which is part of our quarterly insights. The study showed that 85% of travelers who recently visited Expedia are planning to take more or the same amount of leisure trips in 2024, compared to 67% of general consumers.* Let’s look at our travel intent data to see what destinations are trending.

Traveler looking at travel options early in their booking journey

Event travel and tour tourism are on the rise 

Looking ahead to summer in the Northern Hemisphere, travelers have their sights set on Paris. In Q4 2023, future searches for July and August to Paris increased by over 20%. Searches for the desired length of stay for trips between July 26-August 11, 2024, showed that the anticipated length of stay increased for visitors across every region, led by a nearly 25% year-over-year (YOY) increase among travelers planning to visit from NORAM and Latin America (LATAM). This predicted increase in length of stay indicates that visitors intend to stay in Paris for an extended time, offering opportunities for local businesses, including hotels, to get in front of travelers as they plan their trips to the City of Light. 

Our Unpack ‘24 report revealed that in 2023 a new level of live music tourism was reached. Now, Expedia Group predicts a “tour tourism” encore in 2024. Almost 70% of travelers polled claim they’re more likely than ever to travel to a concert outside their hometown.** 

How to act on this trend

Leveraging native advertising can help your hotel business stand out from the competition and increase your visibility with travelers by using targeted advertisements that are both contextually relevant and non-disruptive. Including mobile marketing as part of your advertising strategy can elevate your content to travelers who are searching and booking on their phones. For destinations, we can also work with you to optimize your content marketing strategy and create compelling content to ensure it reaches and resonates with your ideal traveler.   

Two travelers attending a concert out of town

APAC cities show major search increases

Following an initial slower recovery post-pandemic, we’ve seen a significant uptick in interest for APAC in recent quarters. In Q4 2023, several APAC cities saw strong global search volume growth YOY, with Guangzhou increasing by 85% and Hong Kong and Shanghai increasing by 35%.   

We also saw strong global interest for APAC from all four super regions, with notable increases in YOY search volume growth in APAC cities. EMEA travelers drove a 70% and 50% YOY increase in searches for Osaka and Kyoto, respectively. LATAM travelers also showed interest in Japan, driving an 85% YOY increase in searches to Tokyo, while APAC travelers drove double-digit YOY search increases to several Chinese cities, including Shenzhen and Macau. NORAM travelers also showed notable YOY search volume increases to Guangzhou (65%), Kyoto (55%), and Osaka (50%). Understanding travelers’ growing interest in different locations can help inform your advertising, and our targeting capabilities can help you engage with and convert these travelers. 

How to act on this trend

For hotels with properties in APAC, pairing TravelAds Sponsored Listings with display advertising can ensure that your brand stays top of mind among travelers searching and planning for their next trip to the region. By using both solutions in tandem, your ads will appear across multiple onsite pages, helping your brand reach travelers at every stage of their shopping journey while driving brand awareness — and increasing your chances of conversion.   

Warm-weather destinations jump in popularity

Looking at the top-searched destinations for Q4 2023, we saw that as temperatures dropped in the Northern Hemisphere, travelers opted for warm-weather getaways. Sunny locales like Orlando, Miami, and Punta Cana jumped in the rankings for the global top-searched destinations. Cancun and Fort Lauderdale also rose in the rankings for the top-searched destinations list for NORAM, and Buenos Aires jumped to No. 5 for LATAM.   

We saw this flock to warm-weather destinations in trending country data as well. U.S. travelers searching for tropical destinations increased during Q4 — with triple-digit QOQ increases in searches from the U.S. to St. Lucia, Aruba, and Curaçao. Findings from the GWI Zeitgeist Study also supported this trend as 46% of those who recently visited Expedia said they’re planning a beach or water vacation this year.  

Cityscape view of Miami along the coast

Advertising without third-party cookies

Navigating the changing landscape of advertising in a cookieless world poses unique challenges for destination marketers looking to reach and engage potential travelers. As third-party cookies are slowly being removed from web browsers, destination marketers will need to find new ways to target and track users across different websites and devices. By partnering with us, however, you’ll have access to our exclusive first-party data along with our refined targeting capabilities to help inform your marketing strategies. At Media Solutions, we’re uniquely positioned to help our partners succeed in a world without third-party cookies and execute insights-led campaigns with precision to drive maximum impact.   

We’re excited to help you connect with travelers booking further in advance and seeking out specific destinations. With over 20 years of experience helping travel brands successfully execute their travel marketing strategies, we can help you reach your ideal traveler wherever they are in their trip-planning journey. To get started, contact us today. 

*GWI January 2024 Zeitgeist Study   
**Unpack ‘24, Expedia Group, 2024 

Jennifer Andre

Vice President, Business Development, Expedia Group Media Solutions

As the global vice president of business development at Expedia Group Media Solutions, Jennifer oversees the global partner-facing team that connects advertisers with the hundreds of millions of travelers across Expedia Group's websites and apps. With more than 20 years of experience working in the online travel industry, Jennifer previously worked at Orbitz and Travelocity. Jennifer frequently travels around the world, but calls Connecticut home.

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