Sustainable, personalised travel will be a winning combination in 2024

April 10, 2024

CAVU examines some of the key travel trends for 2024

In 2024, many of the travel trends from 2023 look set to continue, with passengers taking a more considered approach to travel, prioritising the planning phase and requiring that operators not only meet their needs but also anticipate them.

Operators, meanwhile, will need to cater for customers’ increasing expectation of affordable personalisation, while navigating their own budget constraints.

The quest for sustainable travel will also continue to dominate in 2024, as travellers look to reduce their environmental impact and demand that operators do the same. As global temperatures continue to rise, however, customers are set to change not only how but also where they travel.

AI will streamline tasks for customers and operators alike

In 2024, using AI for trip planning will become mainstream, while operators will increasingly rely on the technology to improve efficiencies in staffing and budgets.

AI is becoming established as a key tool in travel planning

As discussed previously, the cost-of-living crisis is changing the way passengers travel, with customers putting more emphasis on the planning phase to ensure they get as memorable and personalised an experience as possible. AI has emerged as a key aide to trip planning in 2023 and we expect it to become mainstream in 2024.

AI services such as Expedia’s beta test of a ChatGPT integration can help customers to narrow down and refine their preferences. Rather than being faced with an overwhelming list of options, customers are guided toward the travel choices that best suit their needs.

From an operator point of view, AI can help to streamline sales and customer service tasks and ensure faster, always on responses, boosting customer satisfaction and loyalty levels. Using AI-powered chatbots to cover gaps in customer service hours, for example, will ensure that customer queries can be dealt with in real time.


Understanding passenger behaviour is critical for operators

As discussed in our recent webinar on AI in the travel industry, Manchester Airports Group has been working with Copenhagen Optimization to help it forecast passenger foot traffic and better staff its channels, leading to an extra 530,000 passengers getting through security within the target 15-minute window. MAG has now extended the partnership to include stand and gate allocations at its three airports in 2024.

MAG hopes that by better predicting passenger footfall and movement through the terminals it can unlock capacity and use its existing infrastructure as efficiently as possible. As well as streamlining operations, this will also boost satisfaction by giving customers a more seamless journey through the airport.

Eco-tourism will boom amid increasing sustainability concerns

Sustainability concerns have not only changed the way some passengers are travelling, but also where they’re travelling to.

Voluntary carbon offset schemes will continue to grow

While environmental concerns are leading some to avoid air travel altogether, increasing numbers of those continuing to fly are paying to mitigate the environmental impact of their flight.

Airlines including British Airways and Delta offer an optional surcharge to offset carbon emissions, while companies like Cool Effect allow consumers to calculate and offset their emissions from travel or donate to carbon projects.

The use of voluntary offsets will continue until 2027, when the global Carbon Offsetting and Reduction Scheme for International Aviation (CORSIA) becomes mandatory, requiring airlines and aircraft operators to offset growth in CO2 emissions above 2020 levels.

In the meantime, growing pressure from consumers and impending regulatory deadlines mean operators  are well on their way with carbon offsetting initiatives. S&P estimates that, by 2025, airlines will depend on carbon offsets to decarbonise 97% of their operations.


Research into alternative fuels will remain a priority

Some airlines – including JetBlue and EasyJet – have opted to move away from carbon offsets to instead focus on sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) to help them achieve net zero emissions. Virgin Atlantic recently made headlines by completing the first transatlantic flight – from Heathrow to JFK – powered only by SAF.

While the use of alternative fuels is a long way from being operationally or commercially viable on a large scale, Virgin Atlantic’s success has been seen as a step toward proving that greener air travel is possible. Developments in this space will only ramp up in the coming years given global emissions targets.

Cool-cationing is redrawing the tourist map

The rise of so-called “cool-cationing” is creating new tourist destinations, as travellers start to avoid the soaring temperatures of traditional holiday hotspots and instead choose cooler options, especially if travelling with children.

In research commissioned by, 51% of people stated that climate change will impact the way they plan their travel in 2024, with 56% saying they will use their holiday to cool down. As global temperatures continue to rise, this could potentially require a shift in the destinations that airlines serve.

Customers want a seamless experience, but not at any cost

Customers are taking a more considered approach to travel due to sustainability and budget concerns. This means that, in 2024, operators will have to work harder than ever to deliver seamless travel experiences in an affordable and environmentally conscious way.

AI will be one tool to help deliver against these growing customer expectations, helping operators to really interrogate customer behaviour and then deliver the services needed to ensure customer loyalty and satisfaction.