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'Revenge Travel' Meets Travel Reprioritization

The era of 'revenge travel' seems to be fading, with only 11 percent of Americans by the end of 2023 still aiming to make up for lost trips. However, there's a noticeable shift in Americans' perception of travel as a priority. According to Deloitte's '2024 Travel Outlook,' consumers are displaying a sustained interest in travel, transitioning from a reactionary response to a redefined priority.


Despite the decline in 'revenge travel,' overall travel intent among Americans hasn't gone away. Deloitte identifies several indicators suggesting a continual surge in travel demand. Travel spending intentions among Americans have demonstrated more resilience compared to other spending categories like retail or automotive. Moreover, during both summer 2023 and the recent holiday season, budgets for travel and intent to stay in hotels increased compared to 2022. Among those boosting their travel budgets, one in five states that travel spending has become more significant post-pandemic. Even among Americans who rescheduled their travel or stayed home, many are eyeing bigger plans for 2024. Three in 10 Baby Boomers who reduced their 2023 holiday travel budgets are saving up for future trips.


Interest in in-destination activities is also on the rise. The percentage of travelers planning to visit attractions during holiday trips increased from 36 percent in 2022 to 43 percent in 2023. Additionally, Americans broadened their overseas destinations in 2023, showing strong demand for Europe during the summer, followed by increased interest in South America, Asia, and Africa. Many trips among Americans seem focused on exploration and new experiences rather than just relaxation and escape.


The continued strength of travel is bolstered by the rise of remote work. 'Laptop lugging,' where travelers combine work with leisure trips or extend vacations by working remotely, is gaining popularity. The percentage of people intending to work during their longest holiday trip surged from 19 percent in 2022 to 34 percent in 2023. These 'laptop luggers' tend to take more (47 percent) and longer trips (27 percent) and are more inclined to explore local activities, visit attractions, and take guided tours.


However, an economic downturn could prompt more conservative travel behaviors, especially among lower-income groups. If the economy faces significant challenges, Deloitte anticipates a negative impact on travel, with more Americans choosing to stay closer to home, shorter stays, and younger and lower-income travelers opting to visit friends or family instead of paying for lodging.

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