Solo travel and other key outbound trends for 2024
The research comes as Hilton releases its 2024 Trends Report – a global study that explores traveller behaviours across key markets, including the UAE – reveals that the evolution of the UAE traveller is manifested in shifting preferences, including a greater desire for individual experiences, an increased pursuit of spontaneity, and a renewed focus on health and wellness.
Solo travel emerged as a popular trend in the UAE study, with 75 percent of respondents having embarked on a solo trip within the past year, and 61 percent considering taking one within the next three years.
Of those who have taken, or will take, a solo trip, a staggering 61 percent of respondents cited the desire to relax alone as their primary motivation. This was closely followed by seeking self-discovery (40 percent) and an eagerness to focus on individual wellbeing and enjoyment (38 percent).
Interestingly, the preference of solo travellers to disconnect and escape from the routines of daily life is met with a significant desire to stay connected and active online.
Over half of all UAE-based respondents – 54 percent – still want to post on social media at least once a day while travelling, with strong Wi-Fi out-ranking room service and balcony access as the number one most important in-room amenity (64 percent).
The data also points to the rising popularity of a working holiday, with many travellers booking trips that support a blend of business and pleasure. On average, guest data use in Hilton hotels has increased by 23 percent since 2022 across the EMEA market.
SEARCH FOR NOVELTY
Next-gen travellers are seeking newness and excitement, with a whopping 85 percent looking forward to visiting a place they’ve never been before when booking a holiday. And nearly one third (28 percent) of respondents prioritise a bucket list or once-in-a-lifetime holiday when choosing their travel destinations, underscoring the importance of creating unique and memorable experiences that align with travellers’ personal aspirations.
Over half of all travellers also revealed a desire for spontaneity, with 55 percent choosing to plan their holiday a month – or less – in advance. This adventure-driven approach suggests a growing trend towards more spontaneous holiday plans, perhaps fuelled by the need for greater flexibility and freedom.
Holistic wellbeing and a commitment to sustainability continue to take centre stage for the next-gen UAE traveller, driven by a collective global awareness of personal and environmental health factors. Nearly all respondents (93 percent) rank environmental credentials – like TripAdvisor Green Leaders and GreenKey Global – as ‘somewhat or very important’ when booking a holiday, highlighting the increasingly eco-conscious approach to travel planning.
Dining also plays a key role in travellers’ experiences, with 42 percent ordering room service every day or night while on holiday and 38 percent ordering room service ‘often’. While these numbers indicate a preference for convenience, they are paired with increased recognition and responsibility.
Almost half of all UAE respondents (48 percent) consider food waste ‘always’ or ‘often’ while travelling, with the majority (31 percent) prioritising healthy options when choosing a place to eat and 41 percent preferring to eat locally sourced ingredients.