Technology Trends, Powered by The State of the American Traveler: 2024 Key Takeaways

a couple sitting on the floor looking at a map
by Jennie Wang
Marketing Coordinator

This year’s webinar, “Technology Trends,” powered by The State of the American Traveler, took a look at exciting new insights and newly released data on how today’s leisure travelers are utilizing technology, media, search and social media in their travel plans for 2024. 

Reaching Travelers Where They Are

First, let’s take a look at the current travel sentiment: 87.6% of U.S. travelers state they are excited about leisure travel in the next twelve months, and 62% intend to make leisure travel a spending priority in the next three months. So, how do you reach these travelers? 

Websites found via a search engine and email (33.6%) were both voted as the most effective ways destinations could reach travelers right now. Facebook, online content (articles and blogs) and Instagram follow closely behind. As we’ve seen in the past, Gen X and baby boomers are typically more receptive via search engines and email, while Gen Z and Millennials will be easier to tap into on social channels.

social media resources for planning graph

Online Video Sees Strong Growth for Travelers

While the general use of technology in travel planning and booking continues to increase every year, online video has seen an uptick in the past 12 months. When asked, 50.6% of Millennials and younger travelers stated they have used online video (i.e., YouTube, Instagram Reels, TikTok) in their trip planning process. Even Gen X (38.9%) and Boomers or older (21.8%) turn to video in their travel planning. In tandem with video use, one in five travelers say they turn to digital influencers to help plan their trips. On average, these travelers tend to be more urban, have more accessibility concerns and spend more money than travelers who don’t use digital influencers’ content.  

Other Tech Trends for Travelers

Additional tech that travelers use in their trip planning includes travel-related apps, virtual reality (VR) and artificial intelligence (AI). 26.8% of travelers have used travel-related apps in the past twelve months; this has dropped since 2022. The most popular types are online travel agency apps (52.3%), hotels (51.1%) and airlines (42.7%). 

VR headsets still haven’t gained traction when it comes to planning or booking, although 37.1% of leisure travelers said they would be interested in using VR headsets if more high-quality, destination-focused content were available.

interest in virtual reality graph

Artificial Intelligence: A Mixed Bag for Travel Planning

When it comes to the use of AI as a travel planning tool, travelers in India and China (~32%) have the greatest interest and use. In the U.S., usage remains at 11.3% when compared globally. Not surprisingly, younger generations are more inclined to explore these tools than their older counterparts. Travelers who use AI to plan their trips cited the following reasons:

  • Better personalization and an interest in trying new things (45.4%)
  • Comprehensive information available through AI tools (45.2%)
  • Fast response and ease of use compared to other resources (44.8%)

While AI use is growing, a majority of travelers still don’t necessarily trust AI-generated content over non-AI-generated content. 

For the full research findings, you can find the webinar deck and recording here. Be sure to sign up for our upcoming webinars for all of the latest updates and trends related to U.S. leisure travelers. 

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