Travelers today have a lot of thoughts about travel in the future, according the new Traveler Tribes 2033 Report.
The study, conducted by Northstar Research in partnership with Amadeus, an airline technology company, is a deep dive in to the psychology of people who travel. They spoke to 22 experts from different fields inside and outside of travel and surveyed 10,345 travelers from 15 countries to collected 5.84 million data points to help tell the story of what globetrotters will want in 10 years.
And there are some interesting findings. For example, 34% of travelers think traveling in 2033 will be the opposite of or very different from what it is today. A further 26% think traveling in 2033 will be noticeably different.
It’s an attempt to understand if travelers would like generative AI to plan their trips. And if people really travel more sustainably or just say they do. Ultimately, the study shows that to meet the needs of jet setters and business travelers in the 2030s, it’s more than just gaming out current trends. Instead, it’ll be significant disruptions. Things like environmental pressures, technological advancements, or larger societal movements.
But let’s break down the most important findings some more.
They Predict These 4 Future Traveler Tribes
When Amadeus paired down all of their findings, they were able to group travelers into four general categories. These insights can help travel pros can better understand the future mindset of their customers.
The Travel Tech-fluencers (15% of all future travelers)
These are the early adapters. They are always first in line to try out the latest tech innovations to elevate their travel escapades. They’re a blend of eco-consciousness and tech reliance. 82% assert that sustainability influences their choices (until it’s a tad inconvenient). Interestingly, 73% have a wellness app tucked into their devices, a nod to their recent lifestyle shifts.
Yet, their feelings about the future of travel in 2033 are a mixed bag, with 54% harboring both excitement and apprehension. They’re game for authentic stays. But, don’t expect them to prioritize carbon-neutral hotels over personalized room configurations.
Memory Makers (17% of all future travelers)
Memory Makers travel to create and cherish lasting memories with their loved ones, and are the most likely to have children. A significant 62% of them live with their young ones. Their jet setting choices are deeply intertwined with their family dynamics. They often seek destinations that offer shared stories and experiences.
Financially stable, 47% of Memory Makers enjoy a mid to high income. They lead the pack with 44% having traveled in the past year. Their loyalty to destinations is evident, with 45% having a favorite spot they return to. Only 19% have changed jobs in the last year, and 26% have learned a new language.
Excited Experientialists (25% of all future travelers)
Here are the try-it-and-see-it types. Spirited adventurers who dive headfirst into the world. Almost half, 44% of this tribe, relish their independence. They don’t have kids and earn mid- to high-income. This makes their spontaneous nature easier to fulfill. These thrill-seekers are on a perpetual quest for unique and immersive experiences. Not just as tourists, but as active participants in the cultures they visit.
Whatsmore, their approach to travel in 2033 is streamlined, with 25% fewer planning touchpoints compared to other travelers. While they might be skeptical of AI in planning, they see its potential in enhancing their airport experiences. Their eco-conscious side shines through, nearly 40% support mileage limit on international travel.
Pioneering Pathfinders (45% of all future travelers)
The bulk of tomorrow’s travelers are called the Pioneering Pathfinders. They are trailblazers, most likely to venture solo, with 45% living alone. Financial constraints don’t deter them, as 45% navigate the world on a low income. Their travel choices are driven by a desire to explore uncharted territories and new experiences.
Despite their adventurous spirit, only 36% have traveled in the last year. They remain open to change, with 28% having switched jobs recently and 32% taking up the challenge of learning a new language. Their journeys are not just about new geographies, but also about personal growth and transformation.
In an era where the world is in constant flux, understanding future travel trends is a necessity. Political shifts, climate change, and technological advancements are just a few of the factors reshaping our world. And, by extension, our travel habits.
5 Things These Tribes Are Looking Forward to in the Future
- Reaching destinations faster
- More advanced ways to remember their experiences
- More sustainable travel
- The potential of tech to reduce headaches
- Alternative ways of paying to make trips more affordable
5 Things that concern these tribes about the next ten years
- Sharing data
- Political instablity
- The cost of sustainability
AI and the next generation of travel
In the not-so-distant 2033, travel will be intertwined with the marvels of artificial intelligence. AI will become so advanced, it won’t just mimic humans—it will have its own personality, getting to “know” us like an old travel companion.
Predictive transport maintenance powered by AI will revolutionize aviation. Fewer flights will be grounded due to technical issues (although, of course, climate change…). Automated processes will speed up security and offer more efficient duty-free shopping experiences.
But, here’s the twist—for AI to take full control, travelers say it should mirror human capabilities by at least 61%. However, these people fear AI might rob them of those unplanned, serendipitous moments. But it’s a little more nuanced than that.
Diving deeper into the tribes, the Pioneering Pathfinders, known for their tech-savviness, stand out. A notable 76% of this group lean towards structured plans over impulsive decisions. And 54% of them are open to the idea of AI playing a dominant role, even surpassing human involvement, in orchestrating their leisure travels by 2033.
What advanced tech are future travelers are most interestd in?
- Using cryptocurrnecy or facial recognition to pay for trips
- Creating trips using past data
- Biometrics for passport control
- Travel planning apps with AI
- Virtual Reality preview tours
The green travel of tomorrow
Sustainability is rapidly becoming the gold standard for the future of travel. The modern traveler is armed with information, and a conscience. They are increasingly aware of their carbon footprint, and it’s not just about feeling good—it’s about making tangible changes.
In 2033, vacationers won’t simply jet off to exotic locales without a care in the world. Instead, they’ll make informed choices, such as opting for biofuel flights. Or considering electric cars for their road trips. The digital conference room, once a novelty, is now a serious option. Travelers will weigh the environmental impact of virtual meetings against physical travel.
The struggles of comfort and cost
However, as with any significant shift, there’s more than meets the eye. The Travel Tech-fuencers, a group that’s typically ahead of the curve, have shown an interesting contradiction in their approach to green travel. 82% claim that sustainability influences their decisions. Yet, not so much when it comes to convenience. They’re willing to pay a premium for biofueled flights, especially for business trips. But ask them about carbon-neutral hotels or eco-friendly practices that might be a little uncomfortable? The enthusiasm dwindles.
When we zoom out and look at the broader traveler demographic, we see a similar pattern. There’s excitement about sustainable travel, with 35% of travelers looking forward to greener travel options in 2033. However, the shadow of cost looms large. Some 34% express concerns about the potential financial implications. And, while various sustainable transport options are on the horizon, only a modest 19% are willing to choose options that require personal action or sacrifice.
How to travelers imagine sustainable travel in 2033?
1. Travel using biofuel
2. Virtual meetings
3. Use of carbon footprint calculators
4. Limits on miles traveled
5. Virtual trips instead of in reality
What’s in store for accommodations?
In 2033, while 62% say they will still select well-known hotel brands, there’s a significant shift towards local experiences. A majority are open to staying in locals’ homes, and lesser-known boutique hotels.
Eco-friendly accommodations are on the rise. 43% of travelers are looking for carbon-neutral options.
Tech advancements play a role too. Travel Tech-fuencers, although valuing genuine stays, appreciate tech conveniences like fingerprint room access. However, they’re less inclined towards eco-practices in accommodations.
Memory Makers prioritize simplicity. They are drawn to rural settings and local hotel chains. On the other hand, Excited Experimentalists are open to eco-friendly hotels, even if it means some personal adjustments.
The Future of Travel Is Always Evolving
Regardless of how the Traveler Tribes of 2043 or 2053 evolve, or what new tribes might emerge in subsequent years, one thing remains constant. Travel will always be a cherished experience. It has the power to transform lives. To broaden perspectives. And foster connections between diverse cultures. The essence of travel, its ability to inspire and enlighten, will forever be one of the greatest joys.
You can read the study in full, here.
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