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Group travel trends for 2024

Are you tasked with the responsibility of being the event organiser within your business, but struggling to navigate the evolving landscape of the industry? Coordinating group travel, whether for incentive trips, conference planning, an annual sales conference, an awards evening, or even a product launch, can be a challenging and complex undertaking. It is crucial to grasp the dynamic changes in the events sector and distinguish the evolving preferences of both the business and participants to ensure the creation of a truly impactful experience that yields tangible results for the individuals involved and the overarching business objectives.

In this blog, we will look at some of the evolving trends to consider when planning group travel in 2024.

Wellness - looking after our mind, body and soul

In recent years, the concept of health and wellbeing has undergone a profound transformation, gathering significant momentum that shows no signs of slowing. The significance of ‘wellness’ and its importance for employees to be able to perform and be happy in their jobs is increasingly key within the workplace.

There is now a focus on incorporating wellness, downtime, movement and healthy eating into event planning, according to a future meetings and events report from Accor. The report discusses a significant shift towards a softer kind of productivity, moving away from the traditional “work hard, play hard” ethos. It highlights how the events industry is moving away from intense schedules and allowing attendees to deliver results in their own time and way. There is a growing demand for better solutions in wellbeing, nutrition and time management. The shift is partly driven by generational differences, with a focus on striking a harmonious balance between life and productivity.

Marriott International conducted a survey during August/September 2023 with people who plan group travel. The survey found that 65% of respondents are seeking to include unique experiences such as Jiu-Jitsu or Kickboxing fitness classes, 58% will be including activities like yoga and meditation, 57% would like to see group classes included and 56% would like wellness discussions and panels.

Group travel wellness trends blog graphic

Sleep is important for our ability to feel recharged, providing us with the energy and ability to remain focused during events, but is it high on the list of priorities when planning group travel? Hilton unveils the importance of sleep, and people are willing to invest in it and something to consider no matter the event occasion. In fact, their findings showed that Generation Z is the most intentional about winding down, making small choices throughout the day that can make a big impact on their sleep. They also found that 20% of global travellers will choose or make requests for a room away from the elevator or on a high floor to eliminate noise. Ultimately, travellers are seeking to engage with brands that align with a ‘better-for-you’ motto.

What to consider when selecting a venue

Gone are the days of simply booking accommodation and a venue. Survey findings from Marriott’s travel trend forecast, indicate that for event organisers planning group travel in 2024, key considerations in venue selection will include aligning with evolving program goals (49%), adaptability to changing needs (47%), and rapid response times to inquiries and requests (46%). Notably, only 34% of respondents cited past experiences as a factor in hotel/destination selection, indicating a willingness among event planners to explore new venues that align with current priorities.

Venue selection considerations blog graphic

Further, the survey highlights that 33% of organisers will base their choices on destination or hotel popularity, emphasising that reputation takes a backseat to the venue’s ability to meet specific event desires and needs.

Accor’s report highlights how the landscape of business events is undergoing a significant transformation for a new generation, both in terms of the venue environment and the structure of the events themselves. People seek an experience-led and purpose-driven brand that prioritises individual and community needs. This shift necessitates a re-evaluation of how events are organised, emphasising the optimisation of networking, collaboration, and connection through event spaces.

Considerations for the future of event spaces include the incorporation of elements promoting wellness, such as adequate daylight, biophilia (love of plants), and outdoor spaces. The use of al fresco areas can help elevate a meeting and bring people together by challenging their expectations of the norm. Finding venues that can deliver a modular and flexible design will also be advantageous, such as transforming a room for 300 people into a dozen breakout spaces, which can enhance the success of events.

Embracing sustainable practices

Sustainability stands as a main trend in group travel, particularly within the corporate events audience, where an emphasis is placed on minimising environmental impact. This shift is underscored by data from Hilton’s findings revealing that 74% of travellers prioritise reducing their environmental footprint, while Marriott echoes a similar sentiment, with 77% expressing a desire to explore eco-friendly destinations aligned with their values.

Sustainable traveller trends blog graphic

Notably, event attendees, accustomed to the call for sustainable practices, now seek experiences that go beyond the traditional corporate agenda. According to Marriott’s survey findings, 26% of respondents express interest in corporate social responsibility activities that contribute to local communities. These initiatives span diverse areas, including environmentally friendly endeavours such as tree planting and charitable donations. Additionally, a substantial 77% of respondents express a preference for visiting destinations in need of financial support, such as locations recovering from natural disasters.

Accor’s findings also highlighted – that beyond mere carbon emissions, the concept of sustainability now extends to fostering meaningful engagement with local communities. This involves recommending local transport options, raising awareness of indigenous culture, and advocating for the preservation of local ecosystems.

How to manage group travel in 2024

In the ever-evolving landscape of event organisation, staying attuned to transformative trends is paramount. As the role of event organisers becomes increasingly complex, embracing these trends will be a requirement for curating impactful and successful group travel experiences.

By engaging in the expertise of an event travel management company like ETM, you will have the support and industry knowledge needed to deliver a successful group travel experience for your next meeting or event. ETM’s number one priority is delivering an enjoyable and effortless experience for all delegates from the second they set off for the airport to the moment they arrive safely home.

Don’t navigate group travel trends on your own.

Take the stress out of event management with our expert event planning team.