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2024 Travel Loyalty Statistics & Trends

The only thing certain about loyalty program trends is that they’re bound to evolve, if not quarterly, then annually. With consumer behavior constantly shifting and travel technology continuously scaling, loyalty program adaptations are an inherent component of maintaining a profitable travel loyalty strategy. So, it’s only natural to ask, what are the latest trends in loyalty programs for 2024?

The experts at arrivia recently surveyed over 2,200 consumers and more than 100 loyalty providers whose programs offer travel perks for an exclusive look into the travel loyalty trends shaping 2024. We’ve gathered these findings in our 2024 Travel Loyalty Outlook Report, which includes a rise in direct booking capabilities, more flexible loyalty currency, and personalization in loyalty programs. 

In today’s post, we’re breaking down the most relevant travel industry statistics that are powering travel loyalty trends for 2024.

New Travel Rewards Arriving in 84% of Loyalty Programs 

The second iteration of arrivia’s Travel Loyalty Outlook Report found a stark rise in the number of loyalty providers offering travel rewards, up from 65% in 2021 to 95% in 2023. Of the programs offering travel rewards, 84% plan to introduce new travel perks in 2024, up from 63% in 2021. In other words, new travel rewards are arriving in the vast majority of loyalty programs nationwide. 

This boost in travel rewards programs is concurrent with consumers’ increasing intent to travel. Arrivia has found that of more than 2,200 consumers, 80% plan to travel within the year, with 75% identifying leisure as the purpose. These consumers are seeking ways to reduce travel costs, including lowering the overall expense (46%) and securing discounts with travel providers (29%).

However, the type of leisure travel that consumers are seeking cost-saving rewards for may surprise you. While often considered a niche market, there is substantial interest in cruise travel rewards programs, with 25% of respondents planning to take a cruise in 2024. Of that 25%, nearly half would pack their bags immediately if they came across a great last-minute deal on a cruise package.

Consumer Expectations for Loyalty Program Adaptations 

Consumer expectations for loyalty are escalating with their needs from travel rewards programs. To date, 37% of consumers say price or value for money is the top consideration when planning a trip, and 42% say this has become increasingly important over the last year. Modern consumers are demanding more value from travel loyalty programs in 2024 to access the savings they’re after.

But what do consumers expect from travel loyalty programs today, exactly? At a time when 23% of consumers are frustrated because they’re unsure if they are getting the best value possible when booking travel, it’s no surprise that more than 30% expect to book discounted travel directly through their rewards program’s booking portal for enhanced convenience and cost savings.

Savvy programs have already capitalized on this travel loyalty trend for 2024, with the number of providers integrating travel booking capabilities directly within their platforms increasing from 61% to 84% in the past two years. This trend also correlates to a shift away from proprietary loyalty platforms, decreasing from 36% to 11%, towards hybrid (57%) and white label (28%) solutions.

A young woman enjoys a thrilling suspension bridge walk in the mountains

Strategic Focus on Engagement and Value Throughout 2024

When the inaugural Travel Loyalty Outlook report was published, attracting new members was the primary objective of most providers. A remarkable shift has been noted in program strategy for 2024, with customer engagement in travel rewards now taking the lead. As per 2024 report data, the focus is now on increasing the lifetime value of customers (rising from 16% to 29%) and boosting overall program spend (from 41% to 54%). There’s a renewed emphasis on long-term profitability, and several tactics are taking shape. 

For instance, as tiered membership programs gain momentum in the travel rewards space, more providers are striving to encourage existing members to move up a tier this year (from 36% to 50%). There’s also a broader shift towards more dynamic and flexible loyalty strategies shown to drive engagement and boost value. Lifestyle rewards programs, in particular, now enable members to earn and redeem rewards across a more versatile loyalty ecosystem, increasing consumer touchpoints for loyalty. 

Travel Loyalty Trends 2024 Future Outlook: AI Evolution 

Travel loyalty trends for 2024 are still evolving, paving the way for future loyalty program trends. One such trend that’s prevalent in 2024 and will be even more impactful in the coming years is artificial intelligence (AI) loyalty programs. Powered by a combination of robust data collection and predictive analytics, AI loyalty programs allow for advanced personalization and tailored rewards. 

“[AI programs] easily capture intent instead of just search parameters,” explains arrivia Chief Innovation Officer, Kevin Schneider. “Say someone wants to cruise to Alaska for an anniversary. The search doesn’t catch the intent of an anniversary trip; it would only know the person is looking for cruises to Alaska for a certain date. AI will pick up on the anniversary intent and let us serve better content to the user.”

So, how are travel loyalty programs incorporating AI technology? By and large, the answer is with AI travel itinerary planners. Designed as personalized recommendation engines turbocharged with automated communication, AI travel itinerary planners facilitate discounted travel booking for budget-conscious consumers and plan custom trips based on search intent and behavioral data. 

Integrating the Latest Travel Technology Trends with arrivia

Travel loyalty trends for 2024 are enhancing convenience for consumers seeking more value for money, particularly as more reward members are planning to travel this year. Likewise, travel technology trends like white label direct booking platforms, tiered travel rewards, and robust loyalty ecosystems are allowing for more flexibility and personalization in engaging travel perks. 

Whether you want to capture personalization in loyalty programs or capitalize on travel technology trends, the experts at arrivia can help. As a white label travel portal and technology platform, arrivia powers more sustainable travel incentives, equipping organizations with more versatile travel rewards that offer more value to customers. Explore arrivia services today to learn more.