Consumer Trends in Multi-City Travel & How to Respond to Them

April 11, 2024

After a few years of sluggish growth surrounding COVID, the global travel industry is back in full swing. Skift’s 2023 State of Travel Report indicates a complete recovery to pre-pandemic performance levels for most of the countries tracked by the Travel Health Index, and especially throughout Europe. Overall growth in the industry is expected to continue worldwide in the coming years. In the midst of the sector’s recovery and evolution, certain travel trends are emerging. These trends are most relevant to online travel agencies (OTAs) looking to diversify their offerings and increase their revenues and profits. This article highlights these travel industry insights for 2024 and how to respond to them to boost revenue.

Unveiling the Travel Trends for 2024

According to American Express’ 2024 Global Travel Trends Report, tourists are willing to spend “big” on travel in 2024, with 77% of travellers noting that they care more about a trip’s experience than its cost.

Another recent travel pattern: more complex itineraries are on the rise. According to the same report, 65% of respondents are more interested in taking a major trip in 2024 compared to previous years. Interestingly, more than half of travellers (52%) want a trusted OTA to help them book a major trip this popularity a

A third travel development is that 50% of respondents plan to travel for business in 2024. Of these respondents, 78% plan to combine business and leisure travel (“bleisure”) in the same trip. Finally, more travellers are planning longer itineraries, which often involve multi city travel.

Insights into Multi-City Travel Patterns

Over the past 12 months, the search terms “multi city travel” and “multi city trip” consistently achieved a high search interest rating on Google, and we can understand why. Creating a multi-city itinerary to destinations with at least one long haul flight enables travellers to combine multiple destinations into an itinerary so they can explore more places and cultures, combine business and leisure travel, and save on travel costs.

Multi-city trips are available for travellers across the globe when visiting far-away destinations. For example, travellers from North America may create a multi-city itinerary to avoid layovers in their journey, travelling to places like Lisbon, Dublin and Paris for a few days before heading to their final European destination. Those headed south may choose to create an adventure sports-filled itinerary in New Zealand after their coastal tour in Australia.  

3 Strategies for Effectively Responding to the Demand for Multi-City Travel

With global travel increasing, and multi-city trips gaining in popularity among business and leisure travellers, OTAs stand to benefit greatly by booking more, and more effective, multi-city itineraries:  

1. Invest in digital marketing tactics like email marketing, social media marketing, and search engine optimization (SEO) to promote multi city travel to customers. Creating inspiring trips and sending multi-city savings messaging to your travellers can help to increase bookings and capture those travellers looking for cost-effective ways to see the world.  

2. Create personalized messaging and customized itineraries for travellers to promote ancillary services such as tours. Multi-city itineraries are by nature unique, and have near limitless options for e-sims, tours, additional baggage, insurance, cancellation, and other ancillary products to best serve travellers unique needs.  

3. Capture additional revenue on multi-city itineraries with an easy-to-integrate technological solution like Trip Ninja. Trip Ninja’s FareStructure tool leverages powerful machine learning algorithms to automate split ticketing on all searches, build optimized multi-city itineraries that are most likely to sell, and improve fares for 67% of multi-city trips, earning OTAs more revenue per search.

Although Multi-city trips typically account for a small portion of OTA search volume, the revenue opportunity for these complex itineraries are exceptionally large. As multi-city travel increases in popularity, OTAs can use the above strategies to increase their multi-city bookings and maximize revenue per search in the process.

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