The Rundown by Citizen: Travel Edition

Citizen Relations
March 26, 2024
Woman on Bench

Welcome to The Rundown by Citizen – special Travel Edition! A round up of the conversations that count, this month we’re unpacking relevant trends in the ever-evolving  travel space. 

Getting Away To Get Some Sleep

It might feel counterintuitive to plan your next trip around the part you’re not awake for, but sleep tourism is having a major moment. And when we explore what this trending term really means, it’s not as counterintuitive as it sounds. 

Across generations and regions, the number one reason that people want to travel this year is to rest and recharge. It’s no surprise that destinations and travel experiences that prioritize unplugging to relax and reset are taking precedence over action-packed adventure trips for many right now. Google Trends showed that “sleep” hit an all-time high for searches in 2023, and according to, 37% of adults in the U.S. recorded worse sleep last year than previous years. 

As such, folks looking to get away with sleep recovery on their mind can find exactly what they’re looking for through curated programs and amenities from luxury hotels and sleep-focused resorts, with the help of sleep psychologists and wellness experts, and AI.

With Americans searching sleep concerns online about 5 million times every month, aiming to catch up on precious zzz’s while on vacation isn’t a new concept. But there are a few factors driving hotels to feature ways to optimize your sleep that brands beyond the travel and tourism industry should note:

  1. People are becoming increasingly interested in the role sleep plays in our overall health. Measures to improve sleep are gaining a lot of online conversation and span everyday measures like mouth taping, consulting sleep experts (not just for our kids!), all the way to design choices and super premium products and supplements that promise to enhance sleep quality. 
  2. Sleep quality is becoming a serious public health concern: an estimated 50 to 70 million Americans have chronic, or ongoing, sleep disorders, and nearly one in five adults in the U.K. are not getting enough sleep. This is indicative of the ongoing, long term stressors we’re facing as a culture.

Looking at the reasons for a widespread desire for better sleep among adults, and the behaviours consumers are adopting in response reminds us that serving folks (particularly Millennial and Gen X) by recognizing their need for rest and providing ways to assist in that can help build an emotional connection, where brands can play a genuine role.

One Isn’t The Loneliest Number Anymore

It’s said the journey and the company are much more important than the destination. But when it comes to travel, it seems the destination is taking precedence over the company. While solo travel isn’t a novel new idea, there’s been a tremendous rise in solo trips in the last year. Research shows an increase in ‘independent travelers’ who would rather “go it alone” than travel with someone else. 

And the reason is simple; despite being out of the pandemic for a considerable while, fear of the world unexpectedly shutting down is still well and alive. Travelers don’t have the patience to wait for the perfect travel companion – or the perfect time – anymore. They want to see the world and they want to see it their way. 

While this sense of urgency may settle down, it’s not the only reason people are leaning towards solo travel. With the increase in loneliness becoming a major concern, people are turning to travel to meet strangers and develop new connections. According to Hostelworld, 66% of their guests “travel solo to meet people.”

The first ones to take note of this trend have been small group tour operators, who are tailoring their offerings to accommodate solo travelers with similar interests. From hiking trips to food tours, the more personalized and niche the experience, the better. 

But the solo travel trend isn’t just relevant to brands within the travel and hospitality space. There’s an opportunity brands have to curate experiences and offerings specifically for the solo traveler. Reading Rhythms, for example, holds reading parties where strangers gather to read their favourite book and meet new, like-minded people. An experience like that, while on a solo trip, would be the ideal setting for a book lover to make deeper connections, while bringing the brand facilitating it to the forefront. 

The rise in solo travel is indicative of a general preference towards personalization and tailored experiences – where people want to do things on their own terms, including travel, and meet people similar to them. 

Why Coolcations Are The Hottest Trend

According to several news outlets and travel publications including Conde Nast, Axios, Enterprise News, MSN, and more ‘coolcations’ are leading the way in travel trends. This new ‘cool’ trend is exactly how it sounds. Travelers are now opting for lower temperatures when booking vacations. Most say climate change is to blame. CBS News reported that 2023 was officially recorded as the hottest year on record and anyone who lived through last year can likely attest. 

Traditional summer getaways to hot spots like the Caribbean, southern United States, and southern Europe may soon become less popular. Instead, cooler destinations such as Finland, Iceland, Norway, and Switzerland are gaining traction for 2024. Early adopters of travel trends hope to find less crowded spaces and more adventurous opportunities. Luxury and travel brands have adjusted their strategies to target these cool-seeking travelers, recognizing their willingness to travel further to avoid wildfires and heat waves. While luxury polar cruises began in 2019, the pandemic temporarily paused this trend. 

Now, with the travel industry returning to normalcy, such vacations are on the rise once again.

Traveling The Great Divide

“We have wanderlust and we’re not afraid to admit it.” Citizen’s parent network, Plus Company, shares this sentiment and others in their recently released “Traveling The Great Divide” Trends Report. They certainly aren’t the only ones. From female solo travel, to group trips, and short vs. long vacations, the report breaks down the latest and greatest ways those looking for adventure are doing it in 2024. Citizen weighed in on the trend of slow travel, defined as a way adventurers are taking longer and more sustainable trips. 

Managing Partner, Erin Georgieff, shared Citizen’s contribution to the trend through the work with client Rocky Mountaineer. This luxury train ride is a safe way for travelers to take in the scenic views of the north west United States and Canada while enjoying the culture of the region. A vacation likely overlooked in previous years is now trending towards the top of the list with these recent switches in vacation style. 

Plus Co. shared how brands can adapt to these changes and capitalize on this new found way of exploration. The shifts in the industry are pretty drastic in comparison to how consumers traveled pre-pandemic, but it opens a new and exciting way for brands both in and out of the travel sector directly to engage with them and create new points of connection. Check out the full report here.