As Hilton releases its 2024 Trends Report, the leading global hospitality company has discovered an emerging generation of Asian travellers who are pursuing travel that will enable them to better understand their identity. Dubbed as the 'GenerAsian traveler' are Asians who are inspired by self-discovery and have a desire for a deeper understanding of their own cultural and ancestral heritage through travel.
In a global survey conducted in collaboration with Ipsos, a resounding chorus of travellers across Asia have expressed a growing confidence for self-exploration.
In India, a staggering 85 per cent of respondents reported they feel proud about the rising popularity of their country of origin as a travel destination, as well as the international popularity and appreciation for Asian food, design, and culture.
This shift in global taste can be attributed to globalisation, where international audiences now have better accessibility and insight into Asia through pop culture and social media.
Alongside this, the region has seen much greater representation in entertainment, food and beverage, and other industries -from the nation’s matchmaking traditions being featured on a popular reality dating show, to its local innovation, design, and cuisine receiving international recognition.
“We’re constantly monitoring the travel preferences of different generations to create tailored experiences that cater to their unique needs and desires. Fueled by a sense of pride that Asian food, design, and culture are gaining popularity globally, we know this will hold even greater significance and interest for travelers in the upcoming year,” Ben George, senior vice president and commercial director, Asia Pacific, Hilton commented.
“In fact, our research found that 82 per cent of Indian travellers are seeking to better understand their own heritage through travel, with 84 per cent looking to learn more about other Asian cultures. We believe that the heart of a great trip is a great stay, and so we remain committed to delivering innovative solutions to ensure our guests can fully immerse themselves in both our hotels and their communities,” he added.
Access to Local, Gastronomic Experiences are a Priority for Indian Travelers
Priorities differ among travelers when it comes to selecting their accommodation. For some, convenience might be key, but for others, price point remains at top of mind. In line with their travel motivations, Indian travelers are more likely than travelers from other countries surveyed to book their accommodations based on access to unique local experiences. In fact, a substantial 77 per cent of India respondents indicated that they are likely to do so, compared to the 65 per cent average across all countries surveyed in Hilton’s global study.
When it comes to the types of experiences India travelers seek during their trips, 91 per cent of respondents unequivocally ranked exploring local and traditional food and beverage as the most critical to them. A strong majority also indicated a desire to connect with the local community when they travel (90 percent), and gain a deeper understanding of the local history and heritage of the destination they travel to (87 per cent) - suggesting a reassuring desire for more authentic travel experiences.
Food and beverage also showed as a unifying passion point across Asian respondents in Hilton's 2024 Trends Report survey, with respondents across China, India, Japan, and Singapore all ranking culinary experiences as the top budget priority for their travel plans next year.
To ensure they are able to prioritise travel in the coming year, four in five (82 per cent) Indian travellers are reducing spending on other areas of their life, which is considerably higher than the global average of 64 per cent. Travellers in India are also more inclined than the majority of their global counterparts to spend more on travel in 2024 than they did in 2023 (81 per cent in India versus 65 per cent globally).
As industry observers have noted, the underlying drivers for India travelers’ appetite for travel goes beyond pent-up demand and reflects the country's growth story. Unlike respondents from countries like Japan, Germany, the US and the UK, India’s middle- and upper-class consumers may also have a healthy pool of pandemic savings to tap on for their travel plans.
“At Hilton, we’ve noticed a rising interest in self-discovery and the desire for an even deeper understanding of one’s heritage, and this will be an even more important consideration for travelers in 2024.
Interestingly, India alongside the UAE outranks all other markets surveyed when it comes to reducing expenditure on other areas to prioritize traveling in the next 12 months, supporting this notion of the GenerAsian traveler and their passion to explore,” said Alexandra Jaritz, senior vice president, Brand Management, Asia Pacific, Hilton.
“From our ongoing brand innovation and dining experiences to our world-renowned hospitality, Hilton will enable guests to completely connect and immerse themselves in the destinations they chose to travel,” she added.
Understanding Generational Differences in Global Travelers’ Expectations
These insights were commissioned as part of research for Hilton’s 2024 Trends Report, which sought to uncover the profile of the 2024 traveler, while also zooming in to understand what the desires and preferences will be for the different generations. Following a global survey of more than 10,000 travelers from nine countries, and in-depth interviews with dozens of Hilton travel experts, the report uncovers four themes expected to be the catalysts of change and innovation for travel in 2024 and beyond:
Travelers Will Invest in Their Sleep: Gen Zs are the most intentional about winding down, with 21 per cent regulating their workout routine, and 25 percent avoiding alcohol before bedtime. In India, respondents ranked listening to music or podcasts (51 percent), and choosing a trusted hotel brand with consistent mattress quality (41 per cent) as their top sleep considerations.
Travelers Will Value Connectivity and Personalisation: 80 percent of global travelers surveyed said it’s important to be able to book their trip entirely online, with 86 per cent of Millennials and 83 per cent of Gen Zs leading the charge. In India, 85 per cent of travelers also agreed, with 88 per cent of Millennials driving these expectations.