Summer Travel 2024Could a Record-Breaking Summer Travel Season Lead to Losses for Businesses?

Harlan Hutson Harlan Hutson | June 7, 2024 | 8 min read

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Summer Travel 2024

In a Nutshell

Summer is almost here, and families are gearing up for vacations, meaning a potential surge in business for travel companies. This year could break travel records, with US travel likely to meet or exceed pre-pandemic levels. However, if travel agencies don't prepare for the spike in both legitimate and fraudulent transactions, they could face disgruntled customers and chargebacks.

Travel Companies Need to Start Preparing for Their Busiest Season Since the Pandemic

It’s almost summer… and you know what that means.

Travel Lady

Families are about to start traveling and going on vacation. Companies in the travel space — we’re talking airlines, OTAs, rental car companies, hotels, and more — may see a surge in business. In fact, indicators suggest that summer 2024 could be a record-setting travel season.

Data from Tripadvisor's new Summer Travel Index shows that US travel is likely to exceed pre-pandemic levels. But, as we’ll see, this could lead to disgruntled customers and scam victims if travel companies don't anticipate the surge in both legitimate and fraudulent transactions. In turn, this may mean chargebacks all around.

Summer 2024 May Set New Records for Travel

2023 was an incredibly busy year for travel. Despite challenges like international unrest, frequent flight delays, and rising prices, Americans still managed to prioritize their vacations. This trend is set to continue  in 2024, with the Transportation Security Administration saying they’re prepared for the “busiest travel season ever.”

According to Forbes, 52% of consumers that were asked about their travel plans for 2024 said they plan to travel as much as they did last year. Another 40% expect to travel even more.

This enthusiasm is reflected in their budgets: 72% of survey respondents plan to spend upwards of $2,000 on travel in 2024, and nearly half (48%) will spend at least $4,000 throughout the year. A previous study from Forbes Advisor found that the average cost of travel for a family of four, including airfare and a three-night stay, is about $3,600. So, it’s not surprising that many Americans are budgeting high amounts for their trips next year.

Interestingly, the groups most willing to spend $4,000 or more are Millennials (62%) and Gen Z (61%). This trend could be due to several factors.

Millennials and Gen Z tend to value experiences over material goods, often choosing to invest in memorable trips rather than material items. The influence of social media plays a significant role, too, as travel is frequently showcased as part of an aspirational lifestyle. Seeing peers post about their exotic vacations can motivate others to plan and budget for similar experiences. Plus, younger generations often seek a work-life balance that allows them to explore new places and cultures.

Why This Could Be a Problem

Overall, the eagerness to travel and the willingness to invest significant amounts into these experiences suggest a robust travel outlook for 2024. But, while the travel boom is exciting, it brings some big challenges for the industry.

Many businesses might be unready for the influx of travelers. This can lead to overbooked flights, hotel shortages, and poor customer service due to understaffing or logistical problems. If these issues crop up, they could create many unhappy customers.

Unhappy customers are likely to voice their complaints on social media, leading to negative publicity for travel companies. Even worse, unresolved issues could result in an increase in chargebacks.

Chargebacks happen when customers dispute charges on their credit cards. This could happen because they didn't get the service they paid for, or were unhappy with the quality of what was delivered. A high number of chargebacks can hurt your business and strain your relationships with credit card companies.

Fraudsters Taking Notice, Too


In addition to chargeback resulting from unsatisfactory service, the travel surge also opens the door to more fraudulent charges as well.

Scammers often take advantage of busy travel seasons. They know that the high volume of transactions makes it easier for fraudulent activity to go unnoticed. This further feeds into the dispute and chargeback problem mentioned above.

Travelers are at risk for scams like fake travel deals, or phishing emails sent by scammers posing as airlines or hotels. They could even create problems down the road, like unauthorized charges resulting from compromised payment systems or data breaches.

All the issues outlined above highlight why this year may be particularly challenging. If travel companies want to take advantage of the 2024 travel boom without cannibalizing their own revenue, they need to verify that they’re optimizing their customer service, security, and infrastructure right now.

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What Can Travel Companies Do?

As we head into the peak travel season, operators need to gear up to meet the increased demand and tackle potential challenges. After all, your business will absorb the losses from any lax customer service or security issues, so you will need to be ready to combat issues proactively. 

Here’s a look at some key areas that need attention to tackle these issues from a business perspective:

Shoring Up Customer Support

Merchants should be sure their customer support teams are fully staffed and well-trained to handle the higher volume of inquiries and complaints. Comprehensive training can help staff manage problems from booking issues to travel disruptions. Using advanced customer service technologies, like AI-driven chatbots and automated response systems, can also streamline support and provide quick solutions to common problems.

Refining Fraud Filters

Refining fraud detection systems is pretty important with the expected rise in travel-related transactions. Companies should invest in advanced technologies that use machine learning to identify and block suspicious activities in real-time. Regularly updating these systems to adapt to new types of fraud will further protect both the company and its customers. Educating travelers on how to recognize and avoid common travel scams can also help reduce fraudulent charges.

Investing in Chargeback Management

Effective chargeback management is necessary to prevent financial losses and maintain good relationships with credit card companies. Travel companies need to have chargeback prevention best practices in place. For example, clear communication about terms and conditions, transparent pricing, and prompt customer service. Having a dedicated team to handle disputes quickly and efficiently can help resolve issues before they escalate.

Boosting Digital Infrastructure

Travel companies need to invest in their digital infrastructure to handle increased demand. This includes upgrading booking platforms to manage higher traffic volumes, ensuring website and app reliability, and optimizing payment processing systems to prevent downtime and errors. A smooth digital experience is essential for keeping customers happy during peak travel times.

Improving Communication

Proactive communication is key to managing customer expectations and reducing frustration. Travel companies should keep customers informed about potential delays, changes in policies, and other relevant updates. Using multiple communication channels like email, SMS, and social media can ensure that customers receive timely information.

How Should the Industry Prepare?

The onus to meet and exceed customer travel demands shouldn’t just be left to individual businesses in the travel space alone.

As we established, 2024 is  projected to be a landmark year for travel. So, the broader industry should be working together to help streamline operations and improve customer service across the board. After all, when companies work together toward a mutual goal, the industry, as a whole, is better for it. 

Here are just a few ideas travel industry stakeholders might consider: 

Sharing Best Practices

Creating and following standardized security protocols can help everyone stay on the same page when it comes to fighting fraud. Industry organizations can set guidelines for secure payment processing, customer verification, and transaction monitoring. These standards make sure all companies, big or small, are ready to handle the surge in transactions securely.

Enhancing Data Sharing

Better data sharing among companies can help identify and stop fraudulent activities faster. Travel businesses can join industry-wide initiatives to share information about known fraudsters and suspicious activities. Pooling data lets companies detect patterns and prevent fraud more effectively than working alone.

Collaborating With Financial Institutions

Strengthening partnerships with banks and credit card companies can make a big difference. Close cooperation with financial institutions can help develop and improve fraud detection tools, as well as streamline the chargeback dispute process. Financial institutions provide valuable insights and support in identifying and combating fraudulent activities.

Educating Consumers

An informed traveler is less likely to fall victim to fraud. The industry can launch coordinated campaigns to educate consumers about common travel scams and how to protect themselves. Sharing tips on recognizing phishing emails, avoiding “too-good-to-be-true” deals, and securely handling travel bookings can empower travelers to guard their own information.

Lobbying for Stronger Regulations

The travel industry can advocate for stronger regulations and enforcement to protect both consumers and businesses from fraud. Policies that enhance data security impose stricter penalties for fraudsters, and which improve the transparency of online transactions, can help create a safer environment for everyone.

Investing in Technology

Pooling resources to invest in advanced technologies can have a big impact. The travel industry can develop cutting-edge fraud detection systems that use artificial intelligence and machine learning. Joint investments in technology can lead to more effective solutions that benefit the entire industry.

Harlan Hutson


Harlan Hutson

Director Of Strategic Partnerships

Harlan Hutson is the Director of Strategic Partnerships and Brands at Chargebacks911. He has spent the past 12 years focused on solving real world problems in payments and security; first as an eCommerce merchant, then as co-founder of an authentication company. In his role at Chargebacks911, he is focused on resolving chargeback problems for some of the largest companies in the world

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