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Sleep tourism set to be the biggest travel trend of 2024, Hilton report reveals

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What convinces you to go on vacation? Is it a chance to discover new places? The thought of a few weeks spent soaking up the sun? Or are you part of the growing trend of people leaving their best mattress behind and traveling with the aim of getting a good night’s sleep?

The Hilton Trend Report, a survey of over 10,000 travelers from nine countries, has found that the top reason people want to travel in 2024 is to 'rest and recharge'. Sleep tourism – or the chance for a good night's kip – is motivating people’s vacation choices, from what they pack to where they stay. 

A good night's rest drives travel choices

While the promise of a luxury hotel at the end of your journey might be enough to get you sleeping soundly, the Hilton report found travelers are taking relaxation into their own hands.

A bed in the motto by Hilton Tulum hotel and sleep retreat

(Image credit: Hilton)

Because even the best hotels can't promise quiet neighbors, 33 per cent of those surveyed listened to music or a podcast to help them sleep on vacation, while 22 per cent broke out the earplugs. Although, with 10 per cent of travelers taking their own white noise machine with them, perhaps it won't be long before in-room noise machines become standard.

And gone are the days you’d choose a hotel based on the pool, the restaurant, and the proximity to the local cultural sites. Nowadays, it’s all about the bed. Okay, not quite, but 27 per cent of survey respondents said “staying with a trusted brand with a consistently good mattress” was important if they were traveling to relax.

We’ve long praised the virtue of the hotel bed, as luxury hotels have a tendency to kit their room with the best luxury mattresses. (You can actually purchase the Serta mattress used by Hilton hotels for your own home, and while it’s a premium bed, it’s cheaper than paying to spend every night in a Hilton.) 

Beyond the mattress, 18 per cent admitted to bringing their best pillow with them when they traveled. Discerning pillow packers should look out for a pillow menu – a fixture of five-star hotels – which features a selection of pillows for you to take your pick from. 

The pillow menu resting on a bed at the Hilton London Bankside hotel and sleep retreat

(Image credit: Hilton)

In response to this survey, Hilton has teamed up with sleep science expert Dr Rebecca Robbins to create a series of Hilton sleep retreats hosted at the Grand Wailea’s Kilolani Spa in Maui. While a vacation to Hawaii probably sounds restful enough to many of us, these retreats take relaxation one step further, aiming to provide an “all-encompassing journey into the science and practice of achieving a restful, restorative sleep”.

If you’re going to have to miss out on the Hilton sleep retreat, there are still ways to improve your sleep when you travel. Avoid the first-night effect with our guide to sleeping better on the go, and consider investing in some white noise for sleep, to prevent other guests from disturbing your slumber. Finally, choose a light-blocking sleep mask, and you won't know where you're falling asleep – maybe you're in Maui after all.

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