Boomers’ interest in European travel has dropped significantly, according to a new AARP survey, with Latin America emerging as the most popular international destination for 2017. Top 2017 Boomer travel trends show that almost all will travel for leisure with about half traveling internationally.
The number of boomer travelers who report planning a European trip dropped 10 percentage points from a year ago to 34 percent, the survey shows.
However, 41 percent said they would travel to Latin America, a category that includes the Caribbean and Mexico. Boomer respondents cited security, weather and public-health issues as their top three overall travel concerns.
In addition, 95 percent of boomers said they will travel domestically next year, with the South and the West the most popular regions and Florida (16 percent) and California (11 percent) the most visited.
It could be the slopes that are calling these travelers out west. The latest AudienceSCAN survey found 22.5% of Time Share Clients plan to take trips to ski resorts. Advertisers should consider marketing to time-sharing travelers all year long, since many of them come back to their time shares throughout the year.
Key findings include the following:
General Travel Insights
- Most Boomers (99%) will take at least one leisure trip in 2017, with an average of five or more trips expected throughout the year.
- Most (51%) expect to only travel domestically, but a significant portion are hoping to travel both domestically and internationally (43%).
- The majority of travel is anticipated in the Spring and Summer of 2017, and to a lesser degree in the Fall, regardless of destination.
- For Boomers, Bucket List trips are the most popular motivation for an international trip, while domestic trips are a combination of Summer vacations, Multi-generational trips, Weekend Getaways, and Holiday travel.
- With all the trips anticipated for 2017, it is important to note that most (~85%) have yet to be booked, meaning Boomers are still in the planning or idea phase.
- Boomers appear confident about making travel arrangements, as 49% report not finding anything particularly difficult to take care of in regards to their travel plans.
- Boomers are not avid users of online resources for travel planning and booking, especially compared to younger generations. Among those using online resources, the most popular sites include Trip Advisor, Expedia, Travelocity, Yelp, and Google Maps.
- That said, 41% will book online at the airline/hotel/car website. This is most likely driven by the fact that most Boomers are members of at least one loyalty program. In fact, 82% are currently members of an airline loyalty program.
- More often than not (~70% Always/Mostly), Boomers will book their travel (flight, hotel, car) with their loyalty program provider.
- And although many continue to indicate a desire to travel more in 2017 than they did in 2016, a handful of barriers remain in the way; cost (43%), health (34%), and security concerns (28%) top the list.
Vacation clubs trying to persuade Boomers to stay abroad will be interested to know that AudienceSCAN research revealed 22.3% of Vacation Club Clients traveled to foreign countries at least once and would like to do so again.
- Most Boomers are looking for a laid back and relaxing trip to give them the opportunity to spend quality time with friends and family.
- To do so, Boomers are planning to escape to Mexico, the Caribbean, and/or the British Isles (UK, Ireland) for their upcoming international trips. Their domestic trips, although covering a variety of cities, are most often being planned for a Florida or California destination.
- Regarding authentic experiences, although Boomers would like to eat a meal with locals (50%), or tour with locals (40% among international travelers), they are not as open to staying with locals, domestically or abroad (18%).
- As seen in past research, among Boomers who are still working, approximately 40% do not anticipate taking all of their vacation days. And when they do vacation, 40% feel it is at least somewhat important to stay connected to work while away, which is why many anticipate spending at least 10% of their vacation time working.
Time shares and vacation clubs can promote their fine bird-watching locations and attractions. According to the latest AudienceSCAN data, 12% of clients enjoy birding (bird-watching/taking trips to see birds) and plan to do it in the coming months.
Other findings of the 2017 travel survey:
Authenticity. Fifty percent of boomers traveling internationally said they would like to share a meal with local residents; 23 percent said they would take a tour with locals, while just 18 percent are interested in home-stay accommodations.
Budget. A financial plan for the trip is of less concern to boomers (40 percent) than either Gen-Xers (54 percent) or millennials (62 percent). But once a budget is set, a large majority in each group say they stick to it.
Clubs and other travel segments should consider advertising daily deals with newspapers. According to AudienceSCAN research, 40% of Time Share/Vacation Club Clients took action after seeing a daily deal; and 39.5% took action after seeing newspaper (print, online, mobile or tablet) advertising in the past month.
Taking the time. Forty percent of boomers who are still working say they won’t take all their vacation time in 2017. And when they do take time off, they anticipate spending 10 percent of that time working.