Leisure Travelers Seeking Unique Experiences

Service providers in the leisure travel market have focused on the Baby Boomer generation for at least a decade now. But that focus may be shifting. The new 2014 Portrait of American Travelers, produced by MMGY Global, points to a rising power in the leisure travel market: the Millennials.

The firm’s research is based on the travel activity of about 57 million American households who spend an average of $4,429 on leisure travel in a one-​year period. Findings suggest that the recovering travel market can expect new growth to come from an increase in Millennial spending. Researchers measured a 10% net increase in the number of Millennials who will take overnight trips in the next year. In comparison, only a 1% net increase is expected from the Baby Boom generation.  Millennial travelers over-​index for leisure trips, taking an average of 4.6 overnight excursions compared to the 4.2 taken by all households.

Analysts also remind service providers of the importance of catering to experience when promoting trips to Millennials. “Six in 10 Millennials would rather spend their money on experiences than material things,” said Steve Cohen, vice president of insights for MMGY Global. “This is presumably one of the reasons we’ve observed the spike in their intentions with respect to leisure travel in the year ahead…Millennials’ planning, booking and sharing habits are significantly different from those of older leisure travelers.”

Travel marketers, including travel agents, might find a growing opportunity in promoting local events and destinations to Millennials. The MMGY research shows that these younger consumers are significantly more likely than average to take a ‘staycation’ and seek out sites within 50 miles of home.

According to Ad-​ology Research, nearly 25% of domestic vacationers are Millennials. At least 1/​2 of domestic vacationers enjoy traveling across the U.S. and 42% say they enjoy exploring nature, which is higher than average. About 60% of these consumers say that ads in magazines (print or online) have driven them to take action in the past year, a trend which indicates that this media form may be an effective way to reach travelers.

AudienceSCAN data is available as part of a subscription to Ad-​ology PRO. Media companies can access AudienceSCAN data through the Audience Intelligence Reports in AdMall.

Kathy Crosett
Kathy is the Vice President of Research for SalesFuel. She holds a Masters in Business Administration from the University of Vermont and oversees a staff of researchers, writers and content providers for SalesFuel. Previously, she was co-​owner of several small businesses in the health care services sector.