3 things to know about the US leisure traveler
3 things to know about the US leisure traveler
19 SEPTEMBER 2017 7:47 AM

Research presented on a recent Phocuswright webinar shows that the average U.S. leisure traveler is young, affluent and a super-consumer. Here’s what you need to know about U.S. leisure travelers.

REPORT FROM THE U.S.—The average leisure traveler from the United States is a super-consumer between the ages of 18 and 34 who takes about three trips a year and spends $3,019, according to research from Phocuswright.

On a recent webinar titled, “The U.S. leisure traveler: Understanding consumer lifestyle behavior,” Phocuswright Research Analyst Mark Blutstein offered insights on the average U.S. leisure traveler and heavy leisure travelers.

Here are three takeaways from the presentation.

1. Leisure travelers are young and affluent
The U.S. leisure traveler segment is made up of people, age 18 to 34, who earn $75,000 a year.

The younger side of this age group—travelers who are 18 to 24 years old—are most likely to take a leisure trip, according to research from 2016.

“In our research, we do not track the education levels of those non-travelers, but social research and other research shows a strong correlation between income and education,” Blutstein said. “As far as travelers, 54% of (U.S.) travelers report either a bachelor’s degree or higher.”

2. Leisure travelers are tech-savvy super consumers
Blutstein said 59% of those surveyed rated travel and tourism as important discretionary spending, compared to only 10% of non-travelers.

U.S. leisure travelers are also tech-savvy, with 84% of travelers owning a smartphone. Two in five smartphone users booked a hotel stay or a flight on their smartphone in 2016, according to Phocuswright’s research.

These travelers are also considered super-consumers, Blutstein said, because they partake in other discretionary spending—for example, on hotels, fashion, accessories and entertainment—using their smartphones.

3. Frequent travelers are more likely to be loyalty members
Travelers who travel more than three times a year, referred to as heavy travelers by Phocuswright, “are more likely to feel brands matter when they purchase,” Blutstein said. “When you think of brands and kind of driving someone to a brand … those loyalty members are a major component,” he added.

He said that 78% of heavy travelers are loyal to an airline or hotel loyalty program, and of those higher-end guests staying in luxury hotels, three out of five are members of hotel loyalty programs.

“When we look at loyalty, loyalty programs do matter,” Blutstein said. “Loyalty from airlines and hotels are heavily marketed. The hotels want to drive direct bookings as well as the airlines, and what we see here are those travelers (outside of high-end hotels) who are loyalty members are more likely to book direct.”
He added that 58% of loyalty members will typically book direct.

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