American Family Travellers: Optimistic but Looking for Value

A survey of American family travel patterns shows higher income travellers are optimistic about the future, internet savvy, keen for a bargain and interested in multigenerational staycations, timeshares and cruises.

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The Ypartnership/Harrison Group  2010 Portrait of American Travelers*  surveyed the travel behaviour of Americans with an annual household income of more than $50, 000. 

Effect of the Great Recession

The first piece of good news is that most of those surveyed are optimistic despite the current poor economic conditions:

•    78% say they are actually happier now than ten years ago

•    71% out of ten are very/extremely optimistic about the future of their children and 70% about their own future

•    58% are very/extremely optimistic about the future of the company they work for with 55% very/extremely optimistic about the future of their job

However, they are keen to get value for money:

•    one third wait for products and services to go on sale before they buy

•    31% took a “last minute” trip last year, departing an average of just six days after deciding to take the trip

The Family

Ageing baby boomers are driving multigenerational holidays:

•    One third of the households included children yet 44% took at least one “family travel” trip indicating a growth in multi-generational vacations

•    20% of travellers are grandparents, and 67% of those who have reached this life stage took at least one vacation with their grandchildren last year

•    69% took a vacation to celebrate a life event last year, with milestone birthdays and anniversaries topping the list

•    Children play an active role in planning vacations in 48% of all family travel households

•    Staycations are still in vogue – Family travellers are more likely to have taken a vacation less than 50 miles from home

The Internet

Internet use is comprehensive:

•    90% have a page posted on Facebook  and 23% have visited a blog to seek or preview information about vacations

•    All have access to the Internet at home, and the vast majority go online to get information about travel suppliers (89%) and make reservations (87%)

Vacation Destination/Duration

Theme park vacations are popular:

•    26% took a theme park vacation, 9% visited an all-inclusive resort but beach/lake destinations were most popular selected by 33%

•    The most interesting destinations include Hawaii (73%), the national parks (71%), Honolulu (69%) and Orlando (59%)

There is encouragement for those theme park brands extending their market into real estate:

•    24% has stayed in a vacation home or condominium rental as an alternative to conventional hotel/resort lodging on a vacation last year

•    14% is interested in purchasing a vacation home, with 7% interested in purchasing a timeshare

And finally, 32% of those surveyed are interested in taking a cruise vacation during the next two years.  Nothing surprising there for Disney who have successfully conquered the high seas with Disney Cruise Line, recognized for the first time as the No. 1 cruise experience at the Annual Readers’ Choice Awards for Condé Nast Traveler magazine last week.  Disney are looking to more than double their capacity with two new ships currently under construction due for delivery in 2011/12 and new routes planned along the Pacific Coast. 

*Source: Ypartnership/Harrison Group 2010 Portrait of American Travelers as reported in Travel Daily News