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Millennial Families Spending, Traveling During a Projected Travel Industry Slowdown

09/12/2017
In a year of projected slowdown for travel, Millennial families are going to spend more and travel more than all other generational segments according to MMGY Global’s Portrait of American Travelers® survey. This year’s Portrait predicts that the approximately 60 million traveling households in the U.S. will spend up to $5 billion less on leisure travel, which shows a less than 1 percent dip from its eight-year high in 2016. The 9.5 million households that are American Millennial families, however, intend to spend 19 percent more on vacations during the next 12 months and intend to travel 35 percent more than the previous year. 
 
The Portrait, which is the longest continuous survey of its kind in America, includes responses from 2,902 U.S. adults surveyed this year who have taken at least one overnight trip a minimum of 75 miles from home in the past 12 months. The study measures over 2,000 variables, thoroughly analyzing and revealing American travelers’ perceptions of travel, planning priorities and emerging vacation behaviors and inclinations.
 
Travel remains an important part of American family life, especially for younger families. Vacations in the U.S. are gaining importance across all generations, but Millennial families are continuing to travel domestically and internationally,” said Clayton Reid, president and CEO of MMGY Global. “Travel marketers should view Millennial families as an opportunity segment, not only because of their size and purchasing power, but because that segment is only going to expand.”
 
The following are topline results from the first of four research publications that will be released this year as part of the Portrait study:
 
Millennial Families Are the Primary Drivers of Growth in Travel
Millennial families, which are married or unmarried couples living together with children aged 17 or under currently in the household, make up 16 percent of all American travelers. They went on a combined 36.9 million vacations and spent $50.4 billion on leisure travel during the past 12 months and they are the driving force behind growth in travel this year.
 
● While U.S. travelers only intend to travel 6 percent more this year, Millennial families intend to travel 35 percent more.
● Millennial families intend to spend 38 percent more than Millennial couples on vacation and 88 percent more than Millennial singles.
● 26 percent of Millennial family vacations are to international destinations compared to less than 20 percent of couples or singles, possibly because three-quarters of Millennial families consider themselves happy, optimistic about their own future (83 percent) and the future of the world (62 percent).
 
Instability Turning Americans toward Domestic Destinations and Road Trips
In 2017, travelers reported spending an average of $4,833 on vacations during the previous 12 months, a significant drop from $5,048 the year prior. And, for the first time since 2013, travelers report an intention to spend less ($18) on travel than they did during the previous year. With half of travelers saying they are optimistic about the future of America and the world, travelers’ preferences are shifting toward domestic rather than international destinations.
 
● Domestic vacations now make up 85 percent of American vacations, up 7 points from last year. 13.9 million more vacations were taken within the U.S. compared to outside the country.
● Two-thirds of travelers reported being happy, which represents a drop of 9 points from last year and a five-year low. Two-thirds of travelers are currently optimistic about their future employment, which is a 7-point decrease from last year.
● 40 percent of domestic vacations will be to new destinations, which is up from 34 percent last year.
● 79 percent of millennial travelers’ vacations were to domestic destinations in 2016; the same applies to 85 percent of Gen Xers, 90 percent of baby boomers, and 88 percent of mature travelers.
● In the last 12 months, 39 percent of vacations taken by American travelers were road trips, up significantly from 22 percent the year prior. 
 
Attractions Are Influencing where Travelers Vacation
Over two-thirds of travelers visited at least one attraction while on vacation and these approximately 41.5 million households took a combined 150.9 million vacations and spent $306.1 billion on leisure travel during the past 12 months.
 
● 53 percent of all vacations include at least one visit to an attraction.
● 68 percent of travelers chose the majority of attractions they would visit before the vacation began.
● Top-ranking attractions showcase an interest in education and culture with art and history museums (65 percent), aquariums (59 percent) and science museums (56 percent) coming before theme parks (55 percent).
● 57 percent of Millennials visited at least one attraction on vacation during the last 12 months, while 53 percent of Xers, 49 percent of Boomers and 46 percent of Matures did.
 
For more information about these insights, or to subscribe to the 2017 Portrait white papers, visit www.mmgyglobal.com


About The Author
MMGY Global




MMGY Global is the largest integrated travel marketing organization in the world. With more than 35 years of experience in the travel, hospitality and entertainment industries, the award-winning agency provides expertise in all marketing channels, serving the world’s premier travel and tourism brands. MMGY Global maintains the industry's most complete database of U.S. resident travel information and, for 27 consecutive years, has published the Portrait of American Travelers®, the most comprehensive survey of the travel habits, preferences and intentions of Americans. Today, the organization represents six offices across the globe and four agency brands including MMGY, DK Shifflet, Myriad International Marketing and NJF. Visit mmgyglobal.com for more information. 

 
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