Compared with the average American, affluent Americans are adventurous souls, as high-income consumers are frequently "on the go" to both domestic and foreign destinations. And when they
do travel, they spend according to their means, which increase as their household incomes rise… all of which bodes well for airlines, cruise lines, hotels/resorts, car rentals, and more. For a
"big picture" road map to their destinations, their means of travel, and how much they are planning to spend, this report paints pictures of consumers' plans to travel during the next 12 months. For
- Almost two thirds (63%) of all American adults are planning to travel for pleasure during the next 12 months. The majority of these travelers will be taking a trip
in the U.S. (50%) while one in five (20%) are planning to travel outside the U.S.
- Among those with household incomes of $250,000 or more, (3% of all Americans)
almost nine in ten (88%) plan to travel for pleasure. As might be expected, as household income goes up, so does the propensity to travel for pleasure.
- Notably, the
segment of consumers on the next step up in household income ($500,000+ adults — the top 1%) plans to spend three times more than all adults for their domestic pleasure trips or vacations.
Again, a very valuable target group for travel marketers.
- And this highest-income segment clearly seeks luxury, as about two thirds of those who are considering a
specific destination for their trip abroad are planning to stay in either a four- or five-star hotel/resort or a luxury boutique.
Overall travel plans for the next
As household income increases, so does the likelihood of traveling for pleasure (as distinct from traveling for business), especially of taking trips outside the
United States. Notably, half of the $250,000+ household-income segment, and three in five of the $500,000+ segment plan a trip abroad in the next 12 months, compared with only one fifth of all adults.
The more upscale adults are also more likely to plan domestic weekend trips and vacations as well as foreign adventure trips.
Travel plans for next 12 months
Any travel for pleasure plans
Any trips within the U.S.
A weekend trip
A pleasure trip or vacation
An adventure trip
Any trips outside the U.S.
A pleasure trip or vacation
An adventure trip
- About 50% of all American
adults are planning to travel for pleasure within the United States during the next 12 months. As household income increases, the percentage of those planning to travel within the United States also
increases, reaching 71% among the upper-income segments.
- Among those who are considering specific destinations (about six in ten among those planning travel within
the United States), Florida is the number one planned destination followed by California, Nevada, New York, and Illinois. As income increases, Hawaii and Colorado are more likely to be considered as
- While all Americans are more inclined to use a personal vehicle than a commercial airline for domestic trips, that paradigm shifts as income
increases, with commercial airlines becoming the travel mode of choice among more upscale adults.
- When the travelers eventually reach their destinations in the
United States, the majority of the higher-income segment adults are planning to stay at four- or five-star or other luxury-type accommodations.
- Finally, the
higher-income segments are planning trips that are of longer duration and more expensive.
Big picture …
- Americans planning to travel outside the United States during the next 12 months are more inclined to consider specific destinations (75%) compared with those planning domestic travel
(59%). And those who are considering specific destinations are looking to travel to Europe (the #1 destination), then the Caribbean, Mexico, Bermuda, Central/South America, and Asia.
- While a majority of all adults plan to use personal cars for domestic travel, not surprisingly, airlines are the dominant mode of transportation selected by the majority of those
traveling outside the United States, with private aviation being used by a small minority of the very-high-income consumers.
- Just as with domestic travel plans,
four- and five-star and luxury accommodations again are on the drawing board among the upper-income segments.
- Also, while the average foreign trip is close to two
weeks in length among all income segments, the average value of the planned trip rises dramatically for the upper-income levels.
- Finally, for trips outside the
United States, not surprisingly the use of travel agents/agencies is much more prevalent than for domestic trips (32% on average for foreign travel compared with 7% for U.S. travel).
The insights and data presented in this report are based on the Shullman Luxury and Affluence Monthly Pulse, March Preview Wave, conducted online between Feb. 26 and March 6, 2013, among
adults age 18 or older.