While confidence to travel appears to be returning among all age groups, it is high-income millennials who are most likely to spend big on travel this year, per a joint study by Tripadvisor and Accenture.
The study was fielded before the latest mask guidance issued late last week by the Centers For Disease Control, which could help the category if it results in consumers feeling more comfortable in engaging in pre-pandemic activities like travel.
"The Future of Travel," executed by Qualtricson on March 3, interviewed 1,000 respondents from 49 states, evenly distributed across Gen Z, Gen X, millennial and baby boomers.
The findings are encouraging for brands because among those planning to spend more than $5,000 on their next trip, as many as 62% have not yet made a booking. For brands, the opportunity is there to attract the purchasing power of this audience now, per the results.
Of those U.S. respondents who did not take a trip at all in 2020, nearly two thirds (61%) said they are comfortable doing so in 2021. Respondents earning $100,000 or more are leading the way in likelihood to travel in 2021, with over a third (34%) having already booked a trip for 2021, compared to less than one in five (19%) of the remaining population.
Those who traveled in 2020 are more likely to have booked a 2021 trip already. Of those respondents that traveled last year, 41% have already booked 2021 travel compared to just 13% of those who did not travel at all in 2020.
U.S. travelers are getting more adventurous in their plans, especially in the higher income brackets. Over half (54%) of all U.S. respondents earning more than $50,000 are considering domestic air travel for their next trip, while 25% of those earning $100,000 or more are considering flying abroad for their next trip.
Millennials earning above $50,000 are the most eager to fly. Three out of five (58%) of those surveyed are considering domestic air (compared to 41% among other age groups) and 25% are considering international air travel (that’s 1.8 times higher than the average among respondents in other demographic groups).
Respondents who have already booked a trip are five times more likely to be taking an international trip as opposed to a staycation (a trip less than three hours from home).
Travelers are planning longer trips this year — 87% of respondents who have already booked travel have opted for a trip of three nights or more. Of those yet to book a trip, 77% are also planning a break of three nights or more.
Luxury vacations are the order of the day. More than a third (37%) of high-income Mmllennials are planning to spend more than $5,000 on an upcoming luxury trip.
Elsewhere, MediaRadar released an analysis of tourism ad spend, including trends from hotels and regional tourism efforts, like Visit California.
The platform analyzed ad spend across print, national television, and digital formats between January and April 2021.
In the weeks leading up to National Tourism Week (May 3-9, 2021), regional tourism ad campaigns spent $67.7 million across print, national television, and digital formats. This is up 136% month-over-month when comparing March 2021 ($28.7m) to April 2021 ($67.7m).
When comparing year-over-year (YoY), April 2021 saw a 130% increase from $29.4 million in 2020 to $67.7 million this year.
The largest campaigns came from Visit California, Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority, Visit Maryland, Visit Myrtle Beach South Carolina, and Visit Florida. Collectively, their spend accounts for $9.5 million 15% of total spend in the category.
Hyper-local campaigns from California far outpaced any other regional campaigns in the month of April 2021. San Diego, Lake Tahoe, Laguna Beach, Long Beach, Big Bear and the Central Coast all appear in the top 15 spending advertisers over the past four weeks.
Spend in the hotel and hospitality industry increased 8% from March 2021 to April 2021, with $44.7mm invested across print, television, and digital formats. Luxury hotel groups are contributing to the resurgence of this industry as consumers are more likely to travel as pandemic restrictions are lifted.
Airbnb and VRBO continue to maintain a strong presence in the hospitality market. Ad spend from both of these companies account for 26% of all ad spend in the month of April 2021, per the research.