This week in travel industry research saw a deeper dive into the mind of the Millennial traveler during the vacation planning process, plus a look at what to expect from this year's holiday travel period.
Millennials Consider 30.2 Sources When Planning Vacation
When it comes to travel planning, Millennials are considering more sources of information than ever before, according to MMGY Global's 2015 Portrait of American Travelers. Over a third of Millennial travelers say they are relying on more sources of advice than ever before when making vacation decisions, significantly more than their older counterparts.
Millennials consider significantly more sources of information than their older counterparts consider at every stage of vacation planning covered in the survey. Throughout the vacation planning process, Millennials consider, on average, over 11 more sources than Xers or Boomers, and over 15 more sources than Matures. The stage with at which the biggest discrepancy occurs is phase three, comparing prices and features, during which Millennials consider an average of almost ten sources, compared to Xers or Boomers who only consider over five, and Matures who consider four. This suggests that Millennials are more price/value sensitive, more susceptible to the influence of the content found on advisory websites, and therefore have the potential to be influenced by travel messaging more frequently than other generations throughout the planning process.
On average, Millennials consider over seven more information sources during vacation planning now compared to only one year ago. Similar to this year’s generational breakdown, the biggest variation is apparent during the comparing prices and features stage, at which Millennials now reference more than three different information sources.
25 Percent of Millennials Used Sharing Economy on Vacation
Millennial travel planning doesn't just stop with gathering information. There's also the question of whether too book an Airbnb or similar sharing economy service, or to opt for a more traditional hotel. The Portrait of American Travelers had some insights there as well.
According to the report, 25 percent of Millennial travelers used sharing economy accommodations on at least one vacation during the past 12 months, a significantly higher proportion than Gen Xers, Boomers or Matures. Millennials who did book through homesharing services liked it -- 80 percent indicated that they would book again.
Why are Millennials turning to Airbnb and other, similar services? The most frequently cited reason was comfort -- the sense that they were vacationing in a home away from home. Additionally, 81 percent of Millennial travelers felt that homeshare accommodations were more affordable than traditional hotels.
Holiday Travelers to Top 100 Million for the First Time
It wasn't all about Millennials this week. The industry is also looking forward to a busy holiday travel period, according to a AAA forecast. AAA projects the number of year-end holiday travelers will top 100 million for the first time on record. Nearly one in three Americans will take a trip this holiday season, with 100.5 million expected to journey 50 miles or more from home. This represents a 1.4 percent increase over last year and the seventh consecutive year of year-end holiday travel growth. The year-end holiday travel period is defined as Wednesday, December 23, 2015 to Sunday, January 3, 2016.
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The increase in holiday travel this year is being driven by continued improvement in the labor market, rising incomes and low prices, including gas prices that remain well below last year’s levels, AAA said. This is helping boost Americans’ disposable income, but some consumers continue to remain cautious about their finances as they head into the holiday season.
78.3 Percent of Travel Agents Have 10 or More Years of Experience
Finally, we closed out the week with a comprehensive survey of the travel agent job market from HotTravelJobs.com.
Hot Travel Jobs conducted a survey from August to November of 2015, collecting responses from both employed and unemployed travel agents. The number of respondents totaled 477, with 43.4 percent being corporate agents, 30.8 percent leisure agents and 16.8 percent which worked as both corporate and leisure. 9 percent were classified as other.
The survey shows that 70.4 percent of surveyed agents are currently employed, with the remaining 29.6 percent indicating that they’re currently unemployed and actively seeking work.
The 29.6 percent unemployed reported that 45.4 percent have been out of work for over 1 year, 13.1 percent for 6-12 months, 29.2 percent for 1-5 months and 12.3 percent have been looking for under a month.
In terms of age, 67.8 percent of respondents indicated they were 45 years of age or older, with 78.3 percent of respondents having 10 or more years of experience in the travel industry.
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