The Week in Travel Stats: Spotlight on Winter Travel and Millennials

Top winter destinations and new insights into the desires of Millennial travelers led the news in travel industry statistics this week.

Rome, Sydney and Paris Lead Winter Holiday Travel

This week CCRA Travel Commerce Network released a look at the top U.S. and international holiday travel destinations based on bookings made by travel agents via the hotel booking engine. 


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The top 5 U.S. and international destinations for hotel stays between December 19 through January 10 forecast where U.S. consumers are traveling during the busy Christmas and New Year’s Eve holiday weeks, and Paris is included as one of CCRA’s newly trending international holiday travel destinations.

“Based on our hotel booking trends report, warmer-weather coastal cities throughout California and Florida continue to be very popular U.S. winter travel destinations this year,” said Dic Marxen, president and CEO of CCRA. “Of particular interest are three new international cities that are luring more U.S. travelers this winter holiday season: Sydney, Buenos Aires and Paris. Following the recent terror attacks in Paris, our hotel bookings suggest that U.S. consumers have not cancelled their pre-arranged holiday trips to Paris."


43 Percent of Millennial Families Planning Travel

This week also saw new insights into the Millennial travel market. According to MMGY Global's 2015 Portrait of American Travelers, families outweigh couples as a driver of Millennial travel. 43 percent of Millennial families plan to take a vacation in the next 12 months, versus 27 percent of Millennial couples. 


Millennial families also top Millennial couples in terms of desire to use a travel agent and spending as well. 64 percent of Millennial families intend to use a travel agent, versus 41 percent of Millennial couples. Additionally, average planned vacation spending was $6,113 for Millennial families, versus $3,534 for couples. 

Source: MMGY Global

39 Percent of Millennial Celebration Travelers Vacation for Birthdays

Celebration travel is also an important niche for selling to Millennial clients. According to MMGY Global’s 2014 Portrait of American Travelers, when it comes to “Types of Special Occasion Vacations Taken,” Millennials are just as likely as Xers and Boomers to travel to celebrate an anniversary and the most likely demographic to do so for a birthday. This week we took a look at the top occasions Millennials are looking to celebrate. 


Millennials are also second only to Matures regarding trips taken to attend a family reunion. Not surprisingly, given their age range of about 25 to 35, Millennials are far and away the leading travelers for engagements, bachelor/bachelorette parties, weddings and honeymoons. They also lead the pack in using travel to celebrate getting a new job or a bonus or raise at work.

Airfares Fall 5 Percent

In air travel news this week, the International Air Transport Association (IATA) released its global passenger traffic results for October showing continued strong demand growth for both domestic and international traffic compared to the year-ago period.


Growth in air travel has been stimulated by lower fares, particularly for leisure travel. Data for the first eight months of the year show a 5 percent fall in average fares in currency-adjusted terms. It is estimated that the fall in fares has supported approximately 3 percentage points of the rise in traffic year-to-date. Total revenue passenger kilometers (RPKs) rose 7.5 percent, which was in line with the 7.4 percent year-over-year expansion seen in September. October capacity (available seat kilometers or ASKs) increased by 5.7 percent, and load factor rose 1.4 percentage points to 80.5 percent.

“The air travel story is generally a good one. There are some weak spots. For example the Brazilian air transport sector is caught in perfect storm of a deepening recession, high costs and a weak currency. In most parts of the world we see strong demand for travel—exceeding the growth in capacity. Load factors are averaging over 80 percent and consumers are the big winners with fares trending downwards,” said Tony Tyler, IATA’s director general and CEO.  

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Amex Says Slow Growth for Business Travel in 2016

Business travel, on the other hand, had a more mixed recent forecast. The American Express Global Business Travel Forecast 2016 predicts air, hotel and ground transportation prices will see modest gains in 2016, as a slowly-improving global economy and stronger demand outpace increases in supply. Led by favorable market conditions in North America and tempered growth in Asia, the airline industry will see slight pricing gains as increased demand is offset by similar growth in capacity partially spurred by lower fuel costs. Global hotel performance is also expected to improve moderately in 2016, as limited increases in inventory fail to keep pace with the growing global appetite for travel. Overall, North America is expected to continue its momentum from 2015 and experience healthy rate increases, while Asia-Pacific and Europe will show moderate gains. Ground transportation rates are expected to remain relatively flat as overcapacity, strong competition and a continued focus on ancillary fees persist globally.

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