Millennial travelers putting their trust in the sharing economy is leading a decline in summer travel spending, according to new research by Allianz Global Assistance (AGA).
According to AGA's sixth annual Allianz Travel Insurance Vacation Confidence Index, Americans will spend $85.5 billion on summer vacations in 2015, down 13.5 percent from $98.8 billion in 2014. The decline is being led by Millennial travelers aged between 18 and 34 that are more trusting of sharing economy services like Airbnb, Home Away, Uber, Lyft, GetAround and Feastly to book travel experiences. A majority (60%) of Millennials trust the sharing economy, compared to only 37 percent of all other travelers:
While only 47 percent of Americans are aware of at least one of these sharing economy services, more than 58 percent of Millennials aged 18-34 are aware of the non-traditional forms of booking accommodation, transportation, and experiences. And while only 17 percent of Americans say they’re likely to use a sharing economy service during their summer vacation this year, 28 percent of young adults under the age of 35 are planning to book their travel in these non-traditional ways.
This is despite all age groups of travelers agreeing that better experiences and services are provided by established methods to organize travel such as online services Orbitz.com, Hotels.com, and Expedia.com, using a travel agent, or booking directly with a hotel, restaurant or hire car service.
"While sharing economy services can potentially save time, money, and offer unique experiences, many require payment in advance,” said Joe Mason, chief marketing officer at Allianz Global Assistance USA. "Travelers opting for shared economy services should protect their travel investment with travel insurance. The right policy will protect a consumer's investment regardless of whether it’s made with the new sharing economy or with more established methods.”
The Vacation Confidence Index has been conducted each summer since 2010 by national polling firm Ipsos Public Affairs on behalf of Allianz Global Assistance USA. A vacation is defined as a trip of at least a week to a spot that is more than 100 miles from home.