A few decades ago, tourism was about tours and sightseeing. For Affluent Americans today, these wealthy travelers increasingly demand more authentic, unique, immersive and experiential trips. But they don’t fit into a single mold. For destination marketers, that means understanding and catering to their differences and designing itineraries and marketing that speak to them.
There are several affluent travel types, according to fresh research by Ipsos Affluent Intelligence. It found that travel preferences by generation don’t reveal much beyond stereotypes. Millennials are more focused on new and exotic while Boomers want comfort.
Getting beyond stereotypes
Yet, layering in age, gender and life stage uncovers distinct travel personas. “While Millennials are broadly more adventurous, risk-taking and active, Millennial women and Millennial men want very different travel experiences,” says Michael Baer, senior vice president who heads Ipsos Affluent Intelligence. “At the same time, GenX-ers with kids have different expectations than their child-free peers.”
Baer’s team started by identifying key traveler attitudes. They include pioneers who want to be the first of their peers to visit a destination or stay at a resort or VRBO. Some want to be pampered and are willing to pay for it. Then there are those who want their vacation to be physically challenging.
The team found that Millennials, especially women, are shaping travel in new ways for everyone. “They’re more likely than other generations to be most interested in all six travel attitudes,” says Baer.
His team then classified 13 essential travel outcomes. They include relaxation, adventure, learning about other cultures, personal growth and connecting with family.
By combining the research factors across generations, genders, attitudes and outcomes, the most interesting six key affluent travel types emerge. Here are the hallmarks of each with example destinations likely to fit their needs. For more insights, join #GenPopChat on Twitter on September 19, 2018 at 1:30 EDT.
Wellness Seekers – Are more often Millennial women but men are also booking wellness travel for future trips. They want trips that enhance their health and well-being, but they don’t want to skimp on adventure, culture, and gourmet meals. These travelers are connoisseurs of great design and tech and want to be spoiled. Example destination: Six Senses Bhutan opening.
Active Challengers – These travelers are more often Millennial men. This group already is buff. So when they go on vacation, they want to feel like they hit a personal best in action, adventure and learning. A good bet for them is eco-travel that includes climbing, skiing or other sports. Example destination: Skiing at the Chalet La Bergerie at Courchevel 1850 in France or running the Marathon des Sables in Morocco.
Sightseers – Led by GenX-ers with kids, this group wants to explore! They’re concerned about the environment and want to learn and make memories. There are more of these travelers than any of the other six groups. Example destination: Family-friendly tours to Ecuador and the Galapagos Islands.
Cruisers – Family togetherness is the goal for this group that likes to do and see in an all-inclusive trip. They are more led by men than women and skew a bit older. Example destination: Sea cruise on the Bering Sea or a holiday river cruise on the Danube.
Historians – High-income men drive this group who are most likely Baby Boomers and seniors. Above all, these travelers are interested in intellectual immersion. They’re highly educated and want to explore art and new cultures. Example destination: Dutch Master Rembrandt’s 350th anniversary at the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam.
Gourmands – The way to win over these affluent travelers is through their stomachs. They need to explore the best local foods and culture and the most inventive recipes and presentations. These tourists expect personal attention and hospitality. Example destination: Modena, Italy, home of world-famous balsamic vinegar and one of the top-rated restaurants in the world, Osteria Francescana.