Though some of the most iconic cities are still bringing in millions of travelers each year, consumers are becoming more open to previously less-traveled destinations; Mexico City, Bali and Ho Chi Minh, each increased online searches by 50% or more, making them the top 3 trending destinations on Kayak.com in 2019.
- Similarly, searches for less-traveled islands are up 179% according to Pinterest.
- All that exploration makes sense, as Adventure Travel is popular this year (up 65%) and growing, with more travelers looking to experience new cultures, food, and activities that are out of the norm—70% of people think that trips that include new experiences are more important than sightseeing. This finding resonates well with younger crowds that want to get more out of their travel while getting more bang for their buck. And unlike other groups, millennials are likely to pay higher prices for faster travel.
How are they getting there?
According to a study by Expedia Group, “52% of surveyors selected their mode of transport by the fastest option, and 34% selected based on the lowest cost.”
- Flights still remain the highest search interest in 2019; however, all modes of transportation saw increases in demand YoY. Flights +25%, Train +8%, and Bus +4% -- based on Google Trends. Cheap travel options are increasing in popularity, with bus travel up +32% according to Pinterest. Moreover, knowing many fall travelers are looking for ways to save while focusing on explore the local scenery, road trip/travel by car is another viable travel option. According to Travelagentcentral.com, “road trips are the preferred activity for fall travelers, with 62 percent of those planning a vacation intending to pack up their cars and hit the road.”
- Once at a destination, “They want to be immersed in the destination… doing that by trekking, cycling, horse[back]-riding, and experiencing authentic culture.” All these are likely options as “26 percent of those who are planning a fall vacation will take a trip to view fall foliage.”
The role of Brands and Businesses
In anticipation of an uptick in fall travel, businesses are wise to use the spring and summer months to tailor and target their marketing promotions to the characteristics of specific audiences that are likely to engage in fall travel. According to a study conducted by Online Travel Agency Expedia, examining the different behavior of travelers based on age, the two main age demographics (Baby Boomers and Millennials/Generation Z) both travel extensively, but have a large discrepancy when it comes to consumer characteristics.
- The AARP notes that 24% of international trips taken by baby boomers are “Bucket List” trips, signaling perhaps a longer trip that requires advance planning. Boomers are thus most likely to be set on a destination or have an entire fall trip already planned, so promotions should be geared toward meals, activities, and additional events to be experienced once on the trip itself, and companies should advertise them from September through November.
- Millennials and Gen Z travelers are more likely to book a trip with less planning time, often opting for trips averaging 3-5 days. This represents ample opportunity for companies to advertise fall 2019 deals relating to travel and accommodations closer to time of travel, ideally in August and September. Promotions should be focused on areas that are important to these younger travelers, such as affordable hotel or home rentals, free Wifi, and cheap plane tickets or transportation.
Age groups also look to travel companies and businesses for different services and information:
- Baby boomers are more inclined to have a destination picked out prior to planning a trip; businesses advertising specific destinations or all-inclusive packages should consider gearing ads to be more informational than aspirational, highlighting things to do and see, rather than a destination that has become newly popular among travelers.
- Booking.com found that “travelers who book their activities ahead of their trip spend 47% more on lodging and 81% more on transportation than those who wait to book in destination,” making them a valuable audience for large online travel agencies that offer booking capabilities across many different aspects of travel.
- Millennials and Gen Z came of age with technology, and are thus more heavily influenced by digital advertising when considering and planning a trip, as cited by Expedia:
- 72% of Millennials reported that their travel decisions can be influenced by advertising of some sort. 90% of Generation Z reported that their decisions are somehow influenced by Social Media.
Despite the differences in consumer behavior, it’s imperative that businesses highlight their convenience offering, making clear to customers of all ages how their company or platform makes all aspects of their travel experience seamless:
- 80% of Americans say that it is helpful to be able to book multiple components of a trip on one platform, and even higher (87%) amongst Generation Z travelers.
- Companies that do not have these all-inclusive capabilities could consider creating partnerships with other smaller platforms in order to stay competitive within the marketplace.
- Baby Boomers are most likely to belong to and use either an airline or hotel loyalty program to book travel, underscoring their tendency to spend more time in “saving up” and planning for a specific trip.
Fall represents an ideal time for many people of all ages to take trips—young children and college students are back in school, the weather is beginning to cool off in many parts of the world, and vacation prices have fallen from their summer peak. There are a number of factors that influence how and where people will travel this fall, and age is one of the most significant demographic factors in determining the research process and vacation priorities.
As technology has made it easier to plan and execute travel experiences, people are looking to companies and brands throughout the research and booking process for convenience, providing prospective travelers with both deals and expertise in creating the perfect trip that fits their needs and meets expectations. With summer beginning to wind down, now is the perfect time for consumers and businesses alike to plan on how to execute their best experience yet.