Western Europe 58%
World Dream Destinations : Western Europe 58%



Hawaii 57%
World Dream Destinations: Hawaii 57%

Interest in the lifestyles and travel habits of “affluent travelers” has grown considerably in recent years. This is because these travelers have been responsible for much of the increase in demand for travel services, whether for business or leisure, since we emerged from the Great Recession.  

Affluent Travelers Defined

Who are these highly desirable travelers? They may be defined in three ways: 1) current (annual) household income, 2) net worth, and 3) their lifestyle and corresponding attitudes with respect to the quality of travel services and experiences they are seeking. For the purpose of the data appearing in this article, this market segment is defined as follows: 

Caribbean 54%
World Dream Destinations: Caribbean 54%

* Minimum annual household income of $250,000 (roughly the top percent of U.S. households defined by current income);

* A minimum net worth of $2,000,000 (excluding the value of their primary residence);

* Typically fly Business/First class and stay in 4/5-Star lodging accommodations.


Affluent travelers also display a distinctive demographic profile:

* 44 percent are Baby Boomers (between 49-67 years of age, with a median age of 56);

* 82 percent have an annual household income between $250,000-$500,000;

* 82 percent are married;

* 65 percent are employed full-time;

* 63 percent have a graduate-level education (four or more years of college);

* 41 percent have children at home.


The words they use to describe themselves provide an interesting insight into their social values and sense of personal achievement:

Canada 38%
World Dream Destinations: Canada 38%

* Intelligent (78 percent), honest (71 percent), reliable/friendly (68 percent), financially secure (64 percent), happily married (62 percent), and loyal (61 percent).

And their intentions with respect to travel in the year ahead underscore their desirability as a market target: On the whole, 32 percent plan to take “more trips” in 2013 than in 2012 (versus just 5 percent who are planning to take “fewer trips”).


Travel Habits, Preferences and Intentions

Oceania 33%
World Dream Destinations: Oceania 33%

Fully three-quarters of affluent travelers have a valid passport, and four out of ten (43 percent) took an international trip last year. When asked about the “off-shore” destinations they would like to visit most during the next two years, Western Europe (58 percent), Hawaii (57 percent) and The Caribbean (54 percent) topped the list. The domestic destinations of greatest interest include New York City (56 percent), Napa Valley (54 percent), the Florida Keys (53 percent) and San Francisco (52 percent). The most desirable vacation attributes include “beautiful scenery” (90 percent), and “having enough time to relax and unwind (85 percent). Their sense of wanderlust is alive and well, however: Totally eight out of ten are interested in visiting “a place they have never visited before” on their next vacation (the same percentage who proclaim “having access to the Internet from their hotel room/accommodations” is important while on vacation).The slight majority (53 percent) of affluent travelers “stay in touch with the office” while on vacation, whereas four out of ten “totally disconnect.”

Alaska 32%
World Dream Destinations: Alaska 32%

The data also reveal that affluent travelers, not surprisingly, have high expectations with respect to both personal recognition and service. Nine out of ten “enjoy being treated like a VIP” and four out of ten believe the destinations they visit “say a lot about who they are.” They are prepared to pay for quality, however, particularly when it comes to lodging accommodations. And their wealth notwithstanding, affluent travelers are clearly “aggressive shoppers:” seven out of ten (69 percent) consistently “try to get the best prices on the items they purchase,” and only three out of ten (27 percent) “expect the price they pay to reflect the best quality.”

Eastern Europe 29%
World Dream Destinations: Eastern Europe 29%


Media Influence On Purchase Of Travel Services

The sources of media that influence the five stages of destination and supplier selection vary considerably, with “family and friends” and a combination of both “offline and online sources” exerting the greatest influence at the early stages of “inspiration and planning.” Online sources (OTAs and suppliers’ websites) are most influential at the point of actual booking.  

The usage of traditional travel agents by affluent travelers continues to grow (almost one out of four intend to use the services of a traditional agent in the year ahead) and, not surprisingly, their influence is greatest when these travelers are seeking “insights and advice.”

Asia 26%
World Dream Destinations: Asia 26%

For more information on the unique lifestyles and travel behavior of affluent travelers please visit [email protected].


Hawaiian Neighbor Islands 71%
Domestic Dream Destinations: Hawaiian Neighbor Islands 71%




New York City 56%
Domestic Dream Destinations: New York City 56%
Honolulu/ National Parks 59%
Domestic Dream Destinations: Honolulu/ National Parks 59%




Napa Valley 54%
Domestic Dream Destinations: Napa Valley 54%



Florida Keys 53%
Domestic Dream Destinations: Florida Keys 53%



San Francisco 52%
Domestic Dream Destinations: San Francisco 52%



New Orleans 49%
Domestic Dream Destinations: New Orleans 49%



Sonoma/ San Francisco 52% New Orleans 49% Washington DC 45%
Domestic Dream Destinations: Sonoma/Washington DC 45%