Internova: Leisure Travel, Use of Travel Advisors Growing

Americans are taking more leisure trips and they’re increasingly using the services of a travel advisor to assist them with planning and booking those trips, according to the "2023 Internova Index: American Traveler Insights," a new survey of travel trends conducted by Internova Travel Group.

Driven by the popularity of international destinations, the average number of annual leisure trips per traveler grew by 4 percent from November 2022 to October 2023. During the same time period, international travel has grown by about 10 percent.

The survey results also show strong growth for leisure travel next year. In 2024, the vast majority of leisure travelers plan to travel the same or more, with people under age 35 the most likely to increase their activity. When it comes to the business or leisure trips that they have planned for next year, travelers over age 55 will be visiting Europe, while those under age 35 are more interested in Central and South America. Both groups also express a strong preference for destinations in the Caribbean.

In addition, the survey found significant differences in travel preferences across age groups. Analysis of Internova booking data found that while older travelers are more likely to book premium seats and luxury hotels, young travelers will often fly economy to their destination and splurge on luxury hotels.

More than half (55 percent) of young travelers expressed interest in spa and wellness retreats in the next 12 months as well as stronger interest in adventure activities like hiking, cycling and surfing and sustainability initiatives. All travelers demonstrated some interest in cruises, but discounting pricing and all-inclusive rates resonated with younger travelers while older travelers valued interesting destinations.

Another key finding from the survey is that younger and older travelers alike, across all income levels, are shifting to travel advisors to book their trips. Nearly 60 percent say that they prefer talking to a human being when making their travel plans.

Consumers say that they value the expertise an advisor provides in helping them choose among travel suppliers for every phase of their trip—from hotels, airlines and cruise lines to tours, destinations and activities. Plus, they appreciate the support that a travel advisor provides should something unexpected happen. Thirty-six percent of travelers under age 35 say that the time that a travel advisor saves them in trip planning is also an important benefit.

Some other findings from the survey:

  • Elite travelers (i.e., those who primarily fly premium cabins and stay in luxury hotels) take the most trips, on average, traveling six times a year for leisure in the past 12 months, an increase of 7 percent over 2022.
  • When selecting a hotel, travelers place a priority on location, good reviews and the quality of rooms.
  • Overall, 60 percent of respondents plan to take a cruise at some point in the future, and interest in cruising increases with age.
  • Private tours appeal strongly to wealthier travelers as well as younger ones; group tours are more popular with older travelers.
  • Since the pandemic, people are more likely to remain nearby for domestic vacations. The South (largely driven by Florida) and the West (largely driven by California) have the highest share of residents choosing to spend their vacations in the same region. Consumers in the Southwest are most likely to travel outside their region.
  • For those who decide to travel farther for domestic vacations, Hawaii is the most popular location overall for tours and packages, while California ranks number one for elite and high-income travelers. Florida is the biggest destination for low- and middle-income travelers.

The "2023 Internova Index: American Traveler Insights" leveraged proprietary data on millions of travel bookings by U.S. residents and a survey of over 3,000 U.S. travelers across all age groups and wealth groups. The report was compiled by Internova Analytics and Consulting, a group within Internova Travel Group that combines unique data sources, knowledgeable internal expertise and an experienced project delivery team to provide suppliers, destinations and agencies with relevant insights on the travel industry. Through bespoke engagements, Internova Analytics and Consulting helps participants in the travel industry adapt to new trends and address their most pressing challenges.

Source: Internova Travel Group 

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