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Loving Travel Almost as Much as Family

Snapshot of the American Traveler

It’s a bit startling to learn that our passion for travel is second only to our passion for our families.

I learned this from  travel trade sites which often have more interesting things to say than consumer travel publications or sites.

Travel trade sites and magazines often have more interesting stuff  than consumer travel publications.

The content on Travel Weekly and, say, is often more readable, more useful than some of the travel consumer sites or glitzy travel magazines that stretch for hyperbole when describing blue Caribbean waters or some village in Spain.

So when Hotelmarketing ran its list of top stories for 2011, they were interesting because they were gritty choices: Why hotels shouldn’t sell a $200 room for fifty bucks, or Dysfunctional hotel websites.

But when  Ypartners, a key analyst of travel trends, posted  their snapshot of traveling Americans,  I learned ur passion for travel is second only to our passion for our families.

The survey of 2,500 adults looked at the travel habits, preferences and intentions of American leisure travelers and found that we Americans  have a deep commitment to travel.

It was  Ypartners that reported that Americans treasure their leisure and vacation time – citing travel as their number two passion behind family.

It’s also true that incentive programs find travel to be more “incentivizing” than money because, as one CEO said, money goes to pay the  bills. Travel builds memories and thus loyalty to the company handing out the incentive reward.

According to Y’s  Portrait of the American Traveler  our key travel traits are:

• We are smarter consumers. More than three-quarters of U.S. consumers (77 percent) say they have become  smarter shoppers thanks to today’s economic situation

• Among leisure travelers who have used the Internet to obtain travel information or to make a reservation, more than eight in ten say the most desirable features in a travel-service supplier website are the ability to check the lowest fares/rates (84 percent) and the lowest price/rate guarantee (82 percent)

• Experience-based travel involving family and friends rules: the leading types of leisure trips remain visiting friends and relatives (50 percent) and family vacations (42 percent)

• The Caribbean (34 percent), Europe (33 percent) and Mexico (26 percent) remain the top international destinations visited by American travelers during the past two years

• Social media are gaining credibility as a trusted information source. Three out of five leisure travelers (61 percent) visited TripAdvisor prior to booking a hotel reservation, while one in five (18 percent) visited YouTube in the past 12 months.

Surprisingly, perhaps,  two in ten active leisure travelers (18 percent) utilized the services of a traditional travel agent in the past 12 months, and younger travelers are slightly more likely to book through a travel agent than their older counterparts;

The full summary is on, but one conclusion really stands out: While value is extremely important to the traveler, it’s not the same thing as “low cost” or cheaper.




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