Research from ADARA reveals Millennials across America are travel influencers willing to spend on great experiences

MOUNTAIN VIEW, California, May 25, 2016 – New global research from travel data platform ADARA reveals that Millennials in America are disrupting traditional models for travel. They are dedicated travelers with 2 in 3 (67%) prioritizing travel above any other expense, but are savvy bargain hunters with a penchant for luxuries. They are more likely to book through intermediaries and are less likely to be in loyalty programs as they currently exist.

The study looked to expose the travel habits of Millennials using focus groups and research to compare attitudes and behaviors among 18 to 34 year olds and 35+ year olds. ADARA also leveraged first-party insight into millions of every day travel transactions across Europe, Asia Pacific and America. The research shows that 96% love to travel to new places and the majority agree that travel involves new experiences and going off the beaten track (94% and 74%, respectively).

The research also shows that when compared to their older counterparts, Millennials in the US are more likely to use digital resources, such as review sites (38% vs. 20% among those 35+) to plan and book their travel – proving that marketers need to adapt their campaigns to reach this audience. In addition, the research found that:

  • US Millennials are more likely to book flights through general travel websites (39% vs. 34% airline sites)
  • They are also more likely to book hotels through general travel websites (52% vs. 31% hotel sites)
  • 39% of those surveyed agree: “I don’t think it’s worthwhile to sign up for loyalty programs.”

Millennials plan ahead to ensure the best experience at the best price

84% of US Millennials prioritize price over airlines when choosing a flight (vs. 74% of those over 35+). Millennials tend to plan ahead compared to older travelers – they start searching for flights 13 days in advance of booking the flight compared to 9 days to ensure that they get the experience at the best price. Hotel searches are no different, with a longer window of 7 days prior to booking compared to 5 days for those aged 35+.

The data also reveals that US Millennials fly more and opt to travel front of cabin (38%), highlighting that they have disposable funds to spend on favored luxuries. This is higher than those surveyed in France (32%), Singapore (25%) and Hong Kong (23%). In addition, ADARA found that:

  • 44% of US Millennials are willing to pay for upgrades, compared to 37% of 35+ year olds and are more likely to purchase amenities in-flight
  • 32% of US Millennials in America have stayed in a house or apartment rental (e.g., Airbnb) in the past year compared to only 17% of those 35+
  • 86% have stayed in hotels, and they are more likely to prioritize free Wi-Fi and amenities such as a spa & gym compared to those 35+

Elizabeth Harz, President of Media and CMO, ADARA, said: “Our research shows American Millennials are interesting to travel brands in ways they may not have data to support. They are travel influencers, helping friends and family make purchase and brand decisions. As a group, they are savvy shoppers who are willing to splurge on the right experiences from extra leg room to a cooking class in a new destination.”

Methodology ADARA conducted the research among 3000 Millennial travelers aged between 18 and 34 years old in the US, UK, France, Australia, Hong Kong and Singapore alongside research partner Db5. They surveyed and conducted focus groups with Millennials that have taken 3+ trips in the past year. ADARA’s first party data was also leveraged to compare search and booking behaviors of Millennials compared to travelers aged 35+.