New research study Portrait of UK Travellers™ shows that Millennials will drive overall tourism growth for 2019 and have the most positive outlook on Brexit’s impact on travel
Findings also reveal what influence children have on holiday decisions; which generation is most likely to travel overseas; and the impact of social media on holiday decisions
NEW YORK (March 12, 2019) – Adult travelers under 40 intend to take 41 percent more vacations in 2019 (an extra two vacations per year on average) and additionally ramp up their vacation spend by 20 percent in the next 12 months, according to a new study.
Portrait of UK Travellers™ is compiled by MMGY Global, the world’s largest integrated tourism marketing organization, and looks at the vacation motivations, preferences and behaviors of the 13.4 million traveling households in the UK. Research was carried out in January and February 2019.
Over 2,000 active leisure travelers participated in a 25-minute online survey and their responses were analyzed across three generational bands – Millennials (aged 18-39 in 2018); Xers (aged 40-53 in 2018) and Boomers (aged 54-72 in 2018).
Some of the behaviors most prominent among Millennial respondents followed logic – for instance, that they are far more vested in social media than their older counterparts – but other, more surprising, results were also revealed. For instance:
- While only one in ten Millennials had taken a cruise vacation in the past year, more than half expressed an interest in going on a cruise in the next two years – the strongest level of intent across any of the age brackets.
- Staycations are more popular with Millennials than with Xers or Boomers – domestic vacations will account for around half of their intended trips.
- Almost half of Millennials booked at least one holiday with a travel agent in the past 12 months – compared to just over a quarter of Xers and Boomers.
- While two-thirds of Millennials believe Brexit will have an impact on holidays, this generation demonstrates the most optimistic outlook, with the majority believing the impact on passport control queues, GBP exchange rates and airline fares would be more positive than negative. This was in direct contrast to the predictions of those over 40.
- Nearly a quarter of Millennials have made a travel purchase based at least partially on a post by a social media influencer or celebrity.
Despite this buoyancy around Millennials, travel businesses should not remove focus from those over 40, since they still lead the way in a number of areas. The desire to experience different cultures is strongest amongst the Boomer generation when it comes to motivations for going on vacation. The Boomers and Xers show the most interest in visiting historic houses and gardens, museums, botanical gardens and vineyards; and while Millennials favor dining options that are new or notable in some way, the Boomers are the generation most keen to sample the authentic food eaten by locals.
Even more significantly, more Xers and Boomers than Millennials are planning longer, international vacations. Two-thirds of future vacations planned by Xers will be overseas and last at least five days, with Boomers not far behind. Only half of the trips Millennials intend to take will fulfill the same parameters.
Family travel was another area the research looked into. Family travel accounts for around a quarter of the trips taken by UK travelers, with Xers the most likely to travel with children. When it comes to decision making, it seems that kids have the upper hand – at least two-thirds said children influenced their destination and hotel choices and four in five said they also influenced the planning of daily activities.
“Portrait of UK Travellers™ provides a comprehensive and up-to-date insight into the decision-making process of the UK traveler – something that’s incredibly valuable to travel marketers wanting to understand how and when they can best engage with their target demographic in a precise and focussed way,” says Amanda Hills, President Hills Balfour, Europe and Middle East. “The research proves that UK travelers of all ages consider vacations as an essential investment into their quality of life; and the situation is particularly bright when we look at the youngest group of travelers surveyed – those with the most traveling years ahead of them. Millennials show more enthusiasm and more diversity when it comes to their reasons for traveling, the destinations they want to visit, the activities they want to incorporate – even the companies they want to travel with – than their older counterparts. The outlook is optimistic and the opportunities are ripe for travel businesses and destinations ready to act on them.”
In addition to the topics outlined above, Portrait of UK Travellers™ examines:
- The motivating factors for taking vacations and the most popular activities for each generation while on vacation
- The most popular UK and international destinations for UK travelers
- Preferred travel brands, including hotels, airlines and cruise companies
- The influence levels travel agents have on different elements of a vacation booking
- The typical composition of travel parties for each generation (solo vs couple vs family)
- The factors influencing hotel choices
- Membership levels of hotel and airline loyalty programs
- A more in-depth look at the factors UK travelers believe will be affected by Brexit
For more information about these insights, or to subscribe to the 2019 MMGY Global Portrait white papers, please visit www.mmgyglobal.com. Customizable options are also available.
Notes to editors
MMGY Global’s Portrait of UK Travellers™ deals exclusively with leisure travel. The travel trend information presented in this report was obtained from interviews with 2,007 active leisure travelers in January 2019. Due to the increasing uncertainty about Brexit in the time since the primary survey was conducted in early January, MMGY Global returned to survey 400 UK travelers over two days in February 2019 to obtain the most relevant measure of Brexit’s potential impact. Respondents were adults who reside in the UK and:
- Have an annual household income of at least $40,000, and
- Took at least one overnight vacation outside the UK in the past two years and intend to take at least one overnight vacation outside the UK during the next two years
Respondents were selected randomly and participated in a 25-minute online survey. The sample has been balanced by statistical weighting to ensure the data is representative of all active leisure travelers in the UK who meet the target profile. All tests of statistical significance have been made using a two-population test at the 95 percent level of confidence.
The three generations of adults referred to in the study are defined below:
The other 5 percent of study participants came from Matures (those born before 1946).