Millennials Disrupt Traditional Travel Models

American millennials are disrupting traditional models by more actively hunting for bargains on flights, but opting for more luxuries than older generations, according to a survey released on Wednesday.

The results of the survey, which was conducted by travel data platform Adara together with research partner Db5, were compared with Adara’s pre-existing data on travelers over the age of 34. One key finding was that 67 percent of American millennials (ages 18 to 34) prioritize travel above other expenses.  Other significant findings about U.S. millennials are:

Thirty-eight percent of them use digital resources such as review websites for travel, compared with 20 percent of those 35 and older.
They are more likely to book flights through general travel websites than airline sites (39 percent vs. 34 percent).
They prefer booking hotels through general travel websites rather than hotel sites (53 percent vs. 31 percent)
Thirty-nine percent of those surveyed agreed with the statement, “I don’t think it’s worthwhile to sign up for loyalty programs.”

U.S. millennials have developed their own distinct habits regarding flight expenditures. Eighty-four percent of them (compared with 74 percent of older travelers) prioritize price over airlines when choosing a flight, and to get the best price, they begin searching for flights 13 days in advance of booking (compared with nine days for those 35 and older). Millennials also begin searching for hotels seven days in advance, compared with five days for older travelers.

When it comes to luxuries, however, U.S. millennials are more willing to spend than their older counterparts. Forty-four percent of millennials are willing to pay for upgrades, compared with 37 percent of older travelers, and they’re more willing to purchase in-flight amenities.

In terms of lodging preferences, millennials are more likely than older travelers to have stayed in a house or an apartment rental—through Airbnb, for example—during the past year (32 percent vs. 17 percent). Also, millennials are more likely than older travelers to prioritize free Wi-Fi and amenities such as spa treatments and fitness facilities.

“As a group, [millennials] are savvy shoppers who are willing to splurge on the right experiences, from extra leg room to a cooking class in a new destination,” says Elizabeth Harz, president of media and chief marketing officer for Adara.

The survey involved 3,000 millennial travelers in the United States, United Kingdom, France, Australia, Hong Kong and Singapore. Those surveyed have taken three or more trips during the past year.

Ninety-six percent of those surveyed indicated that they love to travel to new places and 74 percent agree that travel involves going off the beaten track. U.S. millennials fly more than those in the other areas surveyed, and opt more to travel in the front of the cabin (38 percent) than their counterparts in France (32 percent), Singapore (25 percent) and Hong Kong (23 percent).

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