Destination Marketers, Rejoice: Discretionary Leisure Travel Grows on Both Sides of the Pond

Author: Cathy Schetzina

Published: December 08, 2011


The share of U.S. and European leisure travelers who get to choose their own adventure is on the rise – providing fresh opportunities for travel marketers to lure visitors to their destination. According to PhoCusWright's Destination Unknown: How U.S. and European Travelers Decide Where to Go 2011, travelers in the U.S. and Europe were increasingly able to get away in 2011 for a much-needed vacation – to a destination of their choosing.

"For destination marketers, travelers who have the flexibility to choose their own leisure destination are the prime targets, and the segment is an attractive one," says Cathy Schetzina, director, communications and senior research analyst. "Independent destination selectors tend to travel more frequently than average, have a higher annual travel spend and are more likely to travel internationally."

The incidence of travel to a destination selected independently increased significantly among the European markets studied, with Germany leading the way. Seventy-eight percent of German travelers selected a destination independently in 2011, compared to 61% in 2010. Incidence among U.K. travelers jumped to 73%, with incidence among French travelers increasing to 68%. Compared to their European counterparts, U.S. travelers consistently have the lowest incidence of independent destination selection, increasing just 1 percentage point in 2011 to 58%.

PhoCusWright's Destination Unknown: How U.S. and European Travelers Decide Where to Go 2011, provides insight into leisure travel behavior in the U.S., France, Germany and the U.K., providing in-depth analysis of the traveler segment most relevant to destination marketers: independent destination selectors (i.e., travelers who have independently selected at least one of their leisure travel destinations in the past year). The report analyzes the destination selection process, highlighting the key motivators, information sources, online features and websites used in destination selection.

Report topics include:

  • Leisure traveler trends in each market, with a focus on traveler preferences impacting destination selection
  • Destination selection patterns for domestic and international travelers (distinguishing between European travelers who travel within versus outside of Europe)
  • Analysis of travelers who independently selected a leisure travel destination in the past year, including travel spend and frequency
  • Timing of when travelers choose their destination and the specialized process that sets destination selection apart from other travel decisions
  • Motivators for selecting a travel destination and specific sources of influence
  • Information sources and websites used when choosing a destination
  • Discussion of the most influential types of social media and online features in each market

Destination Unknown: How U.S. and European Travelers Decide Where to Go 2011 – a European and Global Edition publication – empowers destination marketers to influence travelers in these key markets as they explore the world of travel possibilities.

Introductory pricing is in effect through December 31, 2011.