Phocuswright is the Recognized Expert in Tourism Market Research
Consumer spending endured a
tremendous amount of strain in 2009, and travel suffered severely along with
most large industries. According to Phocuswright’s U.S. Online Travel
Overview Ninth Edition, market research shows that total gross bookings fell
by 16%. As travel companies eagerly transition from recession to recovery in
2010, understanding consumer behavior will be critical preparation for a year
of mixed expectations. How different is the consumer travel outlook in 2010?
Which travelers dropped out in 2009 and which segments represent the greatest
opportunity? How do individual attitudes and opinions shape what and where
The objective of Phocuswright’s
Consumer Travel Report Second Edition (CTR 2) is to provide an overview of
the status of consumer travel in the U.S. and insights into key indicators for
the upcoming year. This report explores a range of topics, including general
travel behavior, channel usage and psychographics. It also analyzes
differences between key consumer segments and contextualizes consumer
indicators with broader travel industry trends.
Today’s youngest travelers
learned some tough lessons in 2009. Many of them jumped into the year quite
unaware of how bad it could get and overconfident about what was in store.
After swallowing a healthy slice of humble pie, these travelers came out of
2009 with much tighter purse strings. Rather than spending more on vacations in
2009, as they thought they would, they spent less – way less. Travelers under
the age of 35 spent $848 less on travel in 2009 versus 2008, compared to a
lesser decline of $280 for older travelers.
Despite having the steepest decline in travel expenditure from
2008 to 2009, young travelers were still an extremely important target segment
for travel companies. The key reason? Incidence. Despite the fact that young
travelers spent so much less, they were still much more likely than older consumers
to travel (70% versus 58%). When combining incidence metrics with expenditure
during our market research, the
generational trends look very different than those observed by expenditure
alone. The decline from year to year is still steep for Generation Y, but its
older members (25-34 year olds) still spent well over the average, ranking second
to 35-44 year olds by a small margin.