Number of Affluent Travelers Rises Along With Travel Intentions According to POAT

Women Now Represent Majority of Affluent Travelers.

ORLANDO (November 18, 2013) – The ‘one percent’ just got a little bigger, among active travelers, that is. Specifically, six percent of leisure travelers now have an annual household income of $250,000 or more, compared to four percent in 2010. And in an interesting demographic shift, women now make up the majority (54 percent) of these affluent travelers, up from 42 percent in 2010. This is according to the 2013 Portrait of American Travelers® study published by MMGY Global, the world’s largest integrated travel marketing agency, and the Harrison Group.

Affluent travelers are planning more trips in the year ahead than travelers with more modest annual household incomes. Almost three out of ten (28%) plan to take more trips, versus just two out of ten (18%) for the general population of all leisure travelers. They also intend to spend more on vacations in the year ahead. This group took an average of five leisure trips during the past 12 months and spent an average of $9,765 during that time period. They expect to spend $10,585 in the year ahead, which represents an 8.4 percent increase in spending on vacations.

“These data coincide with a growing sense of optimism on the part of affluent consumers,” explains Steve Cohen, vice president of Insights at MMGY Global. “They reflect their expectation that the economy will continue to improve, and their willingness to spend more on discretionary items and experiences like leisure travel as a result.”

Additional insights on the behavior of affluent travelers from the 2013 Portrait of American Travelers® include:

  • Shifts in the Affluent Traveler Demographic. Affluent travelers are now more likely to be married (82 percent) compared with 77 percent in 2010. Affluent travelers are also older, with an average age of 49 in 2013 compared with 43 in 2010. And just one percent of this group was retired in 2010, compared with 14 percent today.
  • Destination Preferences. Seven in ten (69%) affluent travelers took a vacation outside the continental U.S. during the past twelve months. The most popular destinations included Western Europe (52 percent), Caribbean (41 percent), Mexico (22 percent) and Canada (18 percent).
  • Affluent Travelers Get More Social. Affluent travelers report spending 40 minutes per day with social media platforms such as Facebook (69 percent) and LinkedIn (46 percent), while half (50 percent) are visiting online communities, travel forums or blogs to seek and/or review information about destinations or travel service suppliers, up from 40 percent in 2010. And more affluent travelers (29 percent) are authoring, commenting and/or posting content on travel-related social media sites, up from 17 percent in 2010.
  • Traditional Media Consumption Trending Down. Affluent travelers spend significantly less time watching television per day (average of 2.8 hours) than they did in 2010 (average of 4.2 hours). This group also spends less time reading newspapers and magazines (average of 1.2 hours in 2010 versus one hour in 2013). And although readership of the printed versions of Sunday Travel sections in newspapers declined to just 30 percent of all affluent travelers in 2013 from 41 percent in 2010, this medium still reaches a large number of affluent travelers and, in particular, those over fifty five years of age.
  • Have No Kids, Will Travel. More affluent travelers have no children at home in 2013 (59 percent) compared with 2010 (40 percent), and have taken fewer trips with a spouse/another adult and children (mean of 1.5 trips) than in 2010 (mean of 2.3 trips).
  • How ‘The Other Half’ Surfs. Affluent travelers spend an average of 3.2 hours a day online for personal use, with 94 percent accessing the internet from home, 74 percent from a smartphone, 68 percent from a tablet, 66 percent from the office, 28 percent from a gaming console, 26 percent from a smart TV and 23 percent from an e-Reader. Significantly more affluent travelers have downloaded travel apps to their smartphones now (49 percent) than in 2010 (27 percent).
  • Online Sources of Information. Nine in ten (91 percent) affluent travelers also use the Internet to obtain information about travel services or suppliers, including availabilities and rates. The most popular travel websites among affluent travelers include specific airline branded websites (53 percent), Expedia (46 percent), TripAdvisor (46 percent), specific hotel branded websites (45 percent), Orbitz (42 percent), Travelocity (36 percent), Kayak (33 percent) and Priceline (26 percent).

For more information on the 2013 Portrait of American Travelers® or to order a copy of the study, visit

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The Portrait of American Travelers® is a national survey of 2,511 active leisure travelers who reside in households with an annual income of $50,000 or more (including an “affluent traveler” subset of households with an annual income over $125,000) and had taken at least one leisure trip of 75 miles or more from home during the previous 12 months requiring overnight accommodations. The survey, which was conducted during February 2013, provides an in-depth examination of the impact of the current economic environment, prevailing social values, and emerging media habits on the travel behavior of Americans. Unlike most surveys in the travel category that simply provide a census of travelers’ behavior, the 2013 Portrait of American Travelers℠ an emphasis on how consumers plan, purchase and share information about their travel experiences and reveals the underlying motivations that influence travel behavior.


Respondents were selected randomly and participated in a 45-minute online survey completed in February 2013. All tests of statistical significance were made using a two-population test at the 95 percent level of confidence. The sample is balanced by statistical weighting to ensure the data are representative of all active leisure travelers in America who meet the target profile.

For more information about these insights or other travel industry research from MMGY Global, visit

MMGY Global is the world’s largest and most integrated global marketing firm with more than 35 years of experience in the travel, hospitality and entertainment industries. The award-winning agency maintains a global communications practice in all marketing channels, serving many of the world’s premier travel and tourism brands. MMGY Global is author of acclaimed industry research (including the Portrait of American Travelers) that identifies the habits and preferences of travelers–insights that serve as the foundation for its marketing strategy. For more information, visit

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