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The 2017–2018 Portrait of American Travelers Study Releases Microsegments Paper

Anna Blount

Millennials make up the largest generation in U.S. history – 84 million compared to 78 million Boomers – and as a result, this cohort is certainly a highly relevant target for travel marketers. 

Millennials are a perfect example of why marketing to generations may be a losing proposition. While Millennials have been anointed the next big thing by seemingly every major spending category these past few years, they are all too often considered to be one large, monolithic group. However, one size doesn’t fit all. 

The youngest Millennials are turning 17 years old this year, while the oldest are turning 37. Such a wide age range of individuals is far too diverse to market to as a single demographic group. Recent college graduates behave and travel very differently than young families with kids, yet both are Millennials. A marketing approach that targets Millennials as a whole is unlikely to be as relevant to each group as it could be. This is why it’s important to better understand the various microsegments that transcend the larger and more traditional generational segments. 

In last year’s report, we parsed the data to understand the behaviors within this and other segments better. The segments we profiled – HENRYs, GottaGoSOLOs, YAHTZEEs, Jet Sweaters and The Brat Pack – was simply a taste of MMGY Global’s emphasis on microsegmentation and targeting strategy.

In this year’s report, we’ve focused our efforts on six new microsegments, five of which – High-Flyers, Groundlings, The Young & The Restless, Brand Bookies and O-T-Yeas – are teased in the infographic below. 

The travel industry enjoyed a record year in 2016. However, the year ahead is projected to be relatively flat in terms of leisure travel spend and in the number of vacations taken. MMGY Global predicts little to no growth in both the number of vacations taken or in leisure travel spending among American travelers in the upcoming 12 months. In order to succeed in this more challenging travel environment, it’s important for travel marketers to look beyond the masses to more clearly define their target customers. This is the first step in developing marketing strategies that inform decision-making and help prioritize where to invest limited resources to maximize the financial return.

The infographics below illustrate key facts about these microsegments. For more information, please subscribe to the 2017–2018 Portrait of American Travelers®.

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