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MMGY Global's 2013 Portrait of American Travelers is Now Available

Peter Yesawich

The fourth edition of MMGY Global’s Portrait of American TravelersSM is now available. This comprehensive study reveals the lifestyles and travel behaviors of roughly 57 million American households who spent an average of $4,205 on leisure travel last year. Collectively, they represent nearly $240 billion in U.S. travel spending.


This book examines the impact of the current economic environment, prevailing social values and emerging media habits on the travel intentions of Americans. Unlike most surveys in the travel category, Portrait of American TravelersSM reveals the underlying motivations that influence travel behavior, with a particular emphasis on how consumers plan, purchase and share information about their travel experiences.

Some of the most significant findings of this year’s study include the following:

  • The intention to travel more this year is up 3% from last year among all leisure travelers, and 28% of leisure travelers with household incomes over $250,000 plan to take more trips in the year ahead.
  • Domestically, active leisure travelers are most interested in visiting the state of California, mentioned by almost half (46%), followed by Florida (41%) and Hawaii (38%), mentioned by four in ten. New York (29%) and Alaska (27%) round out the top five states travelers are most interested in visiting during the next two years.
  • Since the cost of travel remains a major factor in influencing leisure travel preferences, it follows that half of all leisure travelers (47%) prefer traveling on a low-cost carrier, while only three in ten (30%) prefer to fly on a full-service carrier. However, one-quarter (23%) have no preference. And it should be noted that leisure travelers are significantly more likely to prefer a low-cost carrier today than in previous years – only 42% favored such carriers in 2010.
  • More leisure travelers now access the internet via a smartphone (62%) than from the office (59%). Four in ten (43%) also now access the internet from a tablet. Access to the internet via tablets jumped from 7% of all leisure travelers in 2011 to 43% in 2013. More than eight in ten leisure travelers use the internet to either obtain travel information (87%) or make travel reservations (83%). These leisure travelers used the internet to book a mean of 3.2 leisure trips during the past 12 months.
  • Only 17% of leisure travelers with household incomes over $250,000 have confidence in the information read or seen on a social media site about potential travel destinations. This is significantly lower than the percentage of those with lower household incomes; 25% of leisure travelers with household incomes of $50,000–$124,999 and 21% with household incomes of $125,000–$249,999 have confidence in social media when considering vacation destinations.
  • Millennial leisure travelers are more likely to access the internet from a smartphone (74%) compared to Xers (68%), Boomers (53%) and Matures (34%). Meanwhile, Gen X leisure travelers are more likely to access the internet from a tablet (49%) than Millennials (43%), Boomers (39%) and Matures (34%).
  • Three-fourths of leisure travelers (73%) are optimistic about their own future and the future of their children (73%), while six in ten are optimistic about the future of their job (62%) or company (61%).

Please go to mmgyglobal.com/research to order your own copy today, or click here to learn more.

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