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High-end Vacation Destinations - US - November 2009

As noted in Mintel’s Leisure Travel—U.S., June 2009, the leisure travel market declined considerably in 2008 and the first two quarters of 2009 as a result of recessionary pressures. However, the cost of travel declined between March 2008 and 2009, and this has created a context in which affluents and others are somewhat more comfortable spending on vacation travel.

Nonetheless, the travel industry continues to struggle, and there is some indication that the luxury segment of the industry has been especially hard hit by recession. As such, it is critical that marketers as well as managers charged with developing new travel products and services gain an in-depth understanding of the lifestyles that are prominent within their target market. This knowledge can be used to optimize marketing and product development efforts and, ultimately, gain an edge on the competition.

More specifically, this report addresses the following questions:

  • How are the lifestyles and attitudes of high-end travelers distinct from the average American
  • What types of communications and offerings are likely to resonate with high-end travelers
  • How often do high-end travelers take vacations, and how does that compare with the frequency with which the average American travels
  • What are some of the most highly rated destinations, and what makes them so desirable to high-end travelers
  • What recent innovations are likely to drive sales of high-end vacations
  • What do affluents typically spend on a vacation, and how does that compare with the average American respondent
  • What states in the US and what foreign countries are most popular with high-end travelers
  • What themes are common and especially important in communications designed to promote high-end travel

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Table of contents

  1. Scope and Themes

    • What you need to know
      • Definition
        • Consumer survey data
          • Abbreviations
          • Executive Summary

              • Characteristics of high-end travelers
                • Market drivers
                  • Incidence of vacationing
                    • Type of vacation most recently taken
                      • Vacation expenditures
                        • Domestic travel patterns
                          • Foreign travel patterns
                          • Insights and Opportunities

                            • Online promotional efforts are critical
                              • Promote the high end using social networking tools; encourage referral and reviews
                                • Create tangible value by facilitating education, business and pleasure
                                  • Appeal directly to the psyche of travelers to optimize efforts
                                    • Figure 1: Psychographics of affluent frequent travelers, April 2008-June 2009
                                • Inspire Insights

                                    • The Real Thing
                                      • Purity
                                      • Competitive Context

                                        • Spending declines as affluents secure bargains and stay close to home
                                          • Figure 2: Influence of the economy on travel habits as compared to last year, by income, April 2009
                                        • Many enjoy entertaining at home
                                          • Figure 3: Enjoyment of home entertainment, by affluent traveler segment, April 2008-June 2009
                                      • Characteristics of High-end Travelers

                                        • Key points
                                          • Affluents enjoy luxury, but spend more time searching for bargains
                                            • Figure 4: Economic downturn affected travel plans within the U.S. in past 12 months, by income, February 2009
                                          • The internet is a primary channel for customer research and purchase
                                            • Figure 5: Internet-related attitudes and behaviors, by affluent traveler segment, April 2008-June 2009
                                          • Most exercise regularly and take steps to improve appearance
                                            • Figure 6: Exercise and appearance-related attitudes, by affluent traveler segment, April 2008-June 2009
                                          • Most affluent travelers appreciate quality and knowledgeable retail staff
                                            • Figure 7: Retail-related attitudes and behaviors, by affluent traveler segment, April 2008-June 2009
                                          • Most affluent travelers feel sustainability and ethics are important
                                            • Figure 8: Retail-related attitudes and behaviors, by affluent traveler segment, April 2008-June 2009
                                        • Case studies: Destinations with High-end Appeal

                                          • Melding luxury with a unique museum experience: The 21c Museum Hotel
                                            • Classic luxury in a global chain: The Peninsula
                                              • Industry Insight
                                                • Living it up in Northern California: Kenwood Inn and Spa in Sonoma County
                                                  • Far East Elegance in Boston: Mandarin Oriental, Boston
                                                    • East Coast Elegance: The Four Seasons in New York City
                                                      • Industry Insight
                                                        • Redefining luxury in Chicago: The Elysian Hotel
                                                          • Industry Insight
                                                          • Leading Hotels

                                                            • Key points
                                                              • Hotels especially popular with wealthy and young urban professionals
                                                                • Figure 9: Type of lodging used on last domestic trip, by affluent traveler segment, April 2008-June 2009
                                                              • Many stay at chains with loyalty programs
                                                                • Figure 10: Hotel/motel used during last domestic personal trip/vacation, by affluent Mosaic segment, April 2008-June 2009
                                                              • Many high-end vacationers conduct research and return to favorites
                                                                • Figure 11: Method used by high-end vacationers to select hotels, August 2009
                                                              • InterContinental, Best Western and Hilton are among the dominant players
                                                                • Figure 12: Top 25 U.S hotels based on number of rooms, March 2009
                                                            • Innovation and Innovators

                                                              • Voyage.tv takes online high-end vacation search to the next level
                                                                • Luxurylink.com provides a way to “travel smart” with auctions
                                                                  • Mixing green with luxury: Eco-luxury travel could be the next big thing
                                                                    • Getting closer to nature without compromising on luxury
                                                                      • Combining luxury with technology and entertainment: Chicago’s Hotel Sax
                                                                      • Market Drivers

                                                                        • Key points
                                                                          • Drop in price of travel provides incentive to vacation
                                                                            • Figure 13: U.S. travel price Index, 2008 and 2009
                                                                          • Drop in confidence drove down travel in 2008; rise should aid industry recovery
                                                                            • Figure 14: Consumer Sentiment Index, by quarter, 2001-09
                                                                          • Many have a keen sense of adventure and do not vacation merely to relax
                                                                            • Figure 15: General travel-related attitudes and behaviors, by affluent traveler segment, April 2008-June 2009
                                                                        • Incidence of Vacationing

                                                                          • Key points
                                                                            • Affluent area a key segment for travel marketers, especially during recession
                                                                              • Figure 16: Incidence of vacationing for five nights or more with paid accommodations, by income, August 2009
                                                                            • Wealthiest segments filled with entrepreneurs and executives who travel more
                                                                              • Figure 17: Incidence of domestic travel, by affluent Mosaic segment, April 2008-June 2009
                                                                              • Figure 18: Frequency of domestic air travel, by affluent Mosaic segment, April 2008-June 2009
                                                                            • The ultra rich and yuppies among the segments that are most likely to travel abroad
                                                                              • Figure 19: Incidence of travel outside the U.S. in last three years, by affluent Mosaic segment, April 2008-June 2009
                                                                              • Figure 20: Number of foreign trips taken in last three years, by affluent Mosaic segment, April 2008-June 2009
                                                                          • Type of Vacation Most Recently Taken

                                                                            • Key points
                                                                              • Very high-end vacations taken by few; most choose middle end
                                                                                • Figure 21: Incidence of vacationing for five nights or more with paid accommodations, by income, August 2009
                                                                              • Resorts and urban setting are popular with affluents
                                                                                • Figure 22: Types of vacations taken within the U.S. in past 12 months, by income, February 2009
                                                                              • Many high-end vacations involve cruises and settings with plenty of luxury services
                                                                                • Figure 23: Types of vacations taken within the U.S. in past 12 months, February 2009
                                                                            • Vacation Expenditures

                                                                              • Key points
                                                                                • Most spent less than $2,500 on their last vacation
                                                                                  • Figure 24: Amount spent on last vacation of five nights or more, by income, August 2009
                                                                                • Average expenditure on last domestic trip less than $730 among affluents
                                                                                  • Figure 25: Amount spent on last domestic vacation, by affluent Mosaic segment, April 2008-June 2009
                                                                                • Consumers much more likely to spend big when traveling abroad
                                                                                  • Figure 26: Amount spent on last foreign trip, by affluent Mosaic segment, April 2008-June 2009
                                                                              • Domestic Travel Patterns

                                                                                • Key points
                                                                                  • High-end vacationers typically travel about five days at a time
                                                                                    • Figure 27: Nights away from home on last domestic trip, by affluent Mosaic segment, April 2008-June 2009
                                                                                  • California and Florida especially popular with high-end traveler segments
                                                                                    • Figure 28: Destination of last domestic trip, by affluent Mosaic segment, April 2008-June 2009
                                                                                  • Cars and planes most common modes of transportation
                                                                                    • Figure 29: Transportation used on last domestic trip, by affluent Mosaic segment, April 2008-June 2009
                                                                                • Foreign Travel Patterns

                                                                                  • Key points
                                                                                    • Many affluent travelers driven abroad by interest in culture and adventure
                                                                                      • Figure 30: Retail-related attitudes and behaviors, by affluent Mosaic segment, April 2008-June 2009
                                                                                    • Many international travelers both young and affluent
                                                                                      • Figure 31: Incidence of foreign travel in past three years, by demographic groups, July 2007-September 2008
                                                                                    • Cruises, beaches and cities often drive foreign travel
                                                                                      • Figure 32: Vacation type outside the U.S., by income, February 2009
                                                                                    • Most foreign travelers believe tourism should benefit local community
                                                                                      • Figure 33: Summary of agree for environmental issues on trips outside the U.S., by income, February 2009
                                                                                    • Most within the target market make one or two trips every three years
                                                                                      • Figure 34: Foreign trips taken in last three years by plane, by affluent Mosaic segment, April 2008-June 2009
                                                                                    • Mexico, Canada, the Caribbean and Europe most popular
                                                                                      • Figure 35: Popular destinations of foreign travelers, by affluent Mosaic segment, April 2008-June 2009
                                                                                    • Most stay in hotels or resorts
                                                                                      • Figure 36: Retail-related attitudes and behaviors, by affluent Mosaic segment, April 2008-June 2009
                                                                                    • Most stay in hotels or resorts
                                                                                      • Figure 37: Use of inclusive packages in foreign travel, by affluent Mosaic segment, April 2008-June 2009
                                                                                  • Advertising and Promotion

                                                                                    • Analysis of television ads
                                                                                      • Figure 38: Park Hyatt ad, 2008
                                                                                      • Figure 39: Arizona Biltmore Resort and Spa ad, 2008
                                                                                    • Travel sites that specialize in high end
                                                                                      • Forbestraveler.com
                                                                                        • Abercrombiekent.com
                                                                                        • Custom Consumer Groups

                                                                                          • Affluents and mature Hispanics report high spend on domestic travel
                                                                                              • Figure 40: Amount spent on last domestic vacation, by custom consumer group, April 2008-June 2009
                                                                                            • Affluents and Asians tend to spend the most on foreign travel
                                                                                                • Figure 41: Amount spent on last foreign trip, by custom consumer group, April 2008-June 2009
                                                                                              • Mature adults spend big on cruises
                                                                                                • Figure 42: Amount spent on last cruise vacation, by custom consumer group, April 2008-June 2009
                                                                                            • Appendix: Additional Mosaic Comparisons

                                                                                                • Figure 43: Region visited on last domestic trip, by affluent Mosaic segment, April 2008-June 2009
                                                                                                • Figure 44: Transportation used on last foreign trip, by affluent Mosaic segment, April 2008-June 2009
                                                                                                • Figure 45: Travel preparedness on last foreign trip, by affluent Mosaic segment, April 2008-June 2009
                                                                                                • Figure 46: Year of last foreign trip, by affluent Mosaic segment, April 2008-June 2009
                                                                                                • Figure 47: Vacation preferences, by affluent Mosaic segment, April 2008-June 2009
                                                                                                • Figure 48: Retail-related attitudes and behaviors, by affluent Mosaic segment, April 2008-June 2009
                                                                                                • Figure 49: Number of cruises taken in last three years, by affluent Mosaic segment, April 2008-June 2009
                                                                                                • Figure 50: Destinations of last cruise vacation, by affluent Mosaic segment, April 2008-June 2009
                                                                                                • Figure 51: Cruise line used on last cruise, by affluent Mosaic segment, April 2008-June 2009
                                                                                                • Figure 52: Amount spent on last cruise vacation, by affluent Mosaic segment, April 2008-June 2009
                                                                                            • Appendix: Trade Associations

                                                                                              Companies Covered

                                                                                              • Air Transport Association of America Inc., The
                                                                                              • American Hotel & Lodging Association (AH&LA)
                                                                                              • American Society of Travel Agents
                                                                                              • Choice Hotels International
                                                                                              • Condé Nast Publications Inc.
                                                                                              • Facebook, Inc.
                                                                                              • Greenfield Online
                                                                                              • Interactive Travel Services Association
                                                                                              • InterContinental Hotels Group PLC
                                                                                              • International Air Transport Association
                                                                                              • International Trade Administration
                                                                                              • La Quinta Corporation
                                                                                              • Marriott International, Inc.
                                                                                              • National Tour Association
                                                                                              • National Tour Association (NTA)
                                                                                              • Office of Travel and Tourism Industries
                                                                                              • Receptive Services Association (RSA)
                                                                                              • Red Roof Inns
                                                                                              • Sheraton Hotels & Resorts
                                                                                              • Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, Inc.
                                                                                              • The Conference Board
                                                                                              • The United States Tour Operators Association (USTOA)
                                                                                              • University of Michigan, The
                                                                                              • US Department of Commerce
                                                                                              • US Department of Labor
                                                                                              • World Tourism Organization

                                                                                              High-end Vacation Destinations - US - November 2009

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