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Seasonal Vacation Trends - US - February 2016

"The leisure travel industry is in an upswing. Parents of children under 18 years are heavy travelers, especially in the summer when a majority of them take at least one vacation. Winter is the least common season for vacation travel but also when there is disparity between vacations planned and taken, which points to an opportunity to provide these parents with options to accomplish their desire to travel."

- Rupa Ghosh, Travel & Leisure Analyst

This report looks at the following issues:

  • Overall leisure travel market growing – but spending per trip declining
  • Key target – households with children – in decline
  • Kids influence vacation decisions
  • Time and money: key constraints limiting vacation length

New business models in hospitality such as the sharing economy and other demographic factors such as the declining number of families with children and the changing composition of the family are bringing new challenges to the family vacation market. However, Millennial/younger parents and Baby Boomer grandparents, as well as the growth of the Hispanic population, will drive demand for the leisure family vacation market.

For the purposes of this Report, Mintel has used the following definitions:

  • Vacation is travel for leisure purposes that includes at least one overnight stay away from home. Business travel is excluded.
  • Parents are adults aged 18+ who are the parent/guardian of any children <18 who currently live in the household.
  • Seasons for vacation travel are defined as summer (June-August), fall (September-November), winter (December-February), and spring (March-May).

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Table of contents

  1. Overview

    • What you need to know
      • Definition
      • Executive Summary

          • Figure 1: Vacations taken in the last 12 months, by season, November 2015
        • The issues
          • Overall leisure travel market growing – but spending per trip declining
            • Key target – households with children – in decline
              • Figure 2: Households, by presence of own children, 2003-14
            • Kids influence vacation decisions
              • Figure 3: How kids influence vacation decisions, November 2012-December 2013/February 2014
            • Time and money: key constraints limiting vacation length
              • Figure 4: Preference – Vacation number and duration; expense, November 2015
            • The opportunities
              • Target multigenerational travelers
                • Figure 5: Vacation companions – Family, by season, November 2015
              • Offer family packages or reduced prices for younger children
                • Acknowledge the needs of younger dads
                  • Figure 6: Types of vacations taken, preference off-peak vs peak and budget vs five-star, by age and gender of parent, November 2015
                • Theme parks are for everyone
                  • International destinations may be attractive due to strong US dollar
                    • Figure 7: Preference – Domestic vs international, November 2015
                  • What it means
                  • The Market – What You Need to Know

                    • The good: positive economic environment
                      • The bad and the ugly: decline in households with children, foregoing vacation
                        • The changing definition of the American family
                        • Market Size and Forecast

                          • Spending on vacations and tourism projected to continue steady growth
                            • Figure 8: Best- and worst-case forecast value sales of vacations and tourism, at current prices, 2010-20
                            • Figure 9: Value sales and forecast for vacations and tourism, at current prices 2010-20
                        • Market Factors: Economic

                          • Increases in disposable income points to increased spending
                            • Figure 10: Disposable personal income change from previous period, January 2007-December 2015
                          • Consumer confidence continues upward trend
                            • Figure 11: Consumer sentiment index, January 2007-December 2015
                          • Lower oil prices good news for travelers
                            • Figure 12: US gasoline and diesel retail prices, January 2007-December 2015
                        • Market Factors: Demographic

                          • Children younger than 18 present in 28% of US households
                            • Figure 13: Households, by type, 2015
                          • Parents’ vacation intentions promising
                            • Figure 14: How extra money is spent – Vacations, by presence and age of children in household, January 2015
                          • The share and number of households with kids in the US is declining
                            • Figure 15: Households, by presence of own children, 2003-14
                          • Hispanics fueling growth of family vacations
                            • Figure 16: Households with children, by race and Hispanic origin of householder, 2013
                        • Market Perspective

                          • Americans leaving vacation time on the table
                            • Positive outlook for business travel may also boost leisure market
                              • Figure 17: Fan chart forecast of total domestic business travel expenditures, at current prices 2010-20
                          • Key Players – What You Need to Know

                            • Baby Boomer grandparents and Hispanics key segments
                              • Create one-of-a-kind vacation experiences
                                • Business travel contributing to family vacations
                                  • Independent operators feeling the squeeze
                                    • Inclusion and safety as entry points
                                    • What’s Working?

                                      • Baby Boomer grandparents treating the family
                                        • The peer-to-peer and sharing economy expands into new sectors
                                          • Customized/bespoke vacations
                                            • Spiritual and volunteer vacations
                                            • What’s Facing Challenges?

                                              • Smaller hotels, theme parks and independent operators vulnerable
                                                • Attracting parents with kids – more than a marketing effort
                                                • What’s Next?

                                                  • Employers and travel industry players enable “bleisure” travel
                                                    • Offerings designed especially for Millennials should consider the kids
                                                      • Leverage the sharing economy to create unique/local experiences
                                                          • Figure 18: HomeAway TV Commercial – “It’s Your Vacation. Why Share It?” January 2016
                                                        • Expansion of “Grand Travel” market
                                                          • Hispanics as a key target of the vacation market
                                                          • The Consumer – What You Need to Know

                                                            • Summer is the top season for family vacation travel, spring follows
                                                              • Grandparents key partners for parents
                                                                • The ideal and the typical vacations are very different
                                                                  • Parents take vacation to be with their family and to relax
                                                                    • Younger dads are a prime prospect with very specific desires
                                                                      • Parents with young kids want to travel abroad
                                                                      • Seasonal Vacations Taken and Planned

                                                                          • Parents planning vacations – not always executing on those plans
                                                                              • Figure 19: Vacations taken/planned in the last 12/next 12 months, by season, November 2015
                                                                            • Higher income Millennial parents with multiple kids are a key target
                                                                              • Younger dads take more vacations, like to relive their childhood
                                                                                • Figure 20: Vacations taken in the last 12 months – means, by season, by key demographics, November 2015
                                                                                • Figure 21: Attitudes and opinions about entertainment, by gender and age, November 2015
                                                                              • Hispanics more likely than non-Hispanics to travel in winter and spring
                                                                                • Blacks are the least likely to take any vacation
                                                                                  • Figure 22: Vacations taken in the last 12 months, by season, by race/Hispanic origin, November 2015
                                                                              • Seasonal Vacations Duration and Distance

                                                                                  • Vacations typically last less than a week
                                                                                    • Figure 23: Duration of vacations, by seasons, November 2015
                                                                                  • Most travel over 500 miles, though parents prefer to stay close to home
                                                                                    • Figure 24: Distance traveled for vacation, any vacation, by presence of children in household, March 2014
                                                                                  • Parents travel shorter distances, but go further in the summer
                                                                                    • Figure 25: Distance traveled for vacation (mean miles), by seasons, by presence of children in household, March 2014
                                                                                • Seasonal Vacation Companions

                                                                                    • Parents travel with their kids, especially in the summer
                                                                                      • Figure 26: Vacation companions – Family, by season, November 2015
                                                                                    • Kids aged 6-11 are in the “sweet spot” for family vacations
                                                                                      • Figure 27: Vacation companions – Children by ages, by season, November 2015
                                                                                    • Grandparents likely to help with young children and larger families
                                                                                      • Figure 28: Vacation companions – Grandparents, by number and age of children, November 2015
                                                                                    • Vacations are more than a family affair for Hispanics and Blacks
                                                                                        • Figure 29: Vacation companions – By race/ Hispanic origin, November 2015
                                                                                    • Vacation Types

                                                                                        • Visiting loved ones, theme parks, getting back to nature top the list
                                                                                          • Figure 30: Types of vacations taken, November 2015
                                                                                        • Summer vacationers less likely to visit friends/family, cruise
                                                                                          • Figure 31: Types of vacations taken, summer only compared to all, November 2015
                                                                                        • Younger dads more likely to take cultural vacations and organized trips
                                                                                          • Figure 32: Types of vacations taken, by age and gender of parent, November 2015
                                                                                        • Vacation type impacted by income
                                                                                          • Figure 33: Types of vacations taken, by household income, November 2015
                                                                                        • Families with younger kids take more structured vacations
                                                                                          • Figure 34: Types of vacations taken, by age of child, November 2015
                                                                                          • Figure 35: Leisure activities/hobbies, by presence of children, April 2014-June 2015
                                                                                        • Family/friends and amusement parks popular among all races/ethnicities
                                                                                            • Figure 36: Types of vacations taken, by race/ Hispanic origin, November 2015
                                                                                        • The Ideal Vacation

                                                                                          • Parents’ ideal vacations include relaxation – not necessarily with kids
                                                                                              • Figure 37: Words associated with the “ideal vacation,” November 2015
                                                                                              • Figure 38: Words associated with the “typical vacation,” November 2015
                                                                                            • Sun, sand and surf – Life’s a beach for the ideal vacation
                                                                                                • Figure 39: Visited a beach or lake in the last 12 months, by children and marital status, April 2014-June 2015
                                                                                            • Vacation Reasons

                                                                                                • Parents bond and relax with the family during vacation
                                                                                                  • Figure 40: Reasons for vacation, November 2015
                                                                                                • If only one summer vacation, less important to celebrate holidays
                                                                                                  • Figure 41: Reasons for vacation, summer only compared to all, November 2015
                                                                                                • Many reasons to take vacation, five unique reasons reach most parents
                                                                                                  • Figure 42: TURF analysis – Reasons for vacation, November 2015
                                                                                                • Younger dads seek adventure and romance
                                                                                                  • Figure 43: Reasons for vacation, by age and gender, November 2015
                                                                                                • Blacks want to reward themselves, Hispanics to reminisce
                                                                                                  • Figure 44: Reasons for vacation, by race/ Hispanic origin, November 2015
                                                                                              • Vacation Preferences: Planning

                                                                                                  • Vacation planning is a family affair
                                                                                                      • Figure 45: Preference – I do the planning vs others do the planning, November 2015
                                                                                                    • Internet used for planning by half of parents but need familiar companies
                                                                                                        • Figure 46: Attitudes about travel – Internet, travel arrangements, experiences, by presence of children in household, April 2014-June 2015
                                                                                                      • Social media showcases destinations, jury still out on its influence
                                                                                                      • Vacation Preferences: Type

                                                                                                          • Shorter more frequent vacations are the preferred and reality for parents
                                                                                                            • Figure 47: Preference – Several short vs one or two long vacations, November 2015
                                                                                                          • Off-peak travel a preferred option for parents
                                                                                                            • Figure 48: Preference – Off-peak vs peak period, November 2015
                                                                                                          • Budget travel preferred by parents
                                                                                                              • Figure 49: Preference – Budget vs five-star, November 2015
                                                                                                            • Younger dads prefer peak periods and five-star options
                                                                                                              • Figure 50: Preference – Off-peak vs peak periods and budget vs five-star, by gender and age, November 2015
                                                                                                            • Higher income parents more likely to prefer luxury travel, peak seasons
                                                                                                              • Figure 51: Preference – Off-peak vs peak periods and budget vs five-star, by household income, November 2015
                                                                                                          • Vacation Preferences: Companions

                                                                                                              • Kid-friendly vacations preferred, opportunity to target parents with adults-only
                                                                                                                • Figure 52: Preference – Kid-friendly vs adults-only, November 2015
                                                                                                              • Travel group size does not reflect family size
                                                                                                                • Figure 53: Preference – Small group vs larger group travel, November 2015
                                                                                                              • The more kids, the more parents prefer kid-friendly vacations
                                                                                                                • Figure 54: Preference – Kid-friendly vs adult and small vs large groups, by number of children, November 2015
                                                                                                              • Kid-friendly vacation even more appealing to parents with younger kids
                                                                                                                • Figure 55: Preference – Kid-friendly vs adult and small vs large groups, by age of children, November 2015
                                                                                                              • Asians prefer traveling in smaller groups
                                                                                                                • Figure 56: Preference – Kid-friendly vs adult and small vs large groups, by race/Hispanic origin, November 2015
                                                                                                            • Vacation Preferences: Location Type

                                                                                                                • Domestic vacations preferred overall, but many aspire to travel abroad
                                                                                                                  • Figure 57: Preference – Domestic vs international, November 2015
                                                                                                                  • Figure 58: Attitudes about travel – Domestic and foreign travel, by presence of children in household, April 2014-June 2015
                                                                                                                • Novelty appeals to parents
                                                                                                                  • Figure 59: Preference – New vs familiar destinations, November 2015
                                                                                                                • Families with younger children open to vacationing abroad
                                                                                                                  • Figure 60: Preference – Domestic vs international and new vs familiar destinations, by age of children, November 2015
                                                                                                                • Larger families prefer to stay in the US
                                                                                                                  • Figure 61: Preference – Domestic vs international and new vs familiar destinations, by number of children, November 2015
                                                                                                                • Hispanics more open to foreign vacations, Blacks prefer the familiar
                                                                                                                  • Figure 62: Preference – Domestic vs international and new vs familiar destinations, by race/Hispanic origin, November 2015
                                                                                                                • More parents are seeking adventure than actually experiencing it
                                                                                                                  • Figure 63: Preference – Established vs off the beaten path destinations, November 2015
                                                                                                                • Younger dads more open to adventure
                                                                                                                  • Figure 64: Preference – Established vs off the beaten path destinations, by gender and age, November 2015
                                                                                                                • Established locations more important to families with multiple children
                                                                                                                  • Figure 65: Preference – Established vs off the beaten path locations, by age and number of children, November 2015
                                                                                                                • Blacks and Asians less adventurous
                                                                                                                  • Figure 66: Preference – Established vs off the beaten path locations, by race/Hispanic origin, November 2015
                                                                                                              • Appendix – Data Sources and Abbreviations

                                                                                                                • Data sources
                                                                                                                  • Sales data
                                                                                                                    • Fan chart forecast
                                                                                                                      • Consumer survey data
                                                                                                                        • Consumer qualitative research
                                                                                                                          • TURF analysis – Methodology
                                                                                                                            • Figure 67: Table – TURF Analysis – Reasons for vacation, November 2015
                                                                                                                          • Abbreviations and terms
                                                                                                                            • Abbreviations
                                                                                                                              • Terms

                                                                                                                              Companies Covered

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                                                                                                                              Seasonal Vacation Trends - US - February 2016

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