Now with summer officially underway, it’s travel time for many Americans. While there’s no denying the convenience and expertise gained from using a travel agent, many Americans prefer to take the travel planning reigns themselves and go at it DIY-style. According to Nielsen Scarborough, over 38 million adults in the U.S. classify as a DIY Traveler: they would rather book a trip over the Internet than meet with a travel agent, prefer traveling independently over taking guided tours and feel that planning a vacation is just as much fun as the trip itself. For those in the travel industry this is an important segment, so understanding more about who they are and how they travel will help in the development of strategies to reach this globe trekking traveler.
DIY Travelers are not your typical cash-strapped youth staying in hostels and backpacking across the country. In fact, 40% of DIY Travelers are 50 or older! They’re 28% more likely to have a household income of $100,000 or more, and the fact that 58% of them don’t have children (age 17 or under) in the home allows for more disposable income and flexible spending.
Despite DIY Travelers working hard for their money, they also understand that life is not all about work. Which is why 65% agree that “life should be as much fun as possible” and 58% agree “they seek out variety in everyday life”. And what better way to have fun and experience new things than traveling!
Traveling inherently costs money and a DIY Traveler is focused on spending it wisely. Nearly three-quarters (73%) of DIY Travelers agree that hotel discounts have a strong influence on where they travel to and stay. They are also more likely to say that last-minute travel specials are a great way to get a bargain and price is more important than convenience when making travel plans. With so many travel companies and internet sites now offering daily travel deals DIY Travelers are ready,willing and able to step up their comfort level and it shows as they are 28% more likely to have stayed at an upscale hotel during the past 12 months.
While DIY Travelers are all for hopping in the car and driving a few hours outside town for a weekend getaway, they are not limited to staying on the roads, or even inside the continental U.S. In the past year, 43% of DIY Travelers have flown an airline strictly for personal/vacation purposes, making them 20% more likely to have done so than the average U.S. adult. But that’s not all, they are also 19% more likely to travel abroad. In the past 3 years, over a third (38%) of DIY Travelers have made a foreign trip primarily for personal/vacation.
And once they’ve enjoyed the fruits of their travel planning labor, they’re more likely to do it again and again. DIY Travelers are 43% more likely to have taken 5 or more trips outside the continental US in the past 3 years and 48% more likely to have flown domestically in the past year. Wonder where they’re going? Thirty-five percent have traveled to the Caribbean or Mexico, 28% Europe, 24% Canada and 16% to Hawaii.
So despite this group’s cost-conscious attitudes and efforts to keep expenses in check when it comes to traveling, they show that they have no problem shelling out the dough to explore and experience new things. Travel and tourism businesses should take notice of these globe trekkers, especially considering DIY Travelers tend to catch the travel bug and do so more frequently than other travel segments.
Source: Nielsen Scarborough USA+ 2015 Release 2; GfK/MRI Attitudinal Insights