How American travelers pick their vacations

Optimizing the allocation of your advertising funds across today’s increasingly diverse media options can be a vexing task, but these decisions should be guided by where leisure travelers go to seek information when selecting both destinations and travel service suppliers. These insights are revealed in our “2014 Portrait of American Travelers,” selected highlights of which are summarized below.

Half of American leisure travelers cite friends and family as the most important source of information when selecting a vacation destination. Other sources of information (in order of importance) include Internet search engines, printed visitor guides and destination websites. While more than two in 10 leisure travelers consider promotional emails “they asked to receive” important, only one in 10 considers unsolicited email when selecting a destination for leisure travel. Almost three in 10 consider travel review websites and magazine articles, while two in 10 cite OTAs, television advertising, magazine advertising, television shows, online visitor guides and travel service supplier websites.

By Generational Group

Half of leisure travelers across all generational groups consider information from friends and family when selecting a vacation destination. Internet search engine results are cited equally by all generational groups except matures, while boomers appear more dependent on the contents of printed visitor guides. Airline promotions are cited by millennials and boomers, and boomers appear to be most responsive to hotel/resort promotions. Matures are most likely to cite professional travel guide books, but least likely to cite the reviews found on travel websites. Millennials are significantly more likely to consider the following as important:  magazine advertising, blog posts, television shows, travel service provider websites and social media posts from friends and family.

The data clearly reveal that the most effective media strategy to reach leisure travelers this summer is one that incorporates both offline and online media. The precise balance should be determined by your targeted mix of clientele by generational group, however.

For more information about the MMGY 2014 Global Portrait of American Travelers, visit