Research shows clear generational travel preferences

The results of our recently-released “2015 Portrait of American Travelers” reveal some provocative generational differences in preferences for lodging among leisure travelers:

Boomers had the highest incidence of hotel patronage (77 percent), whereas millennials had the lowest (72 percent);

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Millennials had the highest incidence of patronage of resorts (28 percent), while matures had the lowest (13 percent); 

Millennials are most likely to have stayed in a bed-and-breakfast at least once last year (13 percent);

Matures (83 percent) have a clear preference for “chain-affiliated” hotels and resorts, while preference for “independent” hotels and resorts is highest among millennials (28 percent);

Brand loyalty (as revealed by willingness to stay with other brands on future trips) is highest among boomers (50 percent) and matures (49 percent) and lowest among both millennials and Xers (40 percent respectively). And it is interesting to note that less than half of all travelers agree with the statement they “rarely stay with others;”

Millennials have a greater penchant for indulgence (47 percent are willing to pay more for “true luxury” in lodging) than any other generational group;

When it comes to the question of brand preferences, Hilton has a greater following among younger travelers, while Marriott dominates preference among those travelers who skew older. And the stated preference for both of these two megabrands is significantly higher than for any of the other lodging brands that make it to the list of the top 10.

These observations are revealed in the data tables below, and the implications for both marketing and future brand development are certainly intriguing. 

To learn more about the results of the MMGY Global “2015 Portrait of American Travelers,” please visit the Research section of

Peter Yesawich is vice chairman of MMGY Global. Contact him at [email protected].