ConnectWithCauseway, Travel Data Insights 2023
January 29, 2024
From family vacationers and food tourists to solo travelers and extreme tourism, travel is back on the plan for many vacationers. Tune in to discover the stats and trends impacting the travel industry and how you can get bonus miles with Causeway Solutions’ customized profiles! Listen to the full episode.
Thérèse Mulvey, Vice President of Strategy: Welcome to Connect with Causeway. I'm your host, Thérèse Mulvey, Vice President of Strategy and Insights at Causeway Solutions. Joining me today is Lauren Kornick, our Manager of Strategic Partnerships. Hi Lauren.
Lauren Kornick, Manager, Strategic Partnerships: Hey, Thérèse.
Thérèse: Welcome to episode seven. We're very excited to have another guest from Causeway Solutions today. Hailey Russell is our senior analyst and data whizz. Hailey's been integral in our new modeling initiative. One of the areas is travel, which is what we're going to talk about today. Welcome, Hailey.
Hailey Russell, Senior Analyst: Thanks, Thérèse and Lauren. I'm so honored to be a guest on the podcast.
Thérèse: We're very happy to have you. As I mentioned, our topic is travel and as everyone knows, we love a lot of statistics. I saw a recent Bloomberg article that said travel is expected to reach 15.5 trillion in the next 10 years. That's trillion with a T. So, this is an important topic. We've talked about the evolving industry of travel in the past, but we haven't looked at segmenting the industry. So, today we're going to take a deeper dive. Hopefully, everybody's enjoyed that 2023 summer vacation. Hailey and Lauren, where have you guys been?
Lauren: I went to scenic South Bend, Indiana back in June. For me the best type of summer vacation.
Thérèse: Lauren, that’s the birthplace of great Americans like myself. I'm probably the most excited that you went there! Hailey?
Hailey: I recently went on a cruise to the Bahamas with 20 plus family members and we managed to come back alive somehow.
Thérèse: Wow, that's a lot of family.
Well as always, I have even more stats for our listeners. For example, according to Deloitte, 38% of summer travelers said their trips would be a week or longer. NPR reported over the 4th of July, 2023, about 50 million Americans said they'd travel at least 50 miles away from home. Our Causeway Solutions survey showed 56% took a summer break. It's always good for researchers and statisticians when numbers align.
Lauren: Yeah, and those are a bunch of eye-catching clickbait numbers! A lot of people are traveling and that's the big headline. But we need to find more manageable and personable segments behind those stats and numbers. That's where Hailey comes in.
Hailey: Yes. All that you've heard really shows why we felt a better understanding of the travel audiences would be important for many advertisers. As we all know, this major thing called COVID happened back in 2020 and it had a major impact on many industries. One of the most impacted being the travel industry between 2019 and 2020. International travel was cut in half. However, in 2022, the number of people that were traveling doubled compared to the previous two years. There are so many groups of travelers that are ripe for the picking for advertisers. That's why Causeway's audiences are so important. We're going beyond the question of who is traveling and instead asking what is motivating people to travel? Who are they traveling with and what experiences are they looking for when traveling?
Thérèse: That's such an interesting way to approach it, Hailey. It opens our minds to understand how travelers are motivated and how they choose trips. For example, a good friend of mine loves to travel alone. Me, not so much.
Hailey: First off, Thérèse, I truly admire people like your friend because I recently just conquered going out to eat by myself. So, kudos to her!
Thérèse: One step at a time, Hailey.
Hailey: Exactly. When looking at motivators for why people travel, you see just how different people are. Some people travel purely adventure purposes, some travel to experience different foods and cultures and some just to relax. No two travelers are the same when they choose to travel and when they're looking for different traveling experiences.
Lauren: Because even on a service level, there's a huge difference between a traveler who just happens to have kids and then a traveler who intends to travel with kids, especially small children.
Thérèse: That's true, Lauren.
Hailey: Exactly. Post COVID families have taken many more trips than they would have prior to COVID. And just because people have children, that does not necessarily mean that they want to travel with those children each and every time they go on vacation. Parents definitely need their relaxation too. I sure do. And I don't even have kids! We identified 4 million adults as that prime family traveler audience. However, they differ from those 11 million adults that would rather not travel with their family. These two audiences should not be treated the same. And it's important for advertisers to recognize their differences.
Thérèse: Wow, that's a significant drop off to find those specific family vacationers. I actually know from experience, they're two different types of trips, different motivations, reason for choosing a location, etc. As an empty nester, I haven't looked for a vacation with a playground in quite some time.
Hailey: It's important to note that people don't just fall into one bucket of travelers. Someone who is a family traveler can also be a thrill seeker or a food traveler. These audiences are able to be cross-tabulated and now you're able to see exactly who to target. I have a couple of cousins who go on a family vacation every year with their children. It'll be either to a cruise or to a destination. However, they also prioritize their couple's time, their quality time, romantic time. It's important for advertisers to message them differently because you could definitely be leaving a good bulk of your audiences on the table if you don't know how to message them differently for their different types of vacation preferences.
Lauren: Yeah, family vacationers and honeymooners like we've talked about before. You're saying every couple needs to keep the love alive and keep their family having fun.
Thérèse: So true. In our audience creation, we're able to create profiles on some new vacationing trends like solo traveling or food tourism, right?
Hailey: Yes. We know who makes up these audiences and what their general characteristics are. We know that solo travelers tend to be middle class, while food travelers usually have a little bit more money than the average person, both skew a little more male and consists of slightly older people. It's very important to know what your audience generally looks like, not so that you can just target those main people in that audience so that you know who you're generally talking to. It's always good to know just what the people look like.
Lauren: We're able to see beyond simple demographics. We're able to see if they favor international or domestic traveling. For solo travelers specifically, 60% were flagged as interested in traveling internationally specifically while only 40% were flagged as interested in traveling domestically. And it's pretty interesting compared to the summer vacationers. We've found so far only 10% of those summer vacationers have taken an international vacation. And then only about eight to 15% of the rest of the general population who are considering a summer vacation are interested in taking an international trip either. So talk about an interesting unique group of vacationers compared to especially the rest of the general.
Thérèse: I know for me, COVID really impacted how I thought about international travel. To your point, Lauren, it just seemed like a much bigger commitment. And now that I'm finally ready to do that, I'm actually considering travel insurance. That's not something that I did in the pre-COVID world, but once you live through that, you realize a lot of big things can happen and travel's a big investment. One of the trips that I did take right before COVID was in Italy. I was on a food tour with 30 strangers. That was definitely not possible during COVID, so I'm really happy to hear that's back on track.
Hailey: Yes, and outside of the travel industry, the food industry was probably also one of the most impacted industries during COVID. According to a recent CNN article, there are 73,000 fewer restaurants in 2023 than there were in 2019.
Thérèse: That's just unbelievable.
Hailey: Right? And if you apply that number to the entire globe, just imagine how many restaurants and food tourism things were affected. Things are slowly getting back to normal in the food industry, but it's still going to take a while. I can only imagine that companies that were doing food tours would greatly benefit from these travel audiences. The food tourist audience is one of our biggest, consisting of 46 million people. There are definitely people willing to have food oriented vacations, they just need the right advertiser to nudge them.
Lauren: We can create more niche segments, such as solo travelers who are interested in sports or food. Tourists who like the outdoors, specifically thrill seekers who want to go skiing. So, figuring out other interests and opinions to make an even better and smaller message to the average traveler.
Hailey: That makes me think of Molly here at Causeway. She took a trip to Vietnam at the end of 2019, thankfully right before COVID. It was a group vacation of solo travelers. It was a full on cultural food experience, food oriented vacation. Little did she know she was checking the box for three of Causeway's future travel audiences. So gold star for you, Molly, if you're listening.
Thérèse: She’d better be listening. It's pretty interesting the different drivers for the type of vacation people are going to take. What else can we look at when we're talking about vacationers?
Lauren: Yeah, so these are some of just our initial vacation segments and we can go even deeper to other trends or observations we're making to that recent survey of ours that you mentioned earlier. We broke down how long people said that they vacation during the summer, whether it be a day, a weekend or a week or longer. So that's another trend right there. The vacationers with a vengeance that we were talking about in a previous episode.
Thérèse: I love that term.
Lauren: Yeah, those who vacationed, it’s not just a vacation. They want to take an extra-long vacation. We can compare that to a weekend getaway traveler specifically, we saw that weekend vacationers enjoyed social media significantly more than these vacationers with vengeance, especially TikTok. 35% of weekend vacationers checked TikTok at least once a week compared to other vacationers, only 26%.
Hailey: Lauren, I'm so glad that you mentioned social media because this is just a cautionary tale to those listening. As we know, Gen Z and Millennials use social media sites such as TikTok or Instagram to do a lot of their traveling planning. And a lot of these influencers out here just flat out lie about what these places look like. And so now you have these people who at the behest of these influencers just book a vacation without even doing any research and they get to these places and see that these influencers just flat out lied or that these places aren't as pretty as they look in the pictures. So, people please beware and do a little bit of research beyond TikTok or Instagram when booking these vacations. There is a site called Google.
Thérèse: This is my Baby Boomer moment. Come on, people. Really, you have got to do your research.
Thérèse: Well, all of this information is really interesting, whether it be TikTok or food tours, information the industry needs. There was a recent Forbes article about the fact that 49% of consumers who are planning to travel, we're planning to travel more this year, while 38% were planning to travel about the same. Whether you're good or not at math, what you know is that leaves a very small percentage that are planning to travel less. The article also mentioned that visiting family is the number one type of trip, but our conversation here I think really points out that you may be visiting family, but that doesn't necessarily mean that's the only thing that defines how you're planning that vacation. I mean, look at Hailey with your summer cruise vacation. That was family Lauren with your South Penn trip if I remember correctly. That was family. But they're really different motivators. It's a great example of how important it is to go beyond the surface reasons of traveling and really get at the deeper motivations.
Lauren: Yeah, you never really know whether these family vacationers are true family vacationers. Maybe they're mostly food tourists, mislabeled, who knows?
Hailey: And Thérèse to the Forbes article that you referenced, they said that 45% of people are allowing a higher travel budget. To put that into perspective, there are 30 million Honeymooners or a couple getaways as we would call them at Causeway. And 45% of that is 13.5 million. To an advertiser, that's 13.5 million people that you could possibly be leaving on the table if you didn't use those audiences.
Thérèse: Wow, that's a lot of people.
Well, I think we've made great case for the fact that travel is really popular and it's continuing to grow. I'm really happy to see that it's recovered after COVID. I hope that restaurants can do the same. There's a lot more information that we didn't have time for, but we would be happy to share if you're interested.
I want to thank everyone for being here. And Hailey, I want to especially thank you for chatting with us and we do hope that you come back sometime soon.
We hope you enjoyed this episode of Connect with Causeway and we want to remind you that if you have questions you'd like to suggest for our monthly survey, please reach out to us at [email protected]. Please subscribe to the podcast and tune in again for our next episode. Thanks everybody.
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