Mall of America

Published on Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Affluent travelers most likely returnees

It may be contrary to popular beliefs, but affluent vacationers are the most likely travelers to return to a favored destination, according to a survey conducted for the U. S. Tour Operators Association.

"People imagine high-income travelers jetting around the world, sailing the Amazon, visiting Rome this year, Rio the next, following a safari with a sailing trip along the Turkish coast, or taking an extended cruise," the study says.

However, the survey found that one- third of travelers with household incomes greater than $100,000 indicated they preferred to revisit favorite vacation destinations.

"That is the largest group giving this response in any income category," said Bob Whitley, USTOA president.

The survey revealed that increased income correlates with the desire to repeat favorite vacation spots. Thirty percent of households earning  $50,000 to $99,000 also preferred returning to favorite destinations, but that number dropped to less than 20% for those earning $35,000 and less.

Higher-income travelers also said they enjoy exploring a favorite destination in depth, and that a broader selection of side trips would motivate them to select a tour or vacation package.

The study also found that women and those reporting lower income based their vacation choices on practical factors, saying that additional meals and sightseeing included in the price would motivate them to select packaged travel.

Younger travelers (18 - 34) and families with children under 12 years said that free hotel room upgrades were motivating factors.

Mr Whitley pointed out that that USTOA's more than 130 members cater to a wide variety of budgets.

"Travelers on a budget should look for all-inclusive tours and vacation packages, and for specials providing a free room upgrade or extra hotel night at no cost," he suggested.

Report by David Wilkening

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