The number of affluent or luxury travelers is rising and those travelers want to travel even more, says a new study.
The new 2013 Portrait of American Travelers study published by travel marketing and research firm MMGY Global and Harrison Group, found that women are now the majority of affluent travelers.
According to the study, 4 percent of leisure travelers now have an annual household income of $250,000 or more, compared to 4 percent in 2010.
These affluent travelers also are planning more trips in the year ahead than travelers with more modest annual household incomes. Almost three out of 10 (28 percent) plan to take more trips, versus just two out of 10 (18 percent) for the general population of all leisure travelers.
These travelers also intend to spend more on vacations in the year ahead. The same group took an average of five leisure trips during the past 12 months and spent an average of $9,765 during that time period. For next year, they expect to spend $10,585, which represents an 8.4 percent increase in vacation spend.
Even more significant for travel marketers, women now make up the majority (54 percent) of these affluent travelers, up from 42 percent in 2010.
The study also found that affluent travelers are now more likely to be married (82 percent) compared with 77 percent in 2010. They are also older, with an average age of 49 in 2013 compared with 43 in 2010. More of them (14 percent) say they are retired, compared with just 1 percent in 2010.
Affluent travelers are also more likely to travel abroad than ever. Sixty-nine percent of affluent travelers took a vacation outside the continental U.S. during the past 12 months. T
The most popular destinations included Western Europe (52 percent), Caribbean (41 percent), Mexico (22 percent) and Canada (18 percent).
And even though they are older, affluent travelers report spending 40 minutes per day with social media platforms such as Facebook (69 percent) and LinkedIn (46 percent), while 50 percent say they are visiting online communities, travel forums or blogs to seek and/or review information about destinations or travel service suppliers, up from 40 percent in 2010.
More affluent travelers (29 percent) are authoring, commenting and/or posting content on travel-related social media sites, up from 17 percent in 2010.
In comparison, affluent travelers spend significantly less time watching television per day (averaging 2.8 hours) than they did in 2010 (when they averaged 4.2 hours). They also spend less time reading newspapers and magazines (average of 1.2 hours in 2010 versus one hour in 2013). Readership of printed versions of Sunday travel sections in newspapers declined to just 30 percent of all affluent travelers in 2013 from 41 percent in 2010.
Affluent travelers also spend an average of 3.2 hours a day online for personal use, with 94 percent accessing the Internet from home, 74 percent from a smartphone, 68 percent from a tablet, 66 percent from the office, 28 percent from a gaming console, 26 percent from a smart TV and 23 percent from an e-Reader.
Significantly more affluent travelers (49 percent) have downloaded travel apps to their smartphones now than in 2010 (27 percent).
Ninety-one percent of affluent travelers also use the Internet to obtain information about travel services or suppliers, including availabilities and rates.
The most popular travel websites among affluent travelers include specific airline branded websites (53 percent), Expedia (46 percent), TripAdvisor (46 percent), specific hotel branded websites (45 percent), Orbitz (42 percent), Travelocity (36 percent), Kayak (33 percent) and Priceline (26 percent).