US survey reveals affluent traveller brands

Affluent travellers, those who enjoy an annual household income in excess of $150,000 (an estimated seven per cent of all U.S. households), represent a highly desirable target for many travel service marketers. Not surprisingly, their brand preferences vary significantly from those of their less-affluent counterparts as revealed in the soon-to-be-released 2006 Portrait of Affluent Travelers.

Well-to-do travelers display a clear preference for certain lodging brands depending on the primary purpose of their trip: business versus leisure. The preferred brand for business travel is Hyatt, whereas Ritz-Carlton reigns as the preferred lodging brand for leisure travel.

The top five rankings (based on unaided mentions) for both business and leisure travel are summarized below:

          Preferred Lodging Brands for Business Travel

Brand     —-                % of Affluent Business Travelers
Hyatt Regency/Park Hyatt                 50%
Ritz Carlton                         45%
Four Seasons                         36%
Starwood                           24%
Marriott                           19%


p>          Preferred Lodging Brands for Leisure Travel

Brand                 —-    % of Affluent Leisure Travelers
Ritz Carlton                         46%
Hyatt Regency/Park Hyatt                 43%
Four Seasons                         38%
Starwood                             17%
Marriott                             14%
Topping the list of Individual and/or independently-owned resorts preferred by affluent travelers for leisure travel is The Phoenician in Scottsdale, Arizona, mentioned on an unaided basis by one out of every eight affluent travelers as noted below:

    Preferred Independent Hotels or Resorts for Leisure Travel

Brand       —-                % of Affluent Leisure Travelers
The Phoenician                         12%
The Broadmoor                         11%
The Grand Hotel                         9%
The Greenbrier                         8%
The Breakers                           7%
Affluent business travelers also display a clear preference for certain airlines, with American Airlines mentioned by the slight majority as reflected below. And perhaps contrary to expectation, the concept of “value” isn’t lost on well-heeled business travelers either, as evidenced by the fact that fully one out of five affluent business travelers prefers a low-fare carrier: Southwest.

              Preferred Airline for Business Travel

Airline               —-    % of Affluent Business Travelers
American Airlines                       55%
United Airlines                       37%
Delta Airlines                         36%
Southwest Airlines                     23%
Continental Airlines                     22%
Affluent leisure travelers also display specific preferences when it comes to their interest in luxury cruise lines, with Holland America line topping the list of luxury cruise lines affluent leisure travelers are interested in patronizing during the next two years:

                    Preferred Cruise Line

Cruise Line   —-        % of Affluent Leisure Travelers Interested
                    In cruising during the next two years
Holland America Line                   15%
Cunard Line                         9%
Windstar                           8%
Radisson Seven Seas (a)                  8%
Crystal Cruises                       8%

(a) now Regent Seven Seas Cruises
The 2006 Portrait of Affluent Travelers is a nationally projectable survey of the travel habits, preferences and intentions of the top 7% of U.S. households defined by annual income. Conducted during the 2nd quarter of 2006, the sample consisted of 600 respondents who took at least one overnight business or leisure trip during the previous year and stayed in “luxury” accommodations. Two-thirds of respondents had an annual household income between $150,000 and $250,000, and the remaining third had an annual household income in excess of $250,000. Further information of the survey results may be obtained by visiting the Publications section of .