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For Destination Marketers, Not All Leisure Travel is Created Equal

For Destination Marketers, Not All Leisure Travel is Created Equal

As U.S. and European travelers tighten their travel budgets, destination marketers have to work harder to attract visitors. And smaller marketing budgets mean it is crucial to target travel shoppers who are receptive to influence. But just how big is the opportunity?

In fact, less than two-thirds of leisure travelers in the U.S., France, Germany, and the U.K. report choosing at least one leisure destination in the past twelve months. The remaining third took leisure trips only to destinations that were dictated for them by, for example, visits to friends and family, social events (e.g., weddings), or the location of a vacation home.

Destination marketers can draw in this smaller segment by first winning over brides or vacation home shoppers. But the sweet spot for influencing individual trips lies in connecting with travelers who get to choose their own adventure.

Chart: Independently Selected Leisure Destination (Incidence Among Travelers)

U.S. travelers are less likely than their European counterparts to choose their own leisure destination, with just 57% doing so. Americans have fewer vacation days, so their available time is more likely to be devoted to visiting friends and family, with less left over for discretionary travel.


U.K. travelers have the highest incidence of independent destination selection—nearly two thirds selected the destination for at least one leisure trip. France (63%) and Germany (61%) are close behind.

Destination Unknown: How U.S. and European Travelers Decide Where to Go studies independent destination selectors in four markets—the U.S., France, Germany, and the U.K.—highlighting market differences and identifying key destination selection concepts common to all. An in-depth analysis of the destination selection process includes discussion of key motivators, psychographics, information sources, online features, and websites used when choosing a leisure destination. Purchase through October 31 to save 15%.

A corresponding Online Event will be held Tuesday, October 5 at 12:00 pm EDT. View more details here.