New research, revealed today, shows that Millennials want more than relaxation during their vacations.
In fact—81% of respondents revealed that they purchased an in-destination activity during their last trip, and day trips, excursions and sightseeing tours are the number one in-destination activity purchased by travelers (42%).
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This data also found that visiting museums, galleries or cultural attractions (30%) and outdoor activities (28%).
According to the data, pre-booking activity decreases with age, and the Millennials are far more likely to pre-book an activity than Baby Boomers. Older travelers (55+) showed a marked resistance to pre-booking, with most making their bookings only once they had arrived in the destination and on the day of the activity itself.
In-Destination Activities a Go
The survey found that 81% of respondents had participated in a bookable in-destination activity during their last trip, with day trips, excursions and sightseeing tours (42%), visiting museums, galleries or cultural attractions (30%) and outdoor activities (28%) the most popular. Day trip, excursion and sightseeing tours are the most booked in-destination activity, especially among 18- to 34-year-olds, as 50% booked one for their last leisure trip.
Last Trip In-Destination Activities
Ages 18-34 Ages 35-54 Ages 55+ All Ages
Day trip, excursion or sightseeing tour 50% 38% 38% 42%
Museum, gallery or cultural attraction 34% 24% 26% 30%
Outdoor activity (such as water sports and hiking) 30% 27% 27% 28%
Ticketed event (theater, sporting event or concert) 26% 20% 16% 21%
Theme park or amusement park 27% 21% 7% 19%
Other 4% 9% 15% 9%
The stage at which these in-destination activities are booked varies significantly. For both tours and activities (including snorkeling, sightseeing tour or yoga class) and general admission activities (such as museum, zoo, theme park or monument), most were booked while the consumer was within the destination and, for the most part, on the day of the activity itself. In contrast, ticket events such as concerts, sporting events and theatre tickets tend to be booked prior to travelling, with only just over one-third booked the day before or the day of the event itself and nearly one-third securing tickets before booking the flight or hotel. Such a pattern makes sense, as in many cases the event in question may be the motivation for the trip, making the pre-booking of event tickets essential.
Baby Boomers Resist Pre-Booking, While Millennials Embrace It
Regardless of the category, pre-booking activity decreases with age. In all cases, those aged 18-34, followed by those aged 35-54, were far more likely to pre-book their in-destination activities. Older travelers (55+) showed a marked resistance to pre-booking, with most making their bookings only once they had arrived in the destination and on the day of the activity itself.
Last Trip In-Destination Activities Booking Window
Ages 18-34 Ages 35-54 Ages 55+ Overall
Before booking flights or hotels 25% 18% 8% 19%
At the same time as booking flights or hotels 26% 20% 12% 20%
While in-destination but at least a day before 17% 20% 23% 20%
The day of the activity 31% 41% 60% 41%
“Facilitating the purchase of ancillary in-destination activities during booking or confirmation communications clearly represents an interesting opportunity for U.S. hotels,” said Kenneth Purcell, Founder and CEO of iSeatz. “Millennials and Gen Xers are a strong and willing market, showing the highest likelihood of engagement in these activities. When well-executed, hoteliers can benefit from the added profit margin and full-service feel ancillary in-destination offerings add to their brand.”
In-Destination Activities Most Popular Among Millennials
Those aged 18-34 represent the highest potential for pre-purchase of in-destination ancillary products, notably being the heaviest consumer across all segments, particularly for day trips / excursions as well as theme or amusement park admission.
Last Trip In-Destination Activities Purchased
At the same time as or after booking flights or hotels but before traveling, combined
Ages 18-34 Ages 35-54 Ages 55+ Overall
Ticketed event (theater, sporting event or concert) 43% 38% 36% 40%
Tour or activity (snorkeling, sightseeing tour or yoga class) 42% 34% 19% 34%
General admission attraction (museum, zoo, theme park or monument) 39% 35% 22% 34%
“From breakfast and bike rentals to in-room entertainment and event tickets, ancillary sales offer a compelling way for hotels to boost their bottom line,” says Phocuswright research analyst Mark Blutstein.
In addition to adding top-to-bottom-line growth, hoteliers are increasingly looking to ancillary product offerings such as in-destination activities and local experiences as a way to compete with online travel agencies and sharing economy players such as Airbnb.