Cracking the Millennial Travel Mindset: Surprising Insights on Attitudes and Behaviors

Mirroring Boomer Counterparts, 89% of Millennials Report Value of
‘High-Touch’ Personal Service

NEW YORK–(BUSINESS WIRE)–As the largest demographic since the boomers, Millennials are
influencing the travel industry. According to new data released from The
American Express Future of Travel
and the American Express
Spending & Saving Tracker
, Millennials are more optimistic and
plan to travel more frequently (52.8% Millennials vs. 32.1% Boomers) in
the next five years and spend more on travel than boomers (58%
Millennials vs. 41.3% Boomers) in the same timeframe. There are
similarities too. The survey data shows both Millennials and more mature
demographics share an appreciation of high-touch, human interactions,
with 89% of Millennials reporting that the value of personal service
cannot be replaced.

“One thing is clear, people, regardless of their age and the cost of
travel, place a high value on personalized service in their travel
experience,” said Claire Bennett, Executive Vice President, American
Express Travel, while speaking July 26 at #NoFilter: Millennial
Perception vs. Reality,
the first American Express Travel Salon, a
series of conversations the company plans to host relevant to the travel

The Salon, which featured a panel moderated by Bennett, was designed to
discuss and debunk the myths surrounding Millennials and travel.

Here are four travel topics and corresponding data presented at the
Salon that appear to discredit accepted millennial myths:

Opting Out of Traditional Travel Help

The most notorious myth: Millennials won’t use a travel agent. Yet,
Millennials give travel agents an “A,” with 92.4% of those who have used
a travel agent in the past five years reporting it enhanced their travel
experience. Additionally, nearly 60% of Millennials agree they would pay
more for an agent’s expertise. “Led by Millennials, travelers are
beginning to articulate a vision of high-touch and high-tech service and
the industry is watching,” Bennett said.

The Apple Doesn’t Fall Far from the Tree

There’s an assumption that Millennials have different travel needs than
their parents, but in many cases, the data suggests that they may be
more similar than they like to admit. In fact, according to American
Express Travel, 76.3% of Millennials say they prefer to stay in a
traditional hotel, nearly equal to boomers, and both agree (46% equally)
that enhanced in-room technology is the most appealing hotel trend.

Customization and Cost

There’s a dichotomy when it comes to Millennials’ travel planning
habits. On one hand, the data shows that customization is king, with
nearly 70% of Millennials saying they would put in the effort to plan a
personalized travel experience vs. purchasing a pre-packaged trip, yet
58.7% of Millennials report that they would choose a package if it were
less expensive. Price was not the only consideration when it came to
customization. By more than 25 percentage points when compared to
Boomers, Millennials surveyed shared they would be willing to let brands
use data from their past travel purchases to deliver a more personalized

If They Don’t Document, Did it Happen?

While three-quarters of Millennials claim to prefer to live in the
moment while traveling and not view experiences through the lens of
their phone, the fact is the pressure to post on social media for this
group is real. More than half (54.9%) feel that it is their
responsibility to post reviews for the benefit of other travelers and
more than a quarter (25.8%) feel they spend too much time on social
media while traveling. “Previous generations simply did not face this
situation,” Bennett said. “It is a constant push-pull between connection
and taking the time to be present.”

About The American Express Future of Travel Study

The American Express Future of Travel study was completed online by
1,007 U.S. consumers who have traveled for leisure at least twice in the
past 5 years. The study was conducted by The Futures Company between May
26 and June 3, 2015 and the results reported in this release have an
overall margin of error of +/- 3.1 at the 95 percent level of confidence.

About the American Express Spending & Saving Tracker

The American Express Spending & Saving Tracker research was completed
online among a random sample of 2,000 adults, including the general U.S.
population, as well as an affluent demographic defined by a minimum
annual household income of $100,000. Interviewing was conducted by
Ebiquity between April 28 and May 4, 2016. The overall margin of error
is +/- 2.5 percentage points at the 95 percent level of confidence; the
results have a margin of error of +/- 2.4 among summer travelers and +/-
3.3 for millennials.

About American Express

American Express is a global services company, providing customers with
access to products, insights and experiences that enrich lives and build
business success. Learn more at
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Elizabeth Crosta