UK Millennials Will Take and Spend More on Leisure Trips

New research study Portrait of UK Travellers shows that Millennials will drive overall tourism growth for 2019 and have the most positive outlook on Brexit's impact on travel

Findings also reveal what influence children have on holiday decisions; which generation is most likely to travel overseas; and the impact of social media on holiday decisions

Adult travellers aged under 40 intend to take 41 percent more holidays in 2019 (an extra two holidays per year on average) and additionally ramp up their holiday spend by 20% in the next 12 months, according to a new study.

Portrait of UK Travellers is compiled by MMGY Global, the world’s largest integrated tourism  marketing organisation, and looks at the holiday motivations, preferences and behaviours of the 13.4 million travelling households in the UK. Research was carried out in January and February 2019.

Over 2,000 active leisure travellers participated in a 25-minute online survey and their responses were analysed across three generational bands – Millennials (aged 18-39 in 2018); Xers (aged 40-53 in 2018) and Boomers (aged 54-72 in 2018).

Some of the behaviours most prominent amongst Millennial respondents followed logic – for instance that they are far more vested in social media than their older counterparts – but other, more surprising, results were also revealed.

For instance:

  • Whilst only one in ten Millennials had taken a cruise holiday in the past year, more than half expressed an interest in going on a cruise in the next two years – the strongest level of intent across any of the age brackets
  • Staycations are more popular with Millennials than with Xers or Boomers – domestic holidays will account for around half of their intended trips
  • Almost half of Millennials booked at least one holiday with a travel agent in the past 12 months – compared to just over a quarter of Xers and Boomers
  • Whilst two thirds of Millennials believe Brexit will have an impact on holidays, this generation demonstrates the most optimistic outlook, with the majority believing the impact on passport control queues, GBP exchange rates and airline fares would be more positive than negative. This was in direct contrast to the predictions of the over-40s
  • Nearly a quarter of Millennials have made a travel purchase based at least partially on a post by a social media influencer or celebrity
  • Despite this buoyancy around Millennials, travel businesses should not remove focus from the over-40s, since they still lead the way in a number of areas. The desire to experience different cultures is strongest amongst the Boomer generation when it comes to motivations for going on holiday. The Boomers and Xers show the most interest in visiting historic houses and gardens, museums, botanical gardens and vineyards; and whilst Millennials favour dining options that are new or notable in some way, the Boomers are the generation most keen to sample the authentic food eaten by locals.
  • Even more significantly, more Xers and Boomers than Millennials are planning longer, international holidays. Two thirds of future holidays planned by Xers will be overseas and last at least five days, with Boomers not far behind. Only half of the trips Millennials intend to take will fulfil the same parameters.
  • Family travel was another area the research looked into. Family travel accounts for around a quarter of the trips taken by UK travellers, with Xers the most likely to travel with children. When it comes to decision making, it seems that kids have the upper hand – at least two-thirds said children influenced their destination and hotel choices and four in five said they also influenced the planning of daily activities.