Multi-National Traveler Choices


In our previous travel blogs, we looked at the travel-related patterns of Baby Boomers versus Millennials, and we also showed how Gen Zers were influencing the travel industry today.  In this blog, we decided to go broader and look at international travel trends.  We source an excellent report, “Multi-National Travel Trends” by the Expedia Group.  The study surveyed more than 10,000 travelers from ten different countries (approximately 1,000 travelers from each country) and then compared them to 1,000 travelers within the US.  The focus of this report was to take a more global look at what motivates international travelers and what their usual behaviors might be in 2019.  Below, we list the eleven countries the Expedia Group focused on along with the number of citizens per country, the GDP for each and the GDP per capita.

 According to, all of these countries fall in the Top 21 Countries for GDP with the United States taking the number one spot and Argentina, the lowest.

Presented below are some of the more interesting stats from the report.

  • On average, Mexican and Chinese travelers take the most trips per year at 5.6 and 5.3 annual trips respectively. Canadians take the fewest at 2.8 trips per year.  Americans average 4.4 trips per year.

  • Argentinians take the longest vacations for an average of 12.0 days per trip while Japanese take the shortest trips at 3.4 days.  Americans average 6.7 days per trip.

  • Visiting family is more important to Americans, Canadians and Australians before relaxing or sightseeing. On the other hand, Chinese, Argentinians, Germans and Mexicans showed a preference for relaxing.  Japanese travelers ranked sightseeing as their number one reason for traveling while also being the least likely to book a romantic getaway out of all the countries.
  • All eleven of the countries choose planes as their number one choice for travel. Automobiles are the second choice for all countries except China.  These travelers prefer to travel by train.
  • Hotels are the number one choice for overnight accommodations for all countries.

  • Europeans, Canadians and Argentinians were the most likely to book international travel in 2018 versus domestic travel.

  • While the majority of travelers from all eleven of the countries have a budget beforehand (59% and up), Japanese, British and German travelers are the most ready to spend money and budget while on a trip at 93%, 81% and 80% respectively.

  • For all of the travelers, at least one third of their budget is allocated for both hotels (18%-34%) and flights (14%-22%) with another 16%-18% set aside for food.

  • All of the travelers from the survey consider value for their dollar as  important when considering where to travel. However, the travel decisions will more likely be decided based on 1) activities that will be done on the trip, 2) “once in a lifetime” experiences, and 3) the cultural experience before the “Lowest Price” option.
  • Japanese and Chinese travelers prioritize food experiences into their trips.
  • When making travel decisions, Chinese, Americans, and Brazilians are especially influenced by ads with appealing imagery and informative content.
  • Online Travel Agencies (OTAs) and Search Engines are the top choices for planning travel followed by Travel Review Sites. Chinese Travelers tend to prefer social and blog sites when making their travel plans.

According to the study, some key conclusions and insights for marketing include the following:

  • Recognize that all travelers  enjoy advertising that connects with them.  Think the Subaru dog TV spots.
  • Many travelers want a totally unique and individualized vacation.  Advertising should be geared to highlight this aspect of locations.
  • Travel consumers want to visit multiple spots when on vacation.  Offer them choices in experiences which are highlighted in ads.
  • Travelers still want a deal.  Always include several options that include great savings.
  • Develop programs and experiences with strategic partnerships for locations,  experiences and activities.

Source:  Expedia Group –


Gen Z Travelers – What Do They Want This Summer?

The summer is in full swing!  We’re heading to the beach, to the pool, to the theme park!  While most people assume that summer travelers are from one of the three main demographic groups – Millennials, Gen Xers and Baby Boomers – the marketing focus often lands on Millennials.  That’s because this group is out of college, starting to make good money, starting families and working from anywhere in the world due to technological advances.  They have more business travel opportunities than past generations thanks in large part to the internet and the ability to work from home or co-sharing spaces.

But there’s a new generational cohort about to burst on the scene with incredible potential spending power.  These Gen Z children and young adults were born between 1995 and 2012 and are now aged roughly 7 to 23 years of age.  They number about 67 million right now, just one million less than their elder brothers and sisters, the Millennial cohort.  To predict the future, these are the kids we should be watching right now!

To put these numbers in perspective, let’s look at the updated infographic we do every year:

At the moment, totals by cohort are as follows:

  • The Greatest Generation              27 Million
  • Baby Boomers                                73 Million
  • Gen X                                               61 Million
  • Millennials                                      68 Million
  • Gen Z                                                67 Million
  • Gen Alpha                                        20 Million
  • Total                                                 316 Million

The 67 million Gen Z generation has a powerful influence on the travel industry.  In fact, one estimate puts the total spending power/influence of this generation at $143 billion.

How can these children and young adults have such influence on the travel industry?  The reason they have such a strong grip is because their parents are principally Gen Xers.  Gen Xers are 39 to 53 years of age and they were one of the groups that was hit hardest by the current recession.  In addition, they were around when the internet became available to all and they saw how this force  is affecting every aspect of live, work and play space.  As such, they focused their parenting on two very important topics: money and technology.  Due to the recession, they taught their children the importance of budgeting and saving money, and they also equipped them with cutting-edge iphones, ipads, and other electronics.

A few years ago, we posted a blog about Gen Z.   At the time, this young generation had been labeled with terms such as “short attention span,” “easily bored,” and “not very focused.”  We  pointed out how this generation was actually the best of all generations at not only multi-tasking, but the ability to process a huge amount of information very quickly.  This is key in how Gen Z makes decisions today, and it is by curating this information that they affect summer family travel.

Gen X parents want their children to have influence on  family travel and as such, parents are letting Gen Zers make the bookings for summer vacation activities.  The Gen Z generation then uses all of the information at their disposal to find budget-friendly “experiences” that they can all enjoy together.  Not only does this take the pressure off parents, but it also guarantees that the family will have fun while on vacation together.   To sum it up, Gen Zer’s have learned to be “fiscally responsible” and they want to get as much for their money as they can get, which the internet allows them to do.

As background, here are some statistics from a research group studying the behavior of these young people,

What technologies Gen Z are using: 

  • 97.6% of Gen Zers own a smartphone across North America, Europe, Australia and New Zealand.
  • Nearly one quarter (22%) of Gen Zers use their smartphones 10+ hours per day.
  • 74% of Gen Zers prefer spending time online.
  • 31% of Gen Zers don’t feel comfortable without having their phone for “30 minutes or less.”
  • Of all the social media platforms available to them, the Gen Z generation prefers Snapchat and Instagram as their main social media sites.
  • 58% of Gen Zers don’t trust Facebook with their personal data.
  • 94% own a laptop.
  • 44.2% own a tablet.
  • 36.9% own a gaming console.
  • 30% own a desktop computer.
  • 66% of Gen Zers report using more than one digital device simultaneously.
  • 78% will entrust certain apps — though not all — to access their geo-locale.
  • 60% of Gen Zers won’t use a website or app that’s too slow to load.
  • 62% won’t use a website or app that’s hard to navigate.
  • 73% of Gen Zers use their smartphones to text and chat with one another.

When they are living their lives or on vacation, here is how they shop:

  • 41% of Gen Zers will read at least five online reviews before making a purchase.
  • Only 15% of Gen Zers see themselves as shopping exclusively online in the future; 77% see themselves shopping at stores with an omnichannel presence.
  • 70% of Gen Zers report exerting an influence on their families’ purchasing decisions.
  • 46% of Gen Zers follow more than 10 social media influencers.
  • 52% of Gen Zers are keeping track of at least three brands on social media.
  • Gen Zers prefer following brands on Instagram to Facebook by a 250-percent factor.
  • Gen Z prefers following brands on Instagram twice as much as Millennials.
  • 70% of Gen Z remain consistently loyal to the brand of smartphone they purchase.
  • 59% of Gen Zers show regular brand loyalty when it comes to electronics overall.
  • 65% of Gen Z shoppers want “real value” for their money — and are more inclined to purchase when offered coupons, incentives or a rewards program.
  • 56% stress the need for shopping experiences to “not be boring.”
  • 46% say the recommendations of friends and family members play a significant part in making their financial decisions.
  • When traveling, 58% of Gen Zers would rather stay at hotels than either AirBnb or vacation rentals.

In another survey by New Horizons that included 57,000 responses from 188 countries, we found some interesting infographics about where and why Gen Z’s spend their money.  The following infographic presents what they want to spend money on while on vacation:

In the next table, you can see how Gen Z’s in the 18 to 23 age group are internally/socially focused while traveling, slightly more so than the Millennial group.


This up and coming group will force us to innovate in the shopping and traveling experiences we offer.  What are you doing to connect with these young people?  Let’s start a dialogue and develop some new third places and vacation locales geared with Gen Z in mind.


It’s Summertime, Summertime, Sum-Sum-Summertime!

This is our first article in a series of three regarding the fun summer unfolding and the way we will spend it.  To make it more interesting, we’ve divided our expected spending and behavior patters by the major spending generation.  Baby Boomers are now 55 to 73 years of age.  Gen X is 40 to 54.  Millennials, our largest group are now 24 to 38.

With summer-time upon us, the travel season is hitting the peak.  Consumers are hitting the roads and taking to the skies in droves in order to do everything from working, to visiting family, and even just taking the time to do something as simple as creating a memorable and educational experience.  With schools out for the summer, many families are taking summertime as the usual opportunity to create multi-generational memories.  And with Atlanta being the busiest airport in the world, with more passengers coming through per day than any other airport (and Chicago a close second), Atlanta is perfectly situated not just for domestic travel, but for international travel as well.

So who is traveling and where are they going?  We gathered up some interesting statistics from current studies to give you a glimpse of who might be coming to your neck of the woods and what they might be doing when they get there.  According to a survey by AARP taken in 2018 of more than 1,700 American travelers, we get a pretty good idea of where the three main groups  are going and why in the table below.

Base:  International and Domestic Trips in 2018: 
Data based on Total Responses, up to 5 trips discussed 
n = base number of responses; pink indicates most popular selections. 
Source:  AARP “Travel Research: 2018 Travel Trends” Report 
and JB Research Company

Millennials are traveling more than other generational groups, and they are taking more celebration vacations.  They are enjoying multi-generational trips, which is important because family size and expenditures are necessarily higher.  Baby Boomers also are planning multi-generational trips.  Gen X takes the most weekend getaways.

The primary mode of transportation for domestic and international travel are: plane (66% domestic & 87% international), cruises (5% domestic & 35% international), train (6% domestic & 16% international), rental car (24% domestic & 14% international), personal car (60% domestic & 13% international), and buses (2% domestic & 10% international) (AARP).

According to the same  survey, here is a more detailed look at why the three main demographic groups choose to travel in 2018:

Base:  International and Domestic Trips in 2018: Data based on 
Total Responses, up to 5 trips discussed

n = base number of responses; pink indicates most popular 

Source:  AARP “Travel Research: 2018 Travel Trends” Report 
and JB Research Company

Other reasons the three groups choose to travel are visiting family and friends, rejuvenating, and getting away from a busy life:

Source:  AARP “Travel Research: 2018 Travel Trends” Report

Many in each of these groups will choose not to travel this summer, with cost being the main impediment, as shown below:

Source:  AARP “Travel Research: 2018 Travel Trends” Report

Source:  AARP “Travel Research: 2018 Travel Trends” Report

All three generations plan to spend spend significantly more in 2018 than 2017, with Millennials planning to spend the most on vacations.

As suppliers of retail, dining and entertainment experiences, we should take note of these trends and make this the best and most profitable  year ever!



Disney Legend Buzz Price Honored With New Book Penned By Luminaries

Buzz Stories at Thirty Thousand Feet now available on

As many of you know, I was fortunate to have a brilliant and funny mentor who could make me laugh until my cheeks were wet with tears and cry with his admonition, “this sentence is an abomination!”

My friend, David Price, son of the late Harrison “Buzz” Price asked about ten of Buzz’s closet inner circle to write a love song to Buzz.  The result is a new book about his father titled Buzz Stories at Thirty Thousand Feet.  My chapter is about coming of age in the era of white men 

Buzz was best known as the man who figured out, by mathematical formulas, where best to build both California’s Disneyland and later, Walt Disney World In Florida. He was honored for his achievement with Disney’s highest honors, a “Legend” award as well as a “Window on Main Street, U.S.A.”

Part memoir, part consulting primer, and part love story, Buzz Stories at Thirty Thousand Feet contains stories written by those with whom he shared his intelligence, humor, passion and wit. Each chapter stands on its own as a tribute to a well-rounded, intelligent, one-of-a-kind pioneer who saw numbers as a means to an end.

Generation Alpha

We ran out of alphabet to name generations, so the newest one coming up is starting over.  “Generation Alpha” are the children of Millennials and the grandchildren of Boomers.  They are classified as the babies, toddlers and kids born after 2010 and today number 20 million.

Marketers and futurists have put forth various predictions to one day sell them computers, soap and shoes, which I find a bit silly at this stage.  Some of the ideas are really out there, like transportation in driver-less flying cars, objectless communication (no more cell phones, you just  yell at the atmosphere), and floating on air to sleep (no beds).

In my world of sales and attendance projections for cities, developers, entertainment, retail and new attractions, we adopt pragmatic formulas based on data collection. But I also find it most useful to examine the traits of the generation that went before, and then assume they will do the opposite!

As background, here are the population numbers and some of the major traits of today’s generations:Each one is unique and very different from the one before it.

Think about it for a minute:  What did you do to be your own person?  If you are a Boomer, you burned your bra, put flowers in your hair, smoked dope, held rallies for free speech, marched on Selma Alabama, and dodged the draft.  You were a free spirit, no rules, except “ turn on, tune in, drop out”.  Our mores were a bit out there.  Sleeping with someone?  Sure, just do it ‘cause it feels good.  No Aids or other scary concerns.  “Never trust anyone over 30” was our cry, until we reached 30, and then it all changed.

We raised a generation that is very different than their parents, us Boomers.  They are thoughtful.  They save money.  Their kids are on schedules for feeding and sleeping.  monitored 24/7 with cameras, and cell phones.  These parents of young babies redefine “helicopter parenting”.   To be fair, some of this parenting is due to technological advances,  which were’t available to the Boomer generation.

Remember how we parented?  Feed them when their hungry, let them sleep when they’re tired and never-ever make them do something to which they strongly object.  Millennials  child-rearing is more like Boomer’s parents, the people we objected to and  whose rules we broke.

So what’s the take-away based on “prior generation rebellion” logic?  That this new generation may be rebels.  Granted they will be the most educated generation ever, they will be astute learners, they will write code on their digital devices by the time they are 7.  But will they smoke dope, drink beer, let their hair grow and wear flowy dresses and shirts, stage love-ins?  Probably not, because they will find their own unique way to live .

Some Future Behaviors We Hope Don’t Happen:

Technological advances may affect these kids’ personalities, communication skills and emotional health.

For sure, they will be able to operate digital devices before they can read and write.  They may prefer to watch other children playing with toys (on video screens) rather than actually playing with the toys .  Predictions put their screen time a 7 hours a day!

They will be able to shop, learn, and entertain themselves without talking to another human being.

They may be able to go to school online, which I can’t image a parent wanting!  They will be home 24 hours a day!  No, no, no, that can’t happen.  But it could.

Dating may come via an app and that could be the norm.  With sites like Bumble, Tinder, and Plenty of Fish, these kids will have a multitude of opportunities to meet, without ever looking a person in the eye.  Hopefully, they will eventually get out of their bedrooms and go on  a real date with a real person at a real movie or restaurant or skating rink.

To sell to them someday, marketers will need to understand their hearts and minds, their motivation, wants and needs.  We will need to watch them closely as they grow up.

Let us know what you think, what your experience is, where you see this new generation headed.  We love your feedback.

Boxed-Retail Frenzy

Last week we published a blog about retail disruptors and included two boxed-apparel e-commerce success stories.  On June 20, Amazon announced that Prime Wardrobe, a boxed apparel product, is now available to all domestic Prime customers.  Users can order three fashion items or more with no upfront fee, send it  back after a week or pay for those they like.  Of course, there is no shipping fee for returns.

We are seeing the lights go on at online retail.  Women need to try things on, feel the material, look in a mirror before they decide to buy, and that hasn’t changed with e-commerce. It is predicted that 25% of e-commerce  retailers will offer this service by next year.

One huge issue with this type of service is  returns, which may greatly increase operating expense.  According to a new survey from Brightpearl, more than 85% of customers expect free returns.

Another huge cost to online retailers is the Supreme Court ruling on June 22 that states and localities may require the collection of sales taxes on all internet purchases.  This cost will be passed on the consumer, making goods purchased on the internet more expensive.  Price for an online item  is often critical for a purchase decision.

As I often say about these kinds of innovations, we shall see…………… For me and many of the women I know, shopping in a store fulfills the need for immediacy and the need to use all our senses,  our touch and sight  and smell before buying.

Retail Disruptors / Retail Innovators

There is much chatter regarding technologies disrupting retail today. To me, a “disruptor” is a platform by which our lives are made easier and better. I always have my eye on the actual product and the in-store experience (which may or may not be enhanced by technological innovations.) The IoT will never replace the actual experience of being in a beautifully turned-out store, where we can touch, feel, smell and embrace our potential purchases. This Blog presents our view of the top retailers disrupting today. They include Stitch Fix, M.M. LaFleur, ModCloth, Rothy’s and Bespoke. All five of these have a big digital presence and four of them have a physical location.

Stitch Fix

Stitch Fix Head Quarters

Stitch Fix is an online fashion retailer whose concept came from the produce delivery business. Its founder understood that ordering a box of produce and paying only for what you like or decide to use could be applied to fashion. Stitch Fix is a personal styling, time saver, where complete outfits, including accessories are sent to the user on a fixed time schedule. The client can select what they want to keep and send the rest back.
The business model earns revenue from a $20 initial investment of a “styling fee”, which is applied to the purchase; and the mark-up on clothes, shoes and accessories purchased through the site. An average purchase includes five items estimated at a minimum total cost of $275, and the client receives a 25% discount for buying the entire outfit. The client is given three days to review the items and send them back in prepaid packing. The company did an IPO in 2017 and now has a current market cap value of $2.4 billion.

M.M. Lafleur

Since the sincerest form of flattery is imitation, a new retailer has entered the styling/box space, but with a new twist. M.M. Lafleur provides a stylist for business and “creative casual” with a more expensive offering than its doppelganger. Average price for a top is $110, and a dress about $250. The site is geared toward business women. The New York brand opened its first store in San Francisco on Grant Ave in 2018 and allows customers to select any item from their website for purchase individually. Other new stores are open or will be opening soon in Philadelphia, New York, Chicago and Washington, D.C.

Mod Cloth

ModCloth caters to Millennial women of all sizes and opened a store within their corporate building on Fillmore Street in San Francisco. The fashion retailer was sold to Jet in 2017 for about $50 million. Jet is a Walmart owned, Amazon-like online retailer with free shipping for purchases over $35. The fashion brand bills itself as a “quirky, trendy and vintage apparel site that caters to Millennials”.  A quick look at the offerings indicates a very affordable product, including a wedding dress for $120!


Rothy’s is an interesting retailer that offers shoes made of totally recycled materials and 3D-knit.  The 600 square foot store on Fillmore Street in San Francisco was opened to conduct consumer research before offering a specific product to ecommerce worldwide. The space is covered by their recycled materials, and the walls are entirely magnetic.


Bespoke is a co-working space which debuted at Westfield San Francisco Center on the ground floor.  Approximately 80 companies work in the space, including retail-tech startups, venture capitalists and innovating teams from large brands. According to an article, “When Bespoke launched in Westfield San Francisco Centre on May 28, 2015, it was a first-of-its-kind ecosystem combining three components. While the individual components of Bespoke were tried and true (spaces for co-working, demos and events), never before had all three of these components been built to act in harmony, and never before had this type of an environment existed inside a shopping center. While the partners responsible for the launch of Bespoke – Westfield San Francisco Centre, Westfield Labs, Westfield Corporation and partner Forest City – all had great expectations for the success of the space, which is still attracting attention two years later”.

Finally, a word about the long term. Westfield’s Destination 2028 includes a vision of a retail environment with “hanging sensory gardens, artificial intelligence infused walkways in an environment designed to cater to every need of new generation shoppers”. This concept focuses on the growing importance customers place on experience, leisure, wellness and community.

This is all good news for us consumers, don’t you think?  Let us know your views on retail and the future by leaving your comments here.