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Marketing intelligence: Travel experiences sought by six segments of the Affluent market
12 September 2018 (Edited )
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In a new report from Ipsos Affluent Intelligence based on 2Q2018 survey data, researchers identify and analyze 6 segments of the "affluent experiential traveler" market:

Wellness seekers

  • Median net worth $983K
  • Median household income $204K
  • Median age: 38.3
  • 60% female, 40% male
  • Seeking wellness-focused experiences involving food, adventure, culture
  • Predominantly Millennials and GenX
  • More than 50% planning a vacation of this type are male.

Active challengers

  • Worth $961K
  • HHI $189K
  • Age 42.6
  • 60% male, 40% female
  • Seeking physical activity, adventure, learning
  • Predominantly Millennial and GenX
  • Interested in sports, cars
  • 35% of Millennial males are planning a trip of this type.


  • This is the largest segment of affluent travelers.
  • Worth $981K
  • HHI $180K
  • Age 45.1
  • 52% male, 48% female
  • Want to see, learn, collect new experiences
  • Predominantly GenX and Seniors
  • 41% of GenX with children are planning this kind of trip.


  • Worth $1.124M
  • HHI $187K
  • Age: 47.7
  • 57% male, 43% female
  • Want to connect with family while doing and learning new things
  • Value safety of cruise ship
  • Predominantly seniors
  • 33% are currently planning to take a cruise.


  • This is the smallest segment of affluent travelers.
  • Worth $1.363M
  • HHI $191K
  • Age: 48.4
  • 59% male, 41% female
  • Very predominantly seniors
  • Want to expand their minds, indulge their senses.
  • Highly educated, interested in the arts exploring new cultures
  • Men with incomes >$250K are most likely to be planning this type of trip.


  • Worth $1.047M
  • HHI $187K
  • Age 43.3
  • 51% female, 49% male
  • Predominantly Millennials
  • View relaxation "through the lens of food", use tastebuds to explore new cultures
  • Need personal attention
  • 15% of Millennial men are currently planning a trip of this kind.


Conclusions drawn by Ipsos analysis

  • Age alone doesn't tell you much about an affluent traveler.
  • But combination of age, sex and life-stage will.
  • Within groups, even within married couples, men and women often have different wants and needs.
  • GenX people with children behave differently from those without.

Recommendations for appealing to:


  • Showcase food - often vacation focal point.
  • Speak to women's pioneering spirit.
  • Pamper, even out in the woods, etc.
  • Be able to accommodate groups including friends.
  • Facilitate social sharing.
  • Promote sensory pleasures, physical activity.
  • Good target for home sharing


  • Soft-pedal pampering, food, technology.
  • GenX with children are good target for home sharing.
  • GenX women are least adventurous when it comes to travel - just want to get away from it all and prefer unstructured itineraries. Promote relaxation, flexibility.
  • But to sell to GenX men, stress exotic and unique features.

Boomers and Seniors

  • 67% want to find "hidden gems" - position as such if credible.
  • Stress familiarity and comfort over novelty and uniqueness, food and technology.
  • Women over 50 are the demographic least likely to want to pay extra for pampering - instead they want to be transformed by their vacations.
  • Good targets for road trips, camping, cruising - trips without too much physical exertion.
  • Promote historical attributes.



One finding that jumps out for me is the fact that significant numbers of men in the WellnessSeeker, Active Challenger, Historian and Gourmand demographics were currently planning a trip at the time the survey was taken. Across age groups, women have traditionally been the researchers, shoppers and buyers of leisure travel, for themselves and for their families. But the Ipsos findings suggest that for some types of vacation experiences, marketing needs to have significant appeal to men, while still appealing to women. That's going to require some re-thinking on the part of destinations and suppliers.

The finding that GenX with children is an excellent target demographic for home-sharing confirms common sense - it's expensive to take a family on vacation - but the other attributes specific to GenX that Ipsos has identified should enable marketers to design offerings that are especially attractive to this group.

It's not surprising that Active Challenger men are interested in sports and cars - but this finding provides some solid justification for spending on advertising relevant travel products on websites with these types of content.

Historians are a small segment, but have the highest new worth and the trip-buying demographic is well-defined: highly educated, culturally savvy Senior men with incomes >$250K who are interested in culture and the arts. If your destination is strong on those attributes, this segment is a natural target. And media planning should be relatively straightforward.

If food is a strong point for you, then women - and Millennials of both sexes - of the Wellness Seeker and Gourmand demographics look like prime targets that can be reached through the same well-researched channels, particularly digital mobile.

Thanks to Ipsos for this latest update on the travel preferences of affluents.

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