Here’s some good news for the U.S. travel industry and travel affiliates…while Baby Boomers and Gen Xers may be stashing away their cash as a safeguard against the uncertain economy, it appears that the ‘Millennials’ are on a travel buying spree.  According to a just-released survey from STA Travel, U.S. travelers between the ages of 18 and 26 will be traveling like gangbusters for the rest of this year.

STA Travel, the global travel firm that specializes in serving the travel needs of students, teachers and young professionals, announced that not only are American Millennials paying for their own travel, most are also planning multiple trips for the remainder of 2009.  In fact, the STA survey results reflect that 92% of participants are planning to travel in 2009, with 37% planning two trips and a whopping 34% planning at least three trips before the end of the year!

In the Company’s press release, James Bell, STA’s Commercial VP said: “This is a golden age when it comes to travel for millennials….These results reflect the low prices available for travel right now.  Young people are planning multiple trips, have the ability to pay for their own trips and are planning to expand their horizons by traveling overseas.”

To the point Bell made about how students are paying for their wanderlust, most young travelers don’t expect their family to bankroll them.  Here’s how the data broke-down when survey participants were asked how their travels would be paid:

  • 68% of respondents noted they’d be paying for their trip with personal cash and savings
  • 10% said their family was paying
  • 10% said travel would be paid by gifts from family and friends
  • 8% admitted that they are taking out loans to cover the expenses associated with their trips

Because prices on international airfare are at bargain basement prices, some 42% of survey respondents said they have plans to travel internationally for either leisure, work or study abroad programs in 2009.  London, England, and Paris, France, were among the most popular international destinations for many U.S. based young travelers.  Of those young Americans planning to travel, but not internationally, 11% favored a road trip with a further 22% planning a domestic getaway for leisure travel.

These are impressive numbers indeed, and in contrast to the downward trends we’ve seen countless other recent surveys project, hopefully STA’s survey is a glimpse of the proverbial ‘light at the end of the tunnel’, signaling perhaps the beginning of the end of the dismal trading environment that has engulfed the U.S. travel industry these last 16 months. The folks here at TravelDividends certainly have our fingers crossed that this is the case…

With more than 30 years of history, STA Travel is the global youth travel leader, and today offers a unique range of products with exclusive discounts on airfare, accommodations, tours, rail passes and more. They operate in 90 countries across the globe, with more than 400 retail locations (with 18 regional branches across the U.S.), and handle the travel needs of more 6 million travelers each year.

In addition to its rich history, STA Travel also offers a very generous travel affiliate program. The youth travel specialist pays 2.2% commission on flights, 10% on travel insurance, 10% on discount cards, 3% on rail passes, 8% on Global Cell Phones, and 5% commission on hotels…and they pay bonus commissions to top-performing travel affiliates to boot.  For more information about STA Travel’s travel affiliate program, visit Commission Junction, their affiliate network of choice.

When one thinks of travel niches, student/youth travel certainly is one that comes quickly to mind, and indeed, it truly is representative of a super-niche.  TravelDividends is curious as to how many of our readers actively market to this travel segment, and what those readers’ experience have been with Millennial travelers thus far this year.

If you are a travel affiliate marketer focused on the youth travel market, are you seeing a similar boom in travel demand from Millennials as that projected by STA Travel?  If so, where are your customers traveling to?  What products or services are they asking for?  How do you see this super-niche performing next year?

We’re always interested in your opinion, so please be ‘in touch’…you can share your thoughts and ideas via email or share your thoughts with our other readers by posting a comment  We look forward to hearing from you…Thanks!

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