Trends In Consumer Preferences
For Sustainable Travel & Tourism
Since 2003
“Resolving The Conflict Between
Consumerism & Sustainable Development”
ESRC Festival Of Social Science
@ Centre for Business and Society
Manchester Metropolitan University Business School
• TASK: to resolve the disparity between consumerism
and sustainability
• One way we can do this is improve the marketing of
sustainable tourism
• We will examine a destination, South Africa, and two
demographic cohorts, Baby Boomers and Millennials
• The purpose being so that we can identify what
trending consumer preferences there are that:
a) we can direct sustainable tourism businesses along in
order to maximise market exploitation, and
b) to identify negative trending consumer preferences so
that we can adopt mitigating market strategies against
these particular effects
South Africa
History of involvement with Responsible Tourism
1996 White Paper The Development And Promotion
Of Tourism In South Africa identified Responsible
Tourism as the guiding principle for development of
tourism in South Africa
2002 Cape Town Declaration On Responsible Tourism
In 2003 South Africa published its National
Responsible Tourism Guidelines
A national policy of Responsible Tourism was
launched in 2009
Foreign & Tourists Arrivals To South
Africa Versus Global International
Tourist Arrivals, 2003-2013
Source: South African, Tourism Strategic Research Unit; UNWTO Tourism Highlights 2014 Edition
Notes: n/a = not applicable; prior to 2009 the measurement of arrivals was of All Foreign Arrivals, after 2009 the measurement
was changed to Tourist Arrivals
Tourism From Lesotho
• A key characteristic of South Africa inbound market - the majority
of arrivals originate from neighboring countries
• In 2013 arrivals from Lesotho decreased by -9.1% due to domestic
economic problems and two successive crop failures
• Most Africa Land arrivals are Visiting Friends & Relatives (VFR)
while another significant proportion come across the border on
Shopping For Business i.e. trade in small household items,
foodstuffs, clothing, etc
• In 2013 11.4% of Africa Land arrivals crossed the border on
Shopping For Business
• In 2012 24.6% of all Lesotho’s arrivals crossed into South Africa for
Business Shopping, by 2013 this had fallen to 12.2%
• VFR and Shopping For Business have limited or lesser direct contact
with sustainable tourism products and services
“In 2013 growth in arrivals was
strong in all air markets”
• 45.9% of arrivals from Europe came on holiday
• 33.8% of arrivals from Asia & Australasia on holiday
• 43.9% of arrivals from the Americas came on holiday
Total Foreign Direct Spend (TFDS),
South Africa, Vs Global Tourism Receipts,
Y-on-Y Growth, 2013-2010
Source: South Africa Tourism / UNWTO
“In all years except 2011 – the year after South
Africa’s World Cup and therefore a pretty tough act
to follow, air market Y-on-Y growths have exceeded
global rates”
Total Foreign Direct Spend By Tourists,
All Regions, 2011-2013
Source: South African Tourism
• In markets where leisure forms a majority proportion of arrivals, TFDS contributions were strong over 2011-2013
• However it wasn’t all good news
• TFDS revenue from Europe grew from 2012 to 2013, but Average Spend Per Tourist declined by -2.1%
• TFDS also grew from the Americas, however Average Spend Per Tourist decreased by -0.9%
• TFDS also grew from Asia-Australasia, this market though saw a R500 increase in Average Spend Per Tourist
• Arrivals from the two main traditional source markets are still resorting to cost-saving strategies on holiday
Baby Boomers
• Born between 1946 to 1964 (today aged 50 – 68)
• British Baby Boomers drive spending on UK’s high streets
• Going forward will continue to be important for marketers and
brands to court
• 18.3 million over-55s in the UK – by 2018 this number will
increase to over 20 million
• The UK population is ageing rapidly, over-55s expected to grow
by more than 8% over the next five years
• This is a large growing market with healthy household finances,
high home ownership, savings and investments
• 54% are ABC1 social grade; 67% fall into the Wealthy Achievers,
Urban Prosperity and Comfortably Off ACORN group
ACORN is UK specific demographic segmentation tool, it segments the UK
population into 6 main Categories and then within these categories there are a
number of sub-categories, these are referred to as Groups (of which there are
18) and Types (of which there are 62)
A survey of Over-55s were asked:
“Which of the following, if any, are you planning to do in
the next 12 months?”
• 45% of over-55s were planning to travel or take a holiday in
the next 12 months
• Up from 2012 when 40% were planning to travel or take a
• Clearly a sign of growing spending confidence.
• Holiday plans were especially strong amongst:
• 55-64 year-olds (52%)
• Over-55s ABs (62%)
• Over-55s +£50,000 (74%)
• Proportions of people who went on any kind of
holiday rises with household income
• This is particularly true of longer breaks
• 79% of adults whose household incomes are in
excess of £50,000 have gone on a longer holidays
compared with 62% on average.
• Baby Boomers, with a high proportion of retirees,
are time-rich
• More importantly, can book holidays because
they have household disposable income
• The aspiration rate amongst over-55s to go on
holiday is especially correlated to household
disposable income and is a more important factor
than time available.
Financial Caution
• Not all Baby Boomer trends are positive
• Disposable incomes among many over-55s are
• Many have adopted cautious monetary outlook
• 41% of 55-64 yr olds said they were budgeting
more this year (2013)
• The highest proportion of all age groups
• The ability to travel is strongly linked with
disposable income
• Key driving factors:
– Low economic confidence
– Boomerang children
Low Price, High Quality
• Consequence: sustainable tourism products and
services are generally high quality high price
• An Over-55s survey was asked: “Thinking about
shopping for yourself and your family, which of
the following are most important to you?”
– low prices were important to 48%
– And 48% did not want to compromise on quality of
products they bought
Wealthy Baby Boomers
• Baby Boomer market is highly differentiated
• Many Baby Boomers belong to higher socio-economic groupings
e.g. High Net Worth Individuals (HNWIs)
• Amongst UK Ultra-affluent and HNWIs taking holidays is common
• All went on at least one holiday in the year to June 2012
• 46% went on five or more holidays
• UK affluents are prepared to pay premium prices for holidays
• 34% spent more than £8000 on holidays in the previous year
• 67% believed that comfort and service were worth paying extra
for when travelling
• Higher holiday spending is especially high among women UK
affluents and those aged 51-60
• 38% having spent these higher amounts
• UK affluents display strong tendencies towards family activities
• Target market for high end family travel
Over-55s Attitudinal Differentiation
Family Orientated
• 4.5 million UK adults aged
• 59% females, 41% males
• Highest proportion of
retirees and property
• Nearly two thirds are ABC1s
• 28% households incomes in
excess of £25,000
• 71% planned to go
• 92% preferred shops they
know and 82% brands they
• They are not opposed to
paying more for higher
• 24% (versus an average of
9%) find online shopping
Prosperous Adventurers
Lean Means
• 6.3 million UK over-55s
• 7.3 million UK adults aged 55+
• 65% married or cohabiting
• Four in ten aged 55-64
• 48% are 55-64
• 57% in the C2DE socio-economic
• 62% are ABC1
• 67% own their houses
• 64% planning travel in the coming
• The disparity between low price
demands and high quality is at its
• 64% willing to pay more for higher
• Only 14% will wait for products to go
on sale
• 52% use the Internet daily
• 56% are women, 44% are men
• 37% are separated, divorced or
• 24% of Moderate Means and 21%
of Hard Pressed ACORN groups
• 49% planning to travel or go on a
holiday versus the average of 60%
• Low price point is a clear
purchasing priority
• 53% wait for products to go on sale
before buying
• Only 3% didn’t mind paying more
for higher quality products versus
the average of 42%
The Millennials a.k.a. Generation Y
“A large demographic approaching their peak spending and purchasing years”
“Millennial consumer influence as well as spending
power will dramatically increase”
• Born early 1980s – early 2000s
• In the USA Millennials already outnumber Baby
Boomers by 79 to 76 million
• By 2030 there will be 22 million more US Millennials
than Baby Boomers
• In the UK more than a quarter of the population are
• Many are leaders in the technology and media
early 1980s - early 2000s
Social Diversity - ethnically mixed, open-minded concerning family structure, many from
e.g. mixed-race families, single parent families, alternative culture families, same-sex
marriages, etc.
Digital Natives – lived their lives in the digitally connected era, media and tech savvy from
a very young age.
Global Citizens - care about the environment, bettering lives of people, and improving
society. Many Millennials are well travelled, cosmopolitan.
Female Empowerment – live in much more gender equal environment, women
Millennials expect the same treatment and opportunities as their male counterparts.
Gregarious By Nature – family orientated, many are still dependents, Boomerang
Millennials, Millennials with their own young families. Also Millennials value their
friendships, online and in the real world.
Participatory And Active – Millennials like to be involved and are hands-on when
shopping, look for entertaining websites and appreciate channels that allow
personalisation. An experiential generation, many are sporty and have active hobbies e.g.
shopping, surfing.
Educated – better educated, not dependent on an authority figure e.g. parent, manager or
teacher, to gain access to information.
Millennial Travel Motivators
NB: A psychographic index is a scaled measure of personal characteristics (e.g.
personality traits, lifestyle preferences, interests, values, beliefs, attitudes, opinions) as
opposed to physical traits (e.g. age, gender, height).
Millennial Differentiation
“One of the problems when making analyses of nondifferentiated markets is that any identification of trends
tends to be broad”
“Whilst the Baby Boomer market is a highly differentiated
one, only recently has a degree of Millennial market
differentiation started to appear”
The Boomerang Generation
“There is a clear differentiation based on spending power … the youngest
Millennials are still dependents living at home while older Millennials with
young families and who are beginning to scale the career ladder, are
beginning to enter their peak spending years.”
• The emergence of the Nouveau Poor is a consumer macro-trend
• Continuing low economic confidence is driving ‘downward mobility’
among middle-class consumers, who have reacted by recalibrating
lifestyle expectations for a lower-class reality
• Amongst the Nouveau Poor Boomerang Millennials are a sizeable
• They are a target for affordable, pared-down, quality products and
services that deliver the comfort and familiarity they’ve been
accustomed to
• Key compatible sustainable tourism areas are: food, the backpackerflashpacker circuit, city tourism, and new accommodation models
Marriott Hotels
Millennial Tribes Typology
• Baby Boomer segmentation is a reflection of
personal finances or status in society
• Millennial differentiation is usually based on
differing attitudes
• One such method is to divide Millennials up into
tribal identities
• In 2013 Marriott Hotels launched its Travel
Brilliantly campaign
• As part of the campaign they surveyed lifestyle
habits of UK 18-35 yr olds and identified five
Millennial Tribes
“Early adopters of hi-tech gadgetry and digital inventions, fit,
sociable, fashionable males, they are well travelled and often use
their tech prowess to create start-ups”
• 58% are interested in fashion
• 23% love shopping
• 57% work out at the gym or go running regularly
Marriott also defined a tribe leader for each of the tribes:
Jason Bradbury, a TV presenter and author recently named Gadget Personality of the Year by
T3 Magazine. Jason has flown to the four corners of the globe to research the science and
technology of the future
“Fashion forward, savvy, self-employed, likely to have had a career change after
having kids to fit around their lifestyle. They like to blog and engage via social media,
many have their own websites. They tend to work alone and have a passion for
• 70% place huge import on personal image, they shop in vintage
shops, charity shops and eBay
• Interested in the environment, 69% regularly recycle
• Avid mini breakers taking up to 10 UK trips a year
Tribe Leader: Katie Piper, author, speaker, TV presenter, columnist, and charity
campaigner. She rebuilt her life after surviving a brutal acid attack and set up
her own charity,
“fitness super-fans who thrive on the challenge of physical competitions.
Keen sharers on social media,
Competitive Challengers travel in groups and are always on the look out for adventure,
they are driven people who take trips all over the world to take part in competitions”
• Prefer adventure holidays, with a third opting for backpacking
• 27% aren’t interested in technology apart from listening to music
• 1 in 4 describe themselves as very energetic
TRIBE LEADER: Danny Care, rugby union, Harlequins and England. His passion, gritty
determination and talent, has seen him rise to be one of the best players his age
“Lovers of the Selfie and social apps,
these well-groomed, young, carefree spirits prefer to party at home
or away, rather than pursue anything cultural or academic”
• 60% are always up for a good party
• They have short attention spans and high self-esteem
• Almost 40% said they rate themselves as attractive and well
TRIBE LEADER: Victoria InTheFrow, is a Celebrity Blogger, fashion doctorate,
graduate and lecturer
“In the city by day, cookery by night, found at food markets at
the weekend.
They have a gift for numbers but a passion for all things foodie.
A growing number ditched their lucrative jobs to start up food
related businesses”
• 73% say they dedicate large amounts of spare cash towards food
• 53% use social media to read about food
TRIBE LEADER: Luiz Hara is a former investment banker turned chef and
travel writer. Host of the #Nikkei Supper Club. Born in Brazil to Japanese
and Italian parents and educated in the UK
Marriott’s ‘Travel Brilliantly’
Concept Guestroom
• An example of how all these tends can be fed into
• Marriott incorporated their differentiation system plus a
number of themes mentioned earlier
• e.g. experiential participation, active involvement, tribal
digital connectivity, etc
• Built a concept hotel guest room of the future
• Tribe Leaders each designed a room
• Consumers were asked to vote on the best features
designed by the Tribe Leaders
• The winning best features were built into Marriott’s
concept guest room

Trends in consumer preferences for sustainable travel & tourism