In 2018—the year of the woman—women have the power to do anything. That includes traveling if they wish, and they really do wish. According to the George Washington University School of Business, nearly two-thirds of today’s travelers are women. In fact, 80% of all travel decisions are made by women, regardless of who they’re traveling with, who’s paying for the trip, and where they’re traveling to. Many of those women traveled solo, with 73% of travel agents saying women are more likely to travel on their own than men.
Following are some women’s travel trends for 2018 that marketers should understand in order to capture this critical travel market.
Travel With a Purpose
Women who travel often seek some purpose from their trips. Some women travel to develop compassion and humility as they discover new ways of life around the world. Other women—86% —travel regardless of world events, and 73% say that travel has made them stronger people.
Tap into that purpose with your marketing. Reflection, adventure, culture, escape, learning—these are only a few reasons women will splurge on a big trip.
Don’t Stereotype the Adventure Traveler
Targeting women with luxury spa trips and men with adventure travel can severely backfire on marketers. According to statistics, 75% of cultural, adventure, and nature travelers are women.
These women aren’t model-slim or weight-lifter tough, either. The average adventure traveler wears a size 12. She’s also likely to be in her late 40s, or significantly older. That’s right; the adventure traveler is often a Baby Boomer woman who’s stopped counting calories and starting counting experiences.
Travel companies note that group adventure trips are surging among women. “Women tend to be a more cohesive and closer-knit group,” notes Deborah Kilcollins, brand manager of Big Five Tours and Expeditions. “They support each other and encourage each other to try something that they may have never done before. It’s a win-win for everyone.”
Female Affluent Travelers
In the world of women’s travel, there is a lot of money on the line. Over 67 million women will make travel decisions this year, with the potential to spend up to $19 trillion. These travelers are often successful women who’ve had busy professional lives and seek some recompense for their hard work.
Of the affluent travelers—those with incomes of over $250,000—women comprise 54%, and that number keeps growing. These travelers don’t just take a trip for the scenery; they go for the experiences of a lifetime, and are willing to pay for them.
Women’s Solo Travel On the Rise
All indicators point to a big future in women’s solo travel, particularly adventure packages. Women are likely to continue their focus on adventures that promote learning and self-discovery in 2018, from running marathons to white water rafting, from ziplining canyons to climbing mountains.
They’re financially independent enough to travel great distances to find culturally important locations in which to have these adventures, too.
If they’re not traveling alone, they’re traveling in small groups with other women—perhaps with a bachelorette party or mother-daughter bonding experiences.
The “girlfriend getaway” market brings in over $200 million each year. If women are not experiencing a girlfriend getaway trip this year, 39% are planning to within the next three years. Trips to Las Vegas are still on the map, but be prepared to offer Machu Picchu, Alaskan glaciers, or Grand Canyon horseback excursions, too.
In spite of all the research uncovering women’s travel trends, marketers still often get it wrong. How will you use the latest statistics and information to reach women travelers?
Read more: I Don’t Know. I Was Wrong.