January 15th - also known as Blue Monday, the most depressing day of the year - is upon us once again. What better way cheer ourselves up than by looking ahead and making plans to go away? Indeed, 32% of travellers have booked their main 2018 vacation already1. However, customer sentiment alone won’t drive increased like-for-like bookings. We had a look at customer appetites and found that online experience is of increasing importance to key customer segments who book online.

January’s always a busy time for the travel industry: the memories of the holiday season are fading, and some of us dream for summer sun while others hope to hit the slopes. The trips we book depend on a huge number of factors, from the practical (price, availability) to the personal (where we want to go, what we want to see or do).

There are some key distinctions that emerge among travel consumers, and a big one is the difference between under-35-year-olds and over-35s.

Our survey has given us an interesting picture of how these two groups differ.

1. Under-35s go on vacation more

  • 55% of under-35s go on one or two vacations, compared with 72% of over 35s.
  • 22% of under-35s go on four or more vacations, compared with only 14% of over 35s.

2. Popularity plays more of a part in their choices

  • 66% of under-35s are agree that they want to know which destinations are popular and trending, compared with only 40% of over-35s.

3. Different age groups book on different devices

Under 35s are more likely to use their mobile devices (rather than desktop, or even going in-store) when it comes to looking for travel inspiration (42% most frequently use their mobile device or smartphone, compared with only 24% of over-35s) and to make their bookings (36% most frequently use a mobile device or smartphone to book compared with just 20% for over-35s).

4. Personalization matters more to under-35s

  • 65% of under-35s say that their preferred travel booking websites make an effort to personalize the experience to their preferences and interests, compared with only 41% of over-35s.
  • 74% of under-35s sat they enjoy being presented with recommendations that fit their interests and preferences compared with only 51% of over-35s.
  • Correspondingly, 75% of under-35s are willing to share their preferences with booking sites to make the experience better, compared with 54% of over 35s.


These aren’t necessarily revolutionary findings on their own: common sense might tell us that younger travellers are keen to explore the world and have fewer ties and responsibilities keeping them at home, or that they are more comfortable with mobile devices.

Their familiarity with social media might also suggest a reason why they are more interested in—and accepting of—personalization.

The crucial thing for travel brands is to see how true this demographic shift between younger and older traveller segments holds for their customers, and to ensure that they are meeting the expectations of their younger travellers while still catering for the needs and preferences of over 35s.

To find out more about running a successful personalization program - and to take a look at some of the segments that Emirates have found useful to target - join Qubit, Forrester and Emirates for our upcoming webinar: Destination Personalization. 


Qubit Webinar: Destination Personalization with Forrest & Emirates. Watch now 


1Survey of 529 consumers in the US and 523 consumers in the UK, conducted online by Toluna Quick Surveys on behalf of Qubit on November 2 and October 31 2017


Sophie Coleman

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