Evolving Female Demographics and the Travel Industry

In our Global Travel Trends report last year we identified the emerging demographic of PANKS: professional aunts, no kids. Melanie Notkin, founder of Savvy Auntie, a US-based community for PANKs, and author of Otherhood, partnered with DeVries Global to conduct a study comparing women without children (regardless of relationship status) with those that have children. The study revealed some interesting findings surrounding the travel habits of non-moms that will help the industry reach this growing demographic.

Travel is important to non-moms

DeVries Global worked with a survey company to question 1,000 moms and 1,000 non-moms about their habits to better understand the growing number of childless women. The average age of the mothers was 37 compared to 31 for the non-moms.

Travel is a passion for the non-moms and, according to the survey, they spend 16 days traveling abroad a year compared to 10 days for moms. They also spend more time traveling domestically with their partners, eight days for non-moms compared to three days with moms. Overall, non-moms spend about US$471 per person on travel compared with US$292 per person for moms.

Despite, the high percentage rate of travel, though, the study found that the vast majority of non-moms do not belong to travel loyalty programmes:

  • 72% do not belong to a frequent flyer club (vs 76% moms)
  • 75% do not belong to a hotel loyalty programme (vs 70% moms)
  • 89% do not belong to a car rental loyalty programme (vs 85% moms)
  • 92% do not belong to a cruise loyalty programme (vs 90% moms)

Changing demographics means changing marketing strategies

As of June 2012, in the US, 41.3% of women aged 15-50 were childless. This is part of a broader demographic shift to singlehood in the US. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 50.2% of Americans were single in August 2014 (up from 37% in 1976).

As singles dominate demographics, travel group types are no longer standard: women travel solo, friends travel in groups, people mix business and leisure travel, and families are no longer traditionally defined. It is important for the travel industry to monitor these shifts and tailor their marketing appropriately, especially in the case of women, who are continually redefining their roles and relationships. It is no longer possible to market based on generic age groups, marital status and presence of children. Instead a strong understanding of the different psychographics is necessary to connect with travellers.