Travel Leaders' 2012 Consumer Survey Reveals: American Travelers' "Tipping Point" on Cost of Airfare

Jun 05, 2012, 10:36 ET from Travel Leaders Group

PLYMOUTH, Minn., June 5, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- As airlines begin to charge travelers and families extra if they would like to sit together on a flight, Travel Leaders Group's latest survey reveals Americans' "tipping point" on the cost of domestic and international airline tickets. For 81.5% of consumers polled nationwide, their tipping point for a domestic airline ticket is somewhere between $200 and $500; and for 42.9% of those polled, their tipping point for an international ticket is between $1,000 and $1,500 dollars. Also, 83.1% indicate that they will spend the same or more on leisure trips in 2012 as compared to last year.  This survey was conducted by Travel Leaders Group from April 4 to May 16, 2012, and includes responses from 855 consumers throughout the U.S.

"The fact that nearly 94% of consumers polled nationwide indicate they will be taking at least one leisure trip this year – up from 89% last year – is very positive news for the American economy.  We also find their responses related to the amount they expect to spend encouraging," stated Travel Leaders Group CEO Barry Liben. "Consumers taking our survey were very willing to share their 'tipping point' on airfare, which is a reminder that everyone in the travel industry needs to clearly define the value in each and every aspect of a traveler's itinerary.  Consumers will readily pay if their needs are exceeded and they see great value in what they are purchasing. However, most will not indiscriminately spend. At Travel Leaders Group, we believe those travelers working with a travel professional – one who offers expert advice,  consultation, and many times exclusive amenities – more easily see the value in their travel purchases."

Key Statistics and Findings

Domestic and International Airfare Tipping Points:

  • When asked "the maximum you're willing to pay to fly to your domestic destination" the top two individual responses were: "Up to $400"per ticket (33.1%) and "Up to $500" (24.2%).  When looking at combined responses, 81.5% of consumers polled nationwide say their domestic airfare tipping point is between $200 and $500, while 18.5% of those polled indicate their tipping point is up to $600 or more.
  • When asked "What could potentially change that?" with regard to domestic airfare, the top responses were: Funeral (65.5%), Medical needs (44.6%), and Wedding (33.2%).
  • When asked "the maximum you're willing to pay to fly to your international destination" the top two individual responses were: "Up to $1,000" (16.3%) and "Up to $1,200" (10.4%).  When looking at aggregated responses, 42.9% would pay between $1,000 and 1,500, while 8% of those polled indicate that they would pay up to $2,000 or more for an international airline ticket.

Leisure Travel in 2012:

  • An overwhelming majority (93.6%) of those polled say they will take at least one leisure trip in 2012.  In fact, of that group, over 71% have already taken one leisure trip this year and nearly 28% have taken two or more trips so far this year.
  • When asked "Is the total number of leisure trips you anticipate taking in 2012 more, the same or less than last year?" over 92% of those polled indicate they will take the same or more trips this year as in 2011.  Only 8% indicate they will take fewer trips.
  • When asked how much they will spend on leisure travel this year, 83.1% of those polled say they will spend the same or more on leisure travel in 2012 than they did last year.  Only 17% indicate they will spend less on leisure travel this year.

Traveling Away from Home:  Travel Leaders Group asked, "For your leisure trip(s) did you or will you ..." (Participants could choose all that apply, so total will not equal 100%.)



Travel within the U.S. and farther than a bordering state



Travel internationally (Canada, Mexico and/or Caribbean)



Travel within your home state



Travel internationally (other than Canada, Mexico and Caribbean)



Travel to a bordering state



Land or Cruise: When asked whether participants' leisure trips were land-based, cruise-only or a combination of both, the results indicate:



Land-based, only.



Cruise, only.



Both land-based and cruise vacations.




This is the fourth consecutive year this consumer travel survey has been conducted. American consumers were engaged predominantly through social media channels such as Facebook and Twitter, as well as through direct contact with travel clients for the following Travel Leaders Group companies: Nexion, Results! Travel, Travel Leaders, Tzell Travel Group and

Travel Leaders Group is one of North America's largest travel companies – encompassing nearly one-third of all travel agents – and generates gross travel sales of nearly $17 billion. Travel Leaders Group is a leader in both the retail travel agency space and corporate travel, and it consistently ranks as one of the top travel companies nationwide. Most recently, Travel Leaders Group was again named among the Top 10 on the Travel Weekly Power List, #1 on the Business Travel News Business 2011 Travel Survey and the Travel Leaders flagship brand was named #1 on Entrepreneur's latest Franchise 500 list of full-service travel agency franchise businesses.



Steve Loucks

Kathy Gerhardt



SOURCE Travel Leaders Group