Spring 2009 Survey Reveals Vacation Home Trends for Affluent Americans

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The luxury travel sector is bouncing back from the current economic struggle. Companies are developing new marketing campaigns and presenting refreshing ideas for the traditional vacation home. Trends are emerging as these fresh takes on the vacation home market take hold. From destination clubs to timeshares to private residence clubs, the American Affluence Research Center uncovers what the consumers are thinking for 2009.

This luxury travel report is part of an ongoing series of twice-yearly research studies of the most affluent 10% of U.S. households. The research covers areas like consumer familiarity with concepts and brands, brand awareness, current ownership and distance to vacation residence. With attention to age ranges, income levels and net worth, the survey reveals interesting statistics for fractional vacation ownership companies to consider.

Despite their growing numbers, marketing expenditures and media exposure, private residence clubs and destination clubs remain unknown to 6 out of 10 surveyed. These numbers are relatively unchanged when compared to a similar report in 2007. Only 37% surveyed indicated familiarity with the private residence club concept. From these numbers, 72% did not name a brand or company with which they are familiar.

Those that could name a brand mentioned hotel-affiliated brands like the Ritz-Carlton. Others named companies that do not offer residence clubs, thus indicating a sense of confusion among consumers. Another 12% of those familiar with the private residence club concept did not check any of the listed brands as ones they had heard of. Those checking one or more brands averaged around 3 brands they could recognized. Once again, the hotel-affiliated brands were among the most familiar.

Destination clubs did not fare any better, with only 3 out of 10 reporting familiarity with the concept. Of these individuals, 82% did not name a familiar brand. Similar to the case with residence clubs, many brands and companies were identified incorrectly, attesting to the fact that these concepts are easily confused and misunderstood. Exclusive Resorts was the most frequently and correctly named brand, however fewer than one in five could name any brand. More than half of the people familiar with destination clubs checked at least one of the listed brands as one they had heard of.

Certain numbers reported will help marketers plan their target demographic. Higher income and net-worth groups collectively reported the highest familiarity with both residence club and destination club concepts. 45% of both the $200K+ income and $1.5M+ net worth segments report familiarity with the private residence club concept. In these same two segments, familiarity is about 40% for the destination club concept.

Over 28% of the sample reported full ownership of a second vacation home. 56% of the homes are reportedly used throughout the year and 44% are used mostly on a seasonal basis. These numbers may prove to be significant in upcoming marketing campaigns from destination clubs and residence clubs who capitalize on the idea of using a vacation home sporadically throughout the year.

Source: FractionalReport.com. Photo courtesy of Ultimate Escapes.



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