For travellers across most age groups, cost remains the most important factor for Americans

Although media coverage likes to highlight distinctions among American Millennials, Generation X and Baby Boomers, members of those age groups do have one thing in common – cost of travel is an important consideration. Other common expectations among American travellers spanning generations is free WiFi and breakfast.

According to research from the Priceline Generation Travel Index, released earlier this year, the most important consideration for travel of any age group is cost. Roughly 75% of Millennials said cost is their top priority when planning a vacation, rising to 80% among Generation X and up to 86% for Baby Boomers.

About 67% of Generation Z travellers believe that price is paramount; however “…they are the least cost sensitive generation on the whole, and also the likeliest to characterise themselves as ‘big spenders’ on vacation”, Priceline concluded.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, 48% of Generation Z respondents to the Priceline Index plan their travel within one month of departure, and 19% actually book travel one to three weeks prior.

Priceline determined that more than eight in ten Americans, 82%, expect free WiFi when they travel, particularly at hotels, and connectivity opts the list of hotel amenities that American travellers would be least willing to pay for. The company’s research showed that four in ten Gen Z and Millennial respondents cited WiFi as their least preferred travel fee, versus 30% of Baby Boomers.

Most Americans, 64%, also expect a free breakfast when they’re staying at a hotel. Seven in ten Boomers, 70%, and 69% of Gen Xers expect complimentary breakfast, 61% of both Gen Z and Millennials also want a free breakfast.

It is also not a shock that Priceline determined that given an extra USD100 to spend on vacation, Gen Z would use it on an experience, versus a nice hotel or more leg room on a flight. Only 7% of Americans would spend that money upgrading their hotel, and only 5% would spend it on airfare. Nearly one in five (18%) of all respondents indicated they would spend it on food.

But as perhaps as Boomers and Millennials can attest, “as travellers age, the desire for relaxation grows in turn”, Priceline concluded. Approximately 41% of Millennials and 68% of Boomers seek relaxation on vacation.

The research also highlighted the importance of “sustainability” for American travellers, which was cited as the most important factor when choosing an airline or hotel. It was chosen first by more than half (52 %) of the respondents in the study. The middle generations – Millennials (57%) and Generation X (55%) were the two likeliest to consider sustainability the top consideration, though that opinion was also shared by nearly half of Gen Z (48%) and Baby Boomer (46%) respondents.

More than half (51%) of all respondents also reported no loyalty to any one airline or hotel brand, while one in five (22%) said they were loyal to a “small number” of brands. Baby Boomers, in fact, were the least brand-loyal across all generations, with 59% reporting no allegiance whatsoever.

The Priceline Generation Travel Index was commissioned by Priceline and executed by international research firm Savanta, which surveyed 1,503 Americans between the ages of 17 and 65 years old who reported traveling for vacation at least once in the last year.