Report Overview

Our U.S. Repeat Visitation Survey 2018 provides valuable insight into the habits, motivations, preferences, and more of travelers who have returned to vacation destinations they’ve previously visited in the last five years. For travel brands, and especially destinations, creating loyal customers can be a challenge. By surveying travelers who have returned to destinations in recent years alongside those who have not, we are able to shed some light on how they differ behaviorally and attitudinally.

In this report, we discuss and analyze the findings of the survey, with the help of insights from expert interviews. We present profiles of repeat and non-repeat travelers. We then look deeper at motivations for repeat visitation, activities during repeat visitation, and the impact of repeat visitation on travelers’ attitude about a destination. To provide further insight into this group, we divide it according to the respondents’ age groups and income brackets. Then, we provide a side-by-side comparison of repeat and non-repeat travelers’ travel attitudes and behaviors. Finally, we examine how the number of destinations repeat travelers have returned to in the last five years provides a more nuanced view of the members of this group. Together, the results of our survey demonstrate that repeat tourists have unique attitudes and values that set them apart. Various travel marketers need to use different marketing messages for repeat tourists versus first-time tourists.

Survey Methodology:

Skift Research’s U.S. Repeat Visitation Survey 2018 collected responses from 1,308 respondents who live in the U.S. To qualify for the survey, respondents needed to have taken at least one leisure trip in the past 12 months that included at least two-nights’ stay at least 200 miles from home. Respondents were also asked whether they had traveled to the same vacation destination more than one time in the last five years. In this context, we defined “vacation destination” as the same city if it is in the U.S., or the same country if it is outside the U.S. We asked respondents to only consider trips that were mainly leisure vacations, and not trips for other reasons such as business trips or trips to visit family members. We divided respondents into two groups based on the answer to this question. Those who have returned to a vacation destination in the last five years were placed in the “repeat travelers” group (N=951), and those who have not were placed in the smaller control group we call “non-repeat travelers” (N=357). Breaking respondents into these two groups allowed us to compare the behaviors, habits, and preferences of each. The respondent groups also met quotas of gender, age, and combined household income based on the sample of U.S. travelers represented in the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ 2016 Consumer Expenditure Survey. The survey was fielded by a trusted third-party consumer panel provider.

What You'll Learn From This Report

  • An overview of repeat travelers and non-repeat travelers from a demographic perspective
  • Key factors that motivate repeat travelers to return to a destination
  • Activities preferred by repeat travelers and how they change when returning to a destination
  • Impacts of repeat visitation on traveler’s attitude towards the destination
  • Key differences among repeat travelers by age and income
  • Accommodation preferences of repeat travelers
  • How repeat and non-repeat travelers differ demographically, behaviorally, attitudinally, and more with side-by-side comparisons
  • How repeat travelers differ from each other based on the number of destinations they have returned to in the last five years

Executives Interviewed

  • Cree Lawson - Founder & CEO, Arrivalist
  • Melanie Kelly - Manager Strategy, Research, and Planning, Aruba Tourism Authority
  • Jacob Pewitt Yancey - Director of Consumer Insights and Analytics, VISIT FLORIDA