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October 10, 2017 • New York, NY

7 in 10 Black Millennial Travelers Say They Are Willing to Pay More to Book Travel with a Brand that Understands Them 

New DigitasLBi research reveals that tailored messaging to Black millennial travelers’ racial/ethnic identity can be highly influential to their booking decisions: 47% of those inclined to pay more would increase their nightly travel spend by $100 or more 

The online survey, conducted by Harris Poll, heard from 1,011 Black millennial travelers—i.e., Black/African American U.S. adults ages 20-36 who consider travel to be a priority in their life and are at least somewhat involved in booking their travel.      

Black Millennial Travelers: a Sizable Segment of the Travel Industry

  • There are nearly 5 million Black millennial travelers in the U.S.—according to this study, theyrepresent approximately 43% of the 11.5 million U.S. Black millennial population*.
  • 94% of Black millennial travelers have taken a personal trip in the past two years and 76% have traveled in the past six months.

Customized Messaging = Engagement

  • 72% of Black millennial travelers say that when a brand acknowledges their racial/ethnic identity, it makes them want to book with that brand.
  • 56% would pay more if messaging was more relevant to their personal identity:
    • of those, 47% would pay $100 or more per night.
    • 22% would pay $200 more per night.
  • 64% of those who have traveled internationally in the past two years would increase spend if messaging was more relevant to their personal identity.
  • 76% say they would book more with a brand they’ve previously used if they received more personal identity-relevant messaging.

Acceptance and Safety are Important Considerations When Booking

  • 24% of Black millennial travelers have experienced racial discrimination while booking travel, while 29% have experienced racial discrimination in the past two years while traveling.
  • 80% of Black millennial travelers say they are more likely to plan a trip somewhere they believe will be accepting of their race/ethnicity.
  • 38% say safety—as it relates to their race/ethnicity—is one of the most important factors when booking trip accommodations.
    • This is particularly true among women, with 43% of Black female millennial travelers saying safety is a primary factor when booking accommodations (vs. 31% of Black male millennial travelers). 

Takeaways for Brands:  

  • Brands have a strong opportunity to grow preference/consideration/purchase among Black millennial travelers: There are nearly 5 million Black millennial travelers in the U.S., according to this survey—and yet few brands are speaking to this audience in ways that make them feel relevant and connected. Leveraging the power of multicultural targeted media, both online and offline, can be an effective way to thoughtfully engage with this audience. There are thousands of influential sites, podcasts, social content drivers and creators that curate content targeted to Black millennials in unique and authentic ways; one example is Blavity—which recently acquired Travel Noire, a media platform by and for Black travelers.
  • Safety sells: Safety is one of the most important factors for Black millennial travelers when booking trip accommodations, particularly for women. Brands who make them feel comfortable and culturally accepted—for example, through photos of and verified testimonials from other Black travelers—may be more likely to win their business and their loyalty.
  • Peer influence is powerful: Good reviews and ratings from travelers of similar race/ethnicity and/or interests help Black millennial travelers make quicker decisions when booking travel. Establish credibility by thoughtfully engaging influencers and every day travelers within existing, large-scale, global travel communities. Leveraging the influence of these communities, creating ongoing best practices, and sourcing authentic (and real-time) feedback can create opportunities for brand or product innovation, while building preference and loyalty.
  • Relevant, relatable messaging will stand out—and inspire action: Messaging that is tailored to Black millennial travelers is highly influential to their booking decisions and can increase their nightly travel spend by as much as $200 or more. And it’s not too late to get relevant—Black millennial travelers say they are much more likely to book again with a previously-used brand if the brand provides identity-relevant messages. Beyond visual messaging, consider content and added value—unique deals, sale previews, exclusive access, and other touchpoints—to drive action and demonstrate the value of the Black millennial traveler’s dollar.

Anecdotally, we knew that there was an opportunity to connect more fully with Black millennial travelers—and now the numbers prove that this audience is eager to be engaged. We expect to see our travel brands dedicate more attention and and engage more meaningfully with this audience going forward.” Najla Haddad, SVP Marketing, DigitasLBi

 

Methodology

The survey was conducted online within the United States by Harris Poll on behalf of DigitasLBi between August 11 and 18, 2017 among 1,011 Black/African American U.S. adults ages 20-36 who consider travel to be a priority in their life and are at least somewhat involved in booking their travel (referred to as “Black millennial travelers” throughout).

* Source: Nielsen, Young, Connected and Black - 10/17/16