Hispanic Travel: The Anti-Get Away Experience

Jul 17, 12 Hispanic Travel: The Anti-Get Away Experience

Map based on data from: Jainchill, Johanna. (2012, June 19). “Reports highlight travel habits of Hispanics, African-Americans.”Jensen-Campbell, Cam (2005, Apr. 27). “Today’s Hispanic Consumer.”NTA Convention ’10 Montreal, Quebec. (2010 Nov. 13). “Understanding the Hispanic Travel Market.”

As we enter the summer months, marketers should have travel on the mind. Why, because kids are out of school, the weather is nice, and we’ve finally worked off that holiday weight? No, it’s because this is the time of the year the majority of U.S. Hispanics prefer to travel.

According to this year’s RedMas “De Vacaciones US Hispanic Vacation Travel Trends” survey, at least 57% of Hispanics travel at least once a year, and over 75% of the population has traveled in the past.1

The travel industry is incredibly enormous. In recent years, the U.S. airline industry exceeded $172 billion in revenue.2 Hispanics segmented the largest minority role (over $42 billion) in that spending. 3 Though a popular way to travel, airlines are not the only mode of transportation. Hispanics spend travel dollars on buses, railroads, and car rentals not to mention on hotels and recreation. In order to tap into the travel spending, marketers have to understand the Hispanic culture in terms of travel.

Who: This one’s a no-brainer, Hispanics. The more important question with Hispanics is “Who with?” On average, Hispanics travel with three other people (exceeding the general market average) — typically bringing close and/or extended family, but they also travel with friends.4

What: In addition to visiting family, Hispanics are traveling to destinations in the United States and abroad through various modes of transportation and spending money on various activities including entertainment (movies), recreational sports (riding bikes), sporting events (NASCAR), and visiting theme parks (Disney World). Since Hispanics usually travel with friends and family who are a variety of ages, they select from a wide range of activities in order to satisfy everyone’s vacation needs.

When: Hispanics prefer to getaway during the summer months; however, winter, specifically Christmas break, draws an enormous amount of Hispanics from their homes to planned destinations.1

Where: Los Angeles and Miami are the most popular domestic travel destinations for Hispanics. Dallas, New York City, Orlando (Disney World), and Chicago also have a high index of Hispanic tourists.5 Mexico, Costa Rica, and the Caribbean rank as the top international Hispanic travel destinations.6

Why: Hispanics are a culture that prides themselves in family values. They don’t travel away from their families—they travel to them and with them. Even on business trips, Hispanics bring their family members, making a genuine trip out of it.1

How: Planes, trains, and automobiles—mostly. The level of acculturation impacts the how Hispanics travel.

  • When it comes to airlines, technology plays a massive roll with Hispanics. Booking flights through the Internet and mobile apps account for over half of flight bookings for this tech savvy population.1 Top airlines include Alaska Air, American Airlines, Continental, Southwest, and AeroMexico.7 Alaska may seem like an odd airline choice for a population who tends to travel South, however, they were one of the first airlines to advertise in Spanish. Alaska Airlines continues to remain on the Hispanic travel radar as they are one of the few airlines testing out in-flight WiFi. While 68% of Hispanics travel by air, the number jumps to 73% for acculturated Hispanics.
  • Because Hispanics travel in a group with, more likely than not, four or more people, Airlines are not always the most economical ways to travel, and what says family fun more than a road trip. Typically, Hispanics will spend money on renting cars for transportation to their destinations, even when traveling internationally. Top car rental services include Hertz, Avis, and Budget.9 Hertz even offers car pick-up/car drop-off in Mexico city.8
  • Buses and railroads, though less utilized than planes and cars, are popular ways for Hispanics to travel both internationally and domestically. Twenty-four percent of unacculturated Hispanics use buses for international travel (three times more common than acculturated Hispanics).8
  • After arriving at their destinations, Hispanics tend to stay at hotels. Top Hotel Chains include Accor (Red Roof Inn, Motel 6), Intercontinental (Holiday Inn, Crowne Plaza), Choice Hotels (Comfort Inn, Quality Inn), and Wyndham Worldwide (Days Inn, Super 8).9 When Hispanics drive (instead of flying or taking buses), more than likely they will stop at additional hotels on their way to their destinations and coming home.

While travel and tourism industries in the United States have taken huge hits in recent years because of high unemployment and high gas prices, Hispanics have refused to sacrifice their family trips and continue to travel, spending more money per trip than the general population. Hispanics spend on average $785 per person on a trip while the general population only spends $708.6 Combined with the idea that Hispanics are traveling with four or more people, marketers must realize the obvious spending power Hispanics generate in traveling.3

“The difference in travel trends suggests the importance of understanding a culture before releasing an ad campaign to that target,” said George L. San Jose, president and chief creative officer of The San Jose Group. “While some American ethnic groups might plan trips as vacations from people they see every day like friends and family, Hispanics often travel with these groups, making their travel endeavors inclusive rather than exclusive.”

Hispanic travelers are increasing their spending power, and Johanna Jainchill, Senior Editor of Travel Weekly, points out that they are “the nation’s fastest-growing travel segment.” 3 When Hispanics travel, they not only spend money on transportation and lodging, but also on activities. Since, they travel with high numbers and people of wide age ranges, they spend their dollars in different markets such as entertainment, sporting events, outdoor recreation, and theme parks—making trips family affairs every one can enjoy.

In order for marketers to benefit from this enormous, profitable market, they must design campaigns around culturally relevant advertisements accessible on the Internet, mobile apps, and social media websites. According to the RedMas survey, 45% of Hispanic travelers are looking for someplace new to visit, so now is the moment to make your ­location the next Hispanic travel destination.1


  1. RedMas. (2012). “De Vacaciones US Hispanic Vacation Trends 2012.” Latino Cellular LLC.  Retrieved from http://www.slideshare.net/RedMasAdv/de-vacaciones-redmas-survey
  2. U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO). (2008, July 31). “Potential Mergers and Acquisitions Driven by Financial and Competitive Pressures.” GAO. http://www.gao.gov/
  3. Jainchill, Johanna. (2012, Jan 30.) “Reports highlight travel habits of Hispanics, African-Americans.” Travel Weekly. Retrieved from http://go.galegroup.com.ezproxy.vapld.info/ps
  4. CB Online Staff. (2012). “Survey Reveals Hispanic Travel Trends.” Retrieved from http://www.caribbeanbusinesspr.com/news03.php?nt_id=70579&ct_id=1
  5. Jensen-Campbell, Cam. (2005, Apr. 27). “Today’s Hispanic Consumer.” Retrieved from http://www.ecu.edu/cs-cas/anth/nuevosouth/upload/Hispanic-20White-20Paper.pdf
  6. Del Rossa, Laura. (2012, Jan. 23). Researcher to Offer Advice on Tapping Hispanic Market.” Travel Weekly. Retrieved from http://travelweekly.com/print.aspx?id=236019
  7. “Hispanic Travel Industry, New Opportunities” (n.d.) Contacto Magazine. Retrieved from http://www.contactomagazine.com/biznews/travelindustry0508.htm
  8. “Hispanic and Travel – US – August 2010 International Travel.” (2010). Mintel.
  9. “Hispanic Travel and Top Travel Trends.” (n.d.) M. Silver Associates. Retrieved from http://www.latinvision.com/conference/travel/silver.pdf




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