The rise in fitness culture is spreading to travel, particularly younger people. Recent data from Resonance and Hotels.com shows that the vast majority of millennials aim to keep fit while traveling. In a recent article published on LinkedIn, TrainAway’s Brand Manager Mikael Vincents, explored this phenomenon. The results were interesting.
While aiming for that beach body before heading on vacation has been going on forever, keeping this up while away hasn’t always been. Exploring the habits of adults aged 18-35, data shows habits are changing. Growing image consciousness means it is more important to look good on vacation than ever.
Four-Fifths Aim To Keep Fit While Traveling
The Hotels.com survey, carried out by OnePoll, questioned 8,400 adults across 28 countries. Four out of five millennials said that keeping fit was an important part of their vacation experience. This was followed by 66% of baby boomers, who still indicated a desire to keep fit while traveling. Within this data was further interesting reading. For example, 42% of millienial travelers even said they would give up high quality food in favor of good fitness facilities.
This was backed up by the Resonance Millennial Travel Report, which surveyed 1,500 20-34 year olds in the US. It found a similar desire to keep fit while traveling among this demographic, and showed more detail within the category. Working out was seen as the top health/fitness activity, seen as important by 80% of millenials. Below this are spa treatments and yoga (see chart below):
Source: The Future of Millennial Travel Webinar (Resonance, 2018)
Keeping The Weight Off, And Likes Up
It’s no secret what the driving force is behind this shift. Social media is an ever present in the life of millennials, and both travel and fitness are mainstays. Hotels.com survey data showed that young travelers would prefer to upload a workout photo than a beach shot. Their inspiration are a growing number of ‘fitfluencers’ who often combine travel and exercise. . High quality fitness photos from exotic locations have strong traction across Instagram, Facebook and Snapchat.
Vincents discusses how combining travel and fitness is the perfect mix for social media success. As he says, ‘It’s about looking great in great places’.
The Resonance report also pointed to a particular travel niche where exercise is even more important. They identified the ‘Active Adventurer’ niche, comprising 20% of all millennial travelers. For this group, physical activity is the most important part of their trip. After common factors like cost and safety, recreational locations are the most important element behind destination choice.
What If You Don’t Keep Fit While Traveling
Another element behind prioritizing fitness is a realization of the negative health effects of vacation. There is a proven correlation between holiday periods and weight gain, with it taking months to lose weight gained while traveling. Research also shows that it’s not enough to just diet, you need to exercise as well. Savvy millennial travelers realize the risks of an indulgent vacation or business trip, so counter this with gym visits. The below chart shows the results of one survey into how much weight we actually put on over the holidays.
Discussing the business value of younger people, Vincents says that the millennial traveler is key to TrainAway. ‘We’ve seen huge interest in young people wanting to find a gym when traveling, and they’re definitely one of our core markets. It’s so important to them to keep up their fitness routine when away from home.’
Business Travelers Follow the Same Pattern
It’s not just those on vacation who want to keep fit while traveling. Research from Global Business Travel Association shows that it’s business travelers too. Of millennial travelers, 46% were likely to work out every trip or almost every trip. Even in the 35-54 age group, this figure was 41%. Fitness is clearly a high priority across the traveler spectrum. The same survey showed that nearly two thirds (63%) of those who exercise regularly will choose their accommodation based on access to fitness facilities.
The negative health effects of business travel have already been explored. This data shows that travelers, in particular millennials, are realising this and acting to offset the impact. Just like the alcohol-fueled beach holiday, the time of the boozy business trip is over. The younger traveler is more demanding, with different motivations – and fitness is at the core of this.