ADARA Reveals New Insight into Elite Travelers

Data driven insight from ADARA’s Magellan platform challenges the industry view that Elite Travelers always prefer a high end travel experience and have a short booking window

MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif., A major new piece of data driven research from ADARA, the global travel data platform, reveals today how marketers should challenge how they target the Elite Traveler* market. Contrary to the industry’s view, the Elite Traveler conducts a higher number of searches prior to booking flights and hotels compared to non-Elite Travelers (94% vs 76%, respectively) and has a much wider booking window as a consequence. Elite Travelers will also drop luxury to secure the right location for their needs. As a result, if targeted correctly, Elite Travelers will be receptive to deals, packages and paid for upgrades. ADARA is able to provide marketers with this unique insight into an elusive yet valuable audience through its proprietary technology and unique dataset.

Elizabeth Harz, President of Media & CMO, ADARA explains, “Elite Travelers are a much sought after target group for marketers, accounting for 10% of the market and spending significantly more. In the past they have been seen as elusive, ‘in-the-know’ and not as open to marketing efforts however, our research shows they are receptive to relevant marketing and actually have a longer search window than previously assumed. ADARA’s unique and detailed insight allows marketers to reach and engage this lucrative audience at a much deeper level. “

Location, location, location

Elite Travelers are known in the industry for their preference for first-class and high end hotels, but ADARA’s research shows they are very destination focused. ADARA’s insight illustrates that Elite Travelers are not averse to flying economy or staying in mid-tier/full service accommodation in order to secure the specific location they require – 53% of Elite Traveler flights are front of cabin and not entirely first class and 54% do not exclusively stay at luxury hotels. Therefore, valuable Elite Travelers are open to relevant marketing efforts which helps them maximize their trip.

Taking their time

Another misconception addressed by ADARA’s research is that Elite Travelers actually have a longer search process than non-Elite Travelers. This provides a longer window for marketers to target the group and engage with them during their planning mode, with the added benefit of their larger budget. An Elite Traveler typically begins planning eight days before committing to a flight booking and a lengthy 32 days before departure date. Findings also show they search for about four days before picking a hotel booking, which happens after they have booked their flights and 23 days prior to their trip. This is in comparison to non-Elite Travelers that begin searching for a hotel a mere two days before booking their flight and search for six days before booking. ADARA’s data, combined with its detailed insight can highlight the best time to target and engage this audience with relevant messaging.

Going further afield

Elite Travelers are shown to venture far and wide across the globe, with Asia and the Middle East both proving popular destinations. America is also a top choice, with Atlanta, New York and Chicago being the top destinations for solo Elite and non-Elite Travelers. While Washington DC, San Francisco, Seattle and Houston are ranked higher in top 20 for Elite vs. Non-Elite.

The full Elite Travelers whitepaper is available here.


What makes an Elite Traveler?*

Elite Travelers are identified as those that have purchased a business or first class airline ticket and/or have stayed at a luxury hotel in the past six months. They make up 10% of the travel market and are predominantly male (70% vs 30% female).  On average they travel twice as much as non-Elite Travelers and take 8.6 flights and 6.4 hotel stays annually and their average daily rate for hotels is $212 vs $174 for non-Elite Travelers. This makes the target group extremely valuable to marketers. Travel industry assumptions of the target group are that they have existing knowledge of flight routes and are less price-sensitive, therefore requiring a shorter timeline for the booking period and making them harder to reach.  However, ADARA’s data analysis shows this is not necessarily the case.


ADARA’s transactional travel data is based on its relationships with over 90+ global travel brands. ADARA is in a unique position to assess real-time travel searches and determine what patterns in the data reveal about the past travel season, to help marketers determine how such trends will impact future travel. All data in this report refers to searches and bookings during the period of Monday 1st June-Monday 30th November 2015.


ADARA leverages global proprietary travel data to deliver increased business performance through its innovative platform, and exceptional team. ADARA’s Magellan platform transforms loyalty, search and booking data into actionable insight allowing companies to better understand, reach and engage customers. Magellan is fueled by first-party data from over 90 global travel brands, including United, Delta, Hyatt, Marriott and Hertz. Founded in 2009, ADARA currently has 19 offices across the US, Europe, Middle East and Asia, including its headquarters in Mountain View, California.