Research shows that Bay Area residents spend a shocking $10 billion on travel annually. This number includes:

  • $3.1 billion on airfares
  • $3.2 billion on lodging
  • $2.2 billion on food and beverages
  • $700 million on out-of-town entertainment
  • $1.0 billion on transportation to out-of-town trips

The Bay Area spends the highest average per household among the nation’s metropolitan areas. And the pandemic has left many emerging professionals anxious to get out and have some new experiences this year. In fact, 72% of Gen Zers surveyed this year said they are considering splurging on a huge getaway this year, and the average Gen Z spends 29 days traveling this year.

However, Gen Z is not the only generation looking to plan their next getaway: 58% of Millennials and 43% of Gen Xers in the Bay Area have taken a domestic air trip in the past year. In addition, wealthy retirees are loyal vacationers: 67% said they return to their favorite vacation spots whenever possible. No matter the generation, residents are ready for their next adventure.

Here is what you need to know about Bay Area travelers: their demographics, travel preferences, and the best ways to market to them.

Understanding the Bay Area Traveler

Understanding Bay Area residents’ travel habits are critical to tapping into this lucrative market. Residents tend to be:

  • Affluent. With Silicon Valley and the lucrative tech sector in the Bay Area, many residents make far above the average. The average income in the area is $124,966, which is 72% higher than the national average.
  • Diverse and cultured. The Bay Area’s diversity has been growing in recent years. Plus, they are very well-read and know exactly where to research for their next trip.
  • Innovative and hip. It’s challenging to find a Bay Area resident that is not on social media. Most are addicted to Instagram and TikTok but will be on FacebookYouTubeSnapchat, and Twitter for daily entertainment. As the center of the tech hub, tech knowledge is critical for most residents.

While traveling is incredibly popular amongst Bay Area residents, how they travel depends on their circumstances, generation, income, and goals. Here are some of the top types of Bay Area travelers and the best ways to reach them.

Laptop Luggers

Many Bay Area residents travel for business and pleasure. Laptop luggers are a relatively recent but growing traveling population. They benefit from the rise in remote work that allows them to take more frequent and prolonged vacations and embrace the digital nomad lifestyle.

Laptop lugging, or workcations has become one of the most popular forms of travel. A 2021 survey found that 50% of respondents said they bring their work laptops with them when they travel. It’s trendy when workers want to head home but not use their vacation time during the holiday season. Deloitte found that last year, laptop luggers planned two to four trips during the holiday season from November through mid-January.

Bay Area residents who bring their work with them benefit from more prolonged or frequent vacations. Some even take their work almost entirely on the road. Businesses have more opportunities to capitalize on this group of workers with plenty of time for their next trip.

Experiential Travelers

After years coped up in the same house or apartment, many Bay Area residents are itching to get out of their city and somewhere new. Even high-priced airlines do not deter them from their next trip. However, the type of vacation they want has changed.

An experiential travel market is a mindful form of travel that emphasizes experiencing the country as a local for a richer and more genuine experience. It shifts away from tourist destinations and connects with locals, and travelers want to get involved in local projects. It is mainly fueled by Millennials and Gen Z, who are most likely to say they want to travel for experience and culture.

Culinary experiences are a significant part of experiential travel. Travelers want to try unique food experiences, especially those linked to local culture. They are seeking out hidden gems that are not overrun with mass tourism. Bay Area residents rely heavily on social media to find uncharted territory and on the internet to discover local culture and cuisine.

Weekend Getaway Travelers

Bay Area residents don’t have to go far to scratch their travel itch. The area is rich in experiences, cuisine, and local fun. From the Central Coast to the mountains to wine country, there is plenty for locals to explore. Some of the most popular destinations for weekend getaways include:

  • Yosemite
  • Lake Tahoe
  • Sacramento
  • Santa Cruz
  • Morro Bay
  • Paso Robles
  • Napa
  • Santa Rosa/Sonoma County
  • Monterey
  • Carmel

Frequent weekend trips are preferable to less frequent, long vacations for some residents. They can take advantage of all the local sites and come back refreshed more often instead of waiting for months for their next trip!

Luxury Travelers

An increase in inflation has made travel difficult for many groups of people. However, luxury travel continues to thrive with a customer base not impacted by rising travel prices. Luxury vacations are exploding in popularity, from private aviation to high-end hotels to large yachts. Even trains like Orient Express bring tradition and elegance together for an unforgettable trip.

After surviving the pandemic, they are ready to live it up and travel in style. Many saved up large amounts of money during the pandemic because they could not go out and are now prepared to spend it on luxurious travel adventures.

However, opulent travel is not the only type of luxury traveler. An increasing number of socially conscious consumers with a high net worth prefer more subtle and responsible vacations. They are more likely to choose eco and green travel that is better for the planet. Luxury travel brands must keep this growing demographic in mind to remain relevant and avoid alienating a potentially lucrative client base.

Whether looking for luxury or earth consciousness, some expectations still separate luxury customers from mass-market tourism. Luxurious travelers want to create memories that will make up for lost time and last a lifetime. They look for unique experiences, hyper-personalization, and superior service that incorporates the human touch in every detail.

How to Market to Bay Area Travelers

With a wide variety of eager travelers, businesses have a lucrative opportunity in the Bay Area to encourage tourism. However, finding the right target audience requires understanding the different avenues to get to them. Here are some of the top ways to reach Bay Area residents and encourage them to try your business:


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