thomLast month, we started a new survey series focused on a demographic that many brands, including travel ones, are trying to understand: Millennials.

Over this year, we are doing a series of consumer surveys at regular intervals that probe various travel habits and nuances of American millennials. We’ll also be mixing this with the habits of their European counterparts as well.

Second in this Travel Habits of Millennials 2015 series is a question about accommodation: are the staying habits of millennials changing as fast as everyone makes it out to be? Are sharing-economy brands like Airbnb really as big as the media noise makes it out to be?

We asked: During your last personal leisure trip, in which of the following accommodations did you stay? The question was asked to nearly 1,000 18-34 year old U.S. adults in the Internet population over the second half of last month.

The topline answer from the Skift survey: Airbnb is the least used accommodation for the American millennials, only 3.7 percent of them said they stayed in an Airbnb during their last personal trip. This could be spun either way: either the hype doesn’t match reality, or that Airbnb is just getting going and there is tons of growth left for it.

The hotel industry still has a long lead over other options, with almost 40 percent of millennials saying they used a hotel during their last trip. And hostels, which are potentially more-direct competitor of Airbnb-type accommodation, are still more popular than the sharing economy.

Note: About 35 percent of American millennials responded that they haven’t traveled recently, hence we didn’t include them in the survey results below.

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Not all millennials are created equal, which becomes clear once you look at the demographics of our survey.

  • Male millennials are more likely to stay in hostel and Airbnb-type accommodations, while woman are more likely to stay in hotels and friends/family during their travels.
  • The older millennial set (25-34) are staying at hotels a lot more than the younger millennial set (18-24) which is understandable since their personal income is likely more than younger set.
  • The younger millennial set (18-24) prefer hostels at more than twice the rate than the older millennials.
  • Also, interestingly, older millennials prefer Airbnb at twice the rate of younger millennials, which shows the potential move towards professionalization of companies like Airbnb.
  • Suburban millennials are staying at Airbnb at five times the rate of rural millennials, while urban millennials fall somewhere in the middle of that spectrum.
  • Hotel accommodation is much more popular with those millennials earning $75K and above income yearly than any other income bracket.
Photo Credit: Millennial travelers still prefer hotels over any other type of accommodation during travels.