Select Traveler

NOV-DEC 2016

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growing your group 32 N O V E M B E R / D E C E M B E R 2 0 1 6 I t's offi cial: America is on its way to becoming a majority-minority nation. The changing demographic and racial makeup of the United States will likely have profound im- pacts on politics, government, education, religion and more. And it could make a difference in the way affi nity travel programs work as well. Thanks in large part to immigration, the size of America's white population is shrinking relative to its minority popula- tions. Since 2010, there have been more black, Hispanic and Asian children born in the United States than white children. And most demographers project that whites will make up less than half of all Americans sometime in the next 50 years. The growing populations of minorities also come with growing spending power. The children and grandchildren of immigrants tend to be upwardly mobile, and as minori- ties make greater strides in education and professional achievement, they will represent a larger economic force with greater disposable income. For affi nity travel planners at institutions such as banks, universities and chambers of commerce, di- versity may seem like more of a theoretical idea that a practical concern. The constituencies for these orga- nizations are often traditionally white and upper-middle class, and that population will continue to present profi t- able opportunities for years to come. But successful organizations have a way of adapting to resemble the communities around them. And for institutions seek- ing to build community engagement, reaching out to minorities could be a way to draw in new audiences. Affi nity travel can be one of the most effi cient ve- hicles organizations have for reaching a more diverse customer base, as minorities in America often travel in groups at a higher rate than whites do. Loyalty program di- C A R E E R C O R N E R changing demographics Y O U R rectors can leverage the power of travel to these ends by designing trips that are tailored to minorities in their community and actively reaching out to them in promotional efforts. LUXURY FOR AFRICAN-AMERICANS Claire Soares is the poster child for the upwardly mobile, travel-loving African-American community. is millennial en- trepreneur has been planning group trips since high school and launched her African-American-focused luxury travel company, Up in the Air Travel, in 2013. "We felt like in the people-of-color space, there weren't people talking about luxury travel," Soares said. " ere were a lot of people talking about budget travel, and that's cool. But there are also people established in their careers that wanted to talk about luxury. I really want to center around luxury trips. We try to focus on places like ai- land and Egypt. Our approach is a really diff erent dynamic than a traditional tour company." Up in the Air has a community of about 10,000 African-Amer- ican travelers throughout the country who are willing to spend a lot of money for high-quality, high- touch trips. Soares loves to surprise guests with gifts such as personalized custom souvenirs and random business-class upgrades. And she sees a lot of growth poten- tial in the high-end African-American travel market. " ere's a book called 'Black Is the New Green' that goes over the spending of African- Americans, and it's pretty extensive," she said. Top: The Eiffel Tower, courtesy Up in the Air Travel Bottom: An African-American group cruise, courtesy Up in the Air Travel BY BRIAN JEWELL embrace program's g row i n g y our group DIVERSITY

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