The Millennial: Travel Trends of the Largest Generation

Travel insights from Andy Ogg, Editor of Travel Professional NEWS

Millennial travelers, are you tired of hearing about them? I don’t blame you if you are but it’s all for good reason. The largest generation is now coming of age to become a main focus for many companies, brands and most importantly, YOU.

I fall into the millennial generation and although I am at the older end of this demographic, there are several trends that I find myself participating in. The millennial generation has been one of the most “ground shaking” markets to crack, mostly due to the highly differentiated preferences, routines and priorities.

Knowing any market is key to selling to it and in this three-part series, we are going to look into: travel trends of the millennial, communications with millennials, and lastly, tips and tricks to grow your business with millennials.

In this first part, let’s all learn about the largest generation and some of the trends and preferences that are being made available.

  • The millennial generation includes individuals born from 1980 - 2000.
  • 87% look to social media for travel inspiration for their next adventure.
  • 46% book travel through a smartphone or tablet, meaning a strong mobile presence is also important. In fact, 86% of millennials are disappointed by bad mobile experiences.
  • 85% check multiple sites before booking to get the best deal possible.
  • 60% will upgrade their experience by purchasing extras like in-flight Wi-Fi. Offering extras that appeal to this generation can generate more revenue.
  • 97% will post their experiences on social media.
  • 68% will remain loyal to a program that offers them the most rewards (cash/freebies, upgrades, discounts).
  • 49% take last-minute vacations, meaning that offering last minute deals could be helpful in gaining business from millennial travelers.

So what does all mean for you? Well, like we have experienced in the past 10 years of technology, adaptation is key. Marketing to and obtaining millennial customers in your portfolio is in no way “out of reach” but it may require a different focus and method compared to what has typically proven successful for your business.

Social Media Matters

Even if it may seem like a fruitless effort at times, social media continues to be one of the largest influencers on the type of vacation a millennial may book. Whether it be on YouTube, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest or even Snapchat, the numbers do not lie that social media continues to be an influencer for many.

Continuing promotion of your business on social media is an important step but having clear goals is ever more important. Whether it’s your website, a phone call or an email, make sure that your social media postings and promotions contain a clear and concise way for viewers to engage with you.

The Smartphone Generation

While I do not fall into the very high percentage of mobile users, the statistics show that most research, browsing and engaging is happening from a handheld device. It’s more important now than ever to ensure that your website is mobile-friendly to avoid losing a potential client from the get-go.

There are endless tools to create a stunning website that is not only functional but also mobile-friendly. If you haven’t already, it may be time to make the change and update your presence in this medium to grow your business.

Offer it ALL

As a millennial, I am in 100% agreement with the reality that when I take a trip or take my family out for a fun day, I will spend more for a unique and valuable experience. We don’t do special events that frequently so when we do, I feel comfortable spending a bit extra to make the experience that much more memorable for everyone.

This past month, my daughter turned three years old and my wife and I decided to take her to Disneyland for the celebration. We booked an affordable hotel but didn’t hesitate to upgrade to the “Princess” package for our girl. That was the first additional expense of many to enable the most fun possible for my family. If an agent had informed me that we could ride to Disneyland with Mickey Mouse, I probably would have done that too, just to show my daughter a memorable experience.

When offering millennials a vacation, don’t hesitate to give them options starting at the mid range and extending to the top tier. Many millennials have money and are smart with it so don’t be the sales person that should have asked for more. Instead, present the options and let them decide what they can afford and what they want to spend their money on.

One of the biggest challenges in selling to a millennial is communication. Each person in this generation seems to have their own preferences and preferred way to communicate. I prefer email and phone calls, but my wife prefers texting and direct messages – just a few years apart in age and a big difference.

Stay tuned for more travel industry insights on the millennial generation from Travel Professional NEWS.