Being a millennial, I have thoroughly enjoyed this process of researching and learning more about my generation. While I can't agree with everything regarding this generation, there are some really neat things that the largest generation in history is offering and will continue to expand upon.
With any generation, there are marketing and sales challenges that occur. Millennials have grown up on the internet and with technology abundant in their lives. Understanding, actively engaging and overcoming these obstacles is crucial in your success to add millennial travelers into your client list. So let's get into the tips and tricks to sell to the millennial.
As we have discussed before, millennials have a multitude of ways to communicate and catering your communication methods to facilitate their preferences is a great start. However, once you have made the initial contact and are working toward a vacation package or plan, Morley Winograd, co-author of Millennial Momentum: How A New Generation Is Remaking America, shares his thoughts that it is very important to initiate a face-to-face interaction between the client and yourself.
Winograd says that millennials want to know who they are doing business with, and the face-to-face interaction could create customers for a lifetime. Remember that face-to-face doesn't have to mean "in person" anymore. "It could be video conferencing, FaceTime, Skype, but it has to be a personal interaction," Winograd says. "You very much have to put a face and a personality to the name. You have to have something that proves you're interested in them, that you have a unique attribute they find valuable."
No one likes to be misled and millennials are no different. That being said, millennials are also more leery of something "new" based on the fact that their entire world seems to be cluttered with advertising, product placements and the "necessity" to consume.
Whether it's bad news, a change in the plan, or just a simply "No, I can't make that happen," millennials are more likely to appreciate honesty, even if it's not what they want to hear. The quickest way to deter a millennial is to over promise and under deliver, so make sure you play it cool. Providing the real deal is the way to go and make sure to never assume what a millennial may or may not be interested in. Whether it's a $1,000 beer excursion or a $10 priority boarding pass, make sure to offer your millennial client it all and let them decide where they can make the best experience for themselves in terms of additions to their vacation or trip.
Some people have no idea what a truly unique trip can cost. If you get approached by a millennial wanting to travel through Europe for $400, be honest and tell them that you just can't make it happen. They will appreciate your honesty and if you include a ballpark figure, they may even save up and come back to you when they are ready. Millennials have shown themselves to be quite the determined generation in obtaining what they want.
A bonus is a great way to close any deal and millennials are no different. Whether it's a rewards program, complimentary upgrade or even an upgraded transfer, treat your millennial like the largest client you have. Chances are in your favor that they will stick with you through it all and will probably bring all of their friends, families and associates to you as well. Millennials have a very high tendency to spoil themselves when the time is right, so make sure you do that for them, at least once.
Here are some ideas of complimentary items you could provide:
Although, I'm sure you have a hundred other ideas that reign supreme over the above, something small that offers the millennial client a special touch will make an astronomical difference in the relationship that is already building.
As we talked about previously, communication is important to millennials, and a quick response is key. Whether it's pre-, during or post-travel, be available for your millennial clients on at least one non-intrusive medium. WhatsApp, messengers or texts are a great medium to offer to your clients that allows for a quick response but also allows you to live your life outside of your office. Make sure to be honest with your millennial clients that you will get back to them as quickly as possible, but you have to sleep sometimes, too.
While many millennials are frequent travelers, not all of them have used a travel professional like you. Provide them with some "real life" examples that one could face on a trip and demonstrate the value your expertise provides in those types of situations.
Whether it's a missed transfer, unseen hotel construction or, better yet, they miss the ship that they were supposed to be on, show them the goods by providing the types of customer service and knowledge you can in those kinds of situations. A millennial isn't likely to discredit your expertise when they know that things can happen.
Millennial travelers are looking for the best experience for a great price, and your expertise, experience and knowledge is the key to obtain just that. Although research isn't showing it, I do believe that millennials have a strong affirmation for the reality that an expert does it best. Whether it's home improvement, learning a skill or booking travel, millennials seem to have an ability to exercise their skills in their arena but don't seem to want to jump off a cliff without knowing where the water is.
Take the jump yourself and begin marketing yourself as a millennial's source for all of their travel needs. Show your unique value proposition and demonstrate the amazing advantages you can provide. Millennials are estimated to spend over $200 billion dollars this year on travel. Will you be taking some of that home?
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Andy Ogg, located in San Diego, California, comes from 10+ years of Sales, Marketing and Brand Building experience. With multiple degrees in Mass Media Marketing and Advertising, Andy joined the family business with his parents, Tom and Joanie Ogg, in 2014 and has helped grow the business to new heights. Through a wide variety of websites, publications and resources, Andy continues to focus on providing information that will help Travel Professionals in their journey to a successful career in Travel. When not behind his desk in his home office, Andy enjoys spending his time outside with his wife and children or out surfing the waves of the Pacific Ocean in Southern California.