Travel insights from Andrea Sedlacek, editor of The Compass

How Millennials are Influencing Luxury Travel

Those darn millennials, always shaking things up.

A study by Roland Gerber, a global strategy consulting company, claims that millennials are reshaping the travel and retail industries. Does this hot take hold any water?

You know what? It does.

The Case for Millennials

The travel industry is always talking about millennials: their travel trends, how to attract them as clients, how to talk to them and, most importantly, how to sell to them . This may seem like overkill but it isn’t. There are 71 million millennials in the U.S. in 2018. By 2019, there will be 73 million. That is nothing to laugh at and actually something to really pay attention to. And don’t think of millennials as little high schoolers anymore. A majority of the generation is considered adults now, doing real “adulting” things like getting married, buying houses, having kids and even traveling.

Their Take on Luxury

The study reiterates what we already know: that millennials seek out more authentic experiences when traveling. They’re also kind of critical consumers – they feel more inspired by genuine, real photos rather than perfect, Photoshopped ones. A way hoteliers are responding to this in the luxury realm is, according to the study, by ditching the uptight “rich person” level of service and instead investing in offering more personalized, relaxed and informal experiences. The level of service is still there, but made to be a little more low-key.

Another interesting finding by Roland Gerber’s study is that another shift hoteliers are taking is stepping away from the highly polished luxury environment and instead focusing on exclusivity or insider access. Millennials love to share their experiences, especially on social media, so hoteliers are moving toward that exclusive, one-of-a-kind luxury offering, since millennial travelers are willing to pay for it.

Your Opportunity

What this all means for you is that you only need to continue to provide the personalized service you already do for all of your clients, including millennials, because they’re not afraid of luxury travel. It just means something a little different to them compared to older generations.

If you’re not sure where to start, here are some ideas:

  • Modernize your website
    • Make it easy to use and nice to look at
  • Include real client testimonials in your engagement efforts
    • Add them to your website
    • Use your clients’ real vacation photos if possible
  • Follow the industry trends
    • Learn about trending destinations for both millennials and luxury travelers
    • Think about guided tours and the authentic experiences they offer

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