Looking Ahead: Millennial Travel Trends – Part 1
The Millennial Generation is a game changer for many travel and lifestyle brands, as this group of young consumers holds different values than that of their older brothers and sisters in Gen X, and a vastly different perspective than their Baby Boomer parents. CNN.com reports Millennials are expected to finance half of all travel spending by 2020 and it’s their travel habits and online activity that are changing the face of travel, tourism and hospitality as a whole. With the Millennials expected to soon surpass Boomers in overall travel spending, suppliers, destinations and marketers should take heed of new opportunities and challenges presented by these distinct characteristics that will be of growing importance to the travel industry.
We’ll walk you through some of the more notable millennial travel trends in a two-part series. Keep your eyes peeled next Monday for the second dose.
Millennials are the heaviest users of the Internet, mobile devices, and social media networks. This generation not only uses technology to research, plan, and book travel, they also stay plugged in throughout the duration of their trip in order to share their experience with friends and family in real-time. Their constant connectivity allows for last-minute adjustments on booking accommodations and travel plans, and offers opportunities for real-time engagement with destinations and local businesses.
From social media sharing to online booking, the notion that these individuals are always online must be taken into account throughout all aspects of advertising and marketing strategy development. Not sure where to start? A basic acknowledgement that this generation is still communicating with your brand after regular business hours is a good foundation. Having someone on your team who can man your social media presences 24/7 is no longer an option, it’s a requirement.
Along with the generational shift in travel spending, airlines and hotel brands are also reinventing their loyalty programs to keep up with the impact of Millennials. New loyalty strategies are challenging the traditional “points for rewards” paradigm in response to new reports of consumer data. New information deriving from social media, mobile devices and digital behavior have provided opportunities to deliver better customer service and the best possible experience for travelers.
In comparison to the Boomers, younger travelers tend to be less loyal in their travel and lodging choices, opting for the convenience factor and the overall experience versus racking up miles and freebies through loyalty initiatives. As Skift editor, Dennis Schaal points out, “miles and points are great, but it will be the experience, as well, that will make people keep coming back for more.” In other words, it’ll take more than points to keep the millennials coming back.
– Emily Walsh (@emilywalsh07)