Millennials are the fastest growing group of travelers and they are carving out new paths around the world. As our economy’s largest generation of consumers, these young adults are turning towards travel because they are placing a higher value on experiences over material objects. A study conducted by the UN found that millennials contribute $180 billion in annual tourism revenue. When millennials travel, the price and convenience of accommodation are taken into consideration more than other factors.
Many millennials are not loyal to hotels; instead they search for the best deals and the most unique experiences. Airbnb and hostels are leading the way in both aspects. Airbnb allows travelers to stay in unique, fully furnished homes making their vacation seem more personal.
The travel accommodations site links users to homes and apartments for rent in more than 20,000 cities across the globe. The site allows you to search accommodations based on location, travel dates and number of people staying – similar to other platforms like Travelocity and Kayak. However, Airbnb also features a map search tool.
This map feature is perfect for millennials who find convenience most important when traveling. If they want to be located near a public transportation stop, they simply have search the pinpoint they are looking for and options will pour in – linking convenience with travel. As millennials are the largest consumers of mobile apps, the Airbnb app makes it easy to book travel accommodations, communicate with renters, write and read reviews on their smart phones.
I’ve used Airbnb on a number of occasions, while traveling in the US and in Europe. What makes it most attractive to me is that by saving money on my room and board, I am more able to go out and experience the great things the city I am in has to offer. I typically cook my own meals, make snacks for myself and don’t ever have to worry about coffee on the go.
Not to mention, the Airbnb customer service is top-notch. When a friend of mine booked an apartment in South America for a 10-day trip and construction began in the complex after just two days (which abruptly woke him up at 6am), he was refunded the remaining eight days so he could stay somewhere quieter. Airbnb also urges users to post reviews after their travels. This is massively beneficial to the millennial traveler, who bases many of their travel decisions on online reviews. After a user leaves a review, Airbnb adds a voucher to their profile for future travel. Since we already know that coupons and deals tend to drive millennial loyalty, this feature results in high retention rates for the platform.
OneFineStay is similar to Airbnb, however, it is only offered in London, Paris, New York and Los Angeles. OneFineStay is a “classier” version of Airbnb and connects travelers with more luxurious accommodations typically located in upscale neighborhoods and houses. Each accommodation on OneFineStay has to be approved by the company and must be a high set of standards to be included on the site. Unsurprisingly, prices of these accommodations are akin to room rates of an upscale hotel.
As the sharing economy grows, users are renting more and booking hotels less. These types of democratized travel platforms provide an “unhotel” experience for millennial travelers who are traveling more for the experience they will have in the city rather than the features they will get at their hotel.
Images via Flickr: Gustavo da Cunha Pimenta,