The Millennial generation is a population of young adults who have more access to the world than ever before. These consumers between the age of 18 and 34 are not conforming to the digital and physical boundaries set around them instead they are breaking out and making it a mandatory life requirement to see and experience the world.
Millennials have never fully experienced and upward climbing economy. However, that has not stopped them on their search for global connections. While older generations tend to view international travel as a luxury, Millennials consider it a part of their coming-of-age. This is due in large part to the adjusted cost of travel. Due to inflation, the real cost of travel has declined 50 percent in the past 35 years and Millennials are taking full advantage of it. In 2014, nearly 300,000 Millennials studied abroad for college credit and another 15,000 traveled abroad for internships or job opportunities.
Taking a look at travel trends we have seen surface in our research and across the board, there are six key trends travel brands must keep in mind when marketing to a moving generation:
Millennials seek out traditional travel connections with a facelift
The common narrative is that millennials are not connecting with travel agents and instead are opting for an entirely DIY trip planning process. However, travel agents still have a strong hold on today’s travelers they are just taking shape in different forms. Online booking sites often offer a live chat feature with booking agents and successfully integrate the traditional agent experience with a new digital facelift. The recommendations from these agents do not go unheard and many millennials still rely on professional travel advice when booking a trip.
Millennials are mobile movers, but desktop bookers
Due to greater brand and inspiration accessibility via the Internet and social channels, millennials are constantly tapping into their networks while they are on the move. That means that their journey touch points when booking a trip no longer occur at a stationary location. This is especially true as they utilize non-traditional forms of content in regards to social media, travel sites, blogs and video. However, the phase of the travel process a consumer is in (pre, during, post trip) will determine where a millennial will be viewing the content. While Millennials rely on their phones for research and inspiration, they are still returning to their desktops for the actual activation and booking.
Millennials believe the exploration is part of the adventure
When Millennials think about travel they do not think about the functional aspect of the travel. Rather, when millennials talk about travel, they are referring to their destinations, the experiences they are having at each destination and the activities they are doing while they are there. The goal is to generate content that moves beyond travel as a function and taps into a higher quality of adventure. What are the cultural trends to keep in mind when traveling to a new place? Where can travelers visit to experience a tourist atmosphere and where can they go to feel like a local? Invite travelers to explore new cities not just travel to them.
Millennials live on a budget, but they splurge on vacation
It is true that millennials are the most budgeted and cost conscious consumers. However, there are certain opportunities that millennials are not willing to pass on and travel is one of them. The shift from badge products to badge experiences is a strong millennial desire and the opportunity to splurge on a vacation abroad is worth budgeting for in other areas of life. However, millennials have adapted a new travel mindset – travel hacking. Millennials are asking themselves, “How can I manipulate every resource I have to find the best deal?” Booking travel is part of the planning and many consider it the thrill of the hunt – when a millennial gets a great bargain its like wearing a badge that they want to share.
Millennials believe that international travel is vital to their growth and personal development
Travel today is more accessible than ever before with new resources like Airbnb and Travelocity making travel more affordable. As a result, young people are taking advantage of the opportunities presented to them and traveling abroad more than any generation has in the past. For millennials, having friends all over the United States is cool, but having friends all over the world is something worth bragging about and pursuing.
Millennials pool their resources to create stronger networks
With greater access to the Internet, the resources millennials have to book and plan travel are infinite. This is especially true when it comes to the type of content they are searching for while booking travel. Online content is naturally the most effective way to reach millennials. However, articles and photos tend to be more affective than video content as it relates to travel. Forty three percent of millennials regularly look to travel blogs and other articles while looking for inspiration for a vacation. Additionally, content regarding what to do during a vacation is much more affective than content about getting to the vacation.