How Travel Brands Can Attract Millennials In Face of Vacation Shaming

Posted by: Jeff Fromm

At one point or another throughout your career, you’ve needed a day off (or two…or several). It might be for personal reasons or a special occasion, or maybe because the stress of a major project is getting you down (but hopefully it’s to reward yourself for a job well done instead). Whatever the case, taking some time away from the office is completely justifiable and necessary to balance your life with your work. Right?

Well, not if you ask a millennial.

It turns out that today’s millennial workers are facing an unusual pressure in the workplace, one that seems particularly out of place if you stand by the myth that all millennials are lazy and self-centered (you shouldn’t, though). This pressure is called vacation shaming, and it is keeping these young and dedicated employees from taking the time off they have earned, and in some instances, been paid to take.

According to the 2016 Alamo Family Vacation Survey, 47 percent of all workers said they felt a sense of shame or guilt at their workplace for taking time off to go on vacation. Forty-two percent of this group felt that their co-workers seriously shamed them when they took time off, and 22 percent claimed that this was somewhat likely to keep them from going on or planning a vacation. Of these vacation-shamed workers, millennials alone accounted for 59 percent (compared to 41 percent of those over the age of 35).

Millennials also admitted to being guilty of shaming others for taking time off significantly more often (42 percent versus 24 percent of older workers). Worse yet, 42 percent claimed to be at least somewhat serious about it.

As a result, millennials are straying from the traditional vacation path. No longer are they frequently taking week-long vacations in the midst of peak travel seasons, rather they are opting more and more often for trips that allow them to sneak away without interfering with their daily work routines – occurrences I like to refer to as “weekenders.” In fact, these weekend trips make up almost half of all millennial vacations.

While they may be lacking in minutes and hours, these types of trips aren’t lacking in fun.

Travel hacking

Millennials are notorious travel hackers, meaning they manipulate every resource they have to find the best deals and get the most out of their time. They rely on their social networks to influence and inspire them on when to go, where to go, what to do while they’re there, and how to get there. They use digital technology to research, plan and book. They pay attention to the opportunities that will prove most valuable by offering a complete and custom experience, not just a flight or a night stay.

This means that travel brands that think about travel and tourism in a traditional way (i.e., peak travel times, beaches and resorts as top travel locales, amenities as key booking drivers) need to think again if they hope to attract this new breed of millennial travelers.

Brands in this space must:

-Upgrade their service offerings to embody millennial individuality and desire for out-of-the-box adventures

– Embrace non-traditional forms of vacations that may take place within different windows and ensure that calendar politics don’t constrain them

– Promote new possibilities authentically to influencers in the social media landscape

**having an app for easy, frictionless booking isn’t a bad idea, either

Marriott Wins big

The Marriott brand is a great example of this. The brand developed Experiences by Marriott packages to offer premiere deals for weekend getaways. Ranging from “Attractions and Adventures” to “Spa Getaway” to “Ultimate Golf,” there’s something for everyone. It’s also incredibly simple to book a package by downloading the free Marriott Mobile App (users also get quick access to property photos, amenity lists, city guides, local maps and more). Plus, Marriott currently touts more than 300,000 likes on Facebook, 415,000 followers on Twitter, and approximately 41,000 followers on Instagram.

The bottom line is that it won’t be enough to continue following the same traditional brand rules when it comes to travel. To attract millennials to the sector, brands will be required to bring creativity and innovation to the table. If they can manage that, they will no doubt achieve a profitable payoff.

About Jeff Fromm

Although not a Millennial as defined by his age, Jeff Fromm is the Millennial Marketing Guy. Jeff is President of FutureCast, a marketing consultancy that specializes in Millennial trends, and is a contributing writer at...See Jeff's full bio.