Surprise! Millennials Travel Differently Than Other Generations

June 18, 2015
Vacation season is here - the most exciting time of the year! All generations recognize that there’s a lot of planning and detail that goes into every trip - booking flights and places to stay, mapping out activities, downloading apps – but just like everything else, millennials travel differently than any other generation. So as you are gearing up to get away this summer, let’s take a look at how millennials travel and how they are changing the industry. Millennials are more likely to hire a travel agent. According to the research organization, MMGY Global, their 2014 Portrait of the American Traveler survey proves that millennials are more likely to use a travel agent for the three to five average trips they take per year. Agents can provide assistance and ensure that they get the most bang for their buck. Compared to their predecessors (19% of Gen Xers and 27% of Boomers), 30% of millennials will use a travel agent for vacation in the next two years. Millennials rely on technology to travel. The Internet is part of this generation’s DNA, so naturally it would play a big part in their travel experiences. In the planning stages, millennials often immerse themselves in the details of a trip before seeing an agent to perfect the details. They do most of their research ahead of time, reading reviews, and asking friends how to travel and best places to go. This generation also expects to be able to connect. Wifi is a life source for millennials and it is expected in hotel rooms where their multiple devices can be hooked right up. Also in the hotels, millennials appreciate new room technologies and mobile apps that make everything accessible at once. Less time wasted figuring out what’s next and more time doing! Some of the younger part of the generation would consider a hotel having high-speed internet a bigger priority than great food. Millennials play hard because they work hard. Despite what some might (still) think, millennials work really hard. We know that the workplace is changing and that millennials are a force not to be underestimated. And because of this, they like to play just as hard. Their free time is precious and not to be wasted, so vacations need to be as fulfilling as possible. Most millennials would rather have experiences over stuff. If they have money, they are willing to splurge on making their getaway more amazing, choosing fun and involvement over a handbag. Using travel to reward millennials would be particularly more effective in motivating and engaging them in the workplace. Millennials want the authentic local experience. Every traveler who goes to visit somewhere new, expects to experience the culture to some degree. But millennials want to be immersed and escape into the culture. They appreciate activities and cuisines that make them feel really in touch with the environment. Adventure and a personalized vacation makes the experience even more valuable. Travel companies have noticed the trend towards authenticity. Africa is growing as a popular destination with millennials, but Mexico still remains on top of the list. Since time is so valuable, Mexico is a quick flight away and relatively inexpensive to get to. Saving money on flights allows millennials to use their money on destination experiences. Millennials are social travelers. Millennials are social and love community. Going along with emerging themselves in culture and surroundings, they tend to look for accommodations that offer a chance to network and socialize. Additionally, while this generation travels, they are more likely to “check-in” to places they visit, post pictures on social media in the moment, and write reviews about their experiences once they return. TripAdvisor is a go-to resource for reviews on everything from hotels to activities and restaurants. Posting to social media asking friends for tips and referrals is the essential means to obtain trusted information and advice for this tech-savvy group. Millennials are a lot of things, and vacationers are one of them. They love the time away and thrive on experiences. Similar to in the workplace, this generation wants to soak up as much information and experience as possible to be a better version of themselves. Companies must not miss the opportunity to capture millennials’ interests and embrace the change that comes along with them.

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