To everyone involved in the tourism or travel industry, millennials are a fast emerging market that’s actually changing the way tourism is run. In today’s blog entry, we delve deeper into the millennial habits and psyche to find out what they like to do when they travel.
The Millennial generation is the biggest generation yet. In the US alone, they are 92 million strong, much bigger than the Baby Boomers who only make up 61 million of the population.
In Australia, millennials amounted to 5.4 million in 2011. This is a significantly higher number than the previous generation’s 3.8 million. The fact that they share a smaller piece of the population pie now (24%) as opposed to 35 years ago (27%) is an indication of the ageing population and not of their diminished strength as a market segment.
By the year 2020, today’s millennials will make up to 42% of the workforce. So it is imperative that travel and tourist ventures capture the millennial market now and gain their loyalty.
The younger generation is likely to still be living with their parents and are not yet thinking about settling down. Milestones such as buying a house, starting a family, and buying a car are being delayed until they’ve found a financially and emotionally fulfilling career. In recent years, the median age of marriage has increased from 24 in 1976 to 30 in 2011.
Because of this, millennials are much more connected with their parents than the previous generation and are more likely to be seen travelling with them if not with friends.
The buying habits of millennials present a stark difference from that of their parents. A generation ago, 20-year olds would be marking their success by purchasing a house, a car, and starting a family.
Because the priorities of the new generation are in flux, acquiring these items are now being delayed, or in some cases, being skipped altogether. Instead of cars, music, and other luxury goods, millennials are seeing gadgets in the form of laptops, phones, and other mobile devices as the new status symbols.
As far as other goods go, the mantra is “access over ownership.” Why buy CDs when you can just stream from Spotify? Why buy DVDs when you’ve got Netflix? Why book an expensive hotel when you can just find a place to say on Couchsurfing.com or Airbnb.com? Why buy a car when you can just rent one from Alpha Car Hire?
The appeal here is you get to use all these things without the burden of ownership. This phenomenon is what’s giving rise to the sharing economy. Experts are even saying that 25 years from now, car sharing will be the norm, and car ownership will be an anomaly.
Hyper connected Millennials
Being internet savvy and hyper connected doesn’t mean that millennials shy away from travelling for business to meet with business contacts halfway around the world. Surprisingly, these young travellers are a much more social generation and are very comfortable in networking and mingling with potential business or social contacts. This is why internet access and socialising spaces such as coffee shops, co-working spaces, and hotel lobbies are very important business travel considerations.
When it comes to tourist attractions, millennials are a bit harder to please than other demographics. Millennials are more informed and have been exposed to a broader range of experiences than previous generations. As such, they tend to shy away from the regular tourist traps and are more likely to flock to where they can sample the local cuisine and interact with the locals.
Millennial Travel Kit (credit skift.com)
The profile of the millennial traveller is a person 18 to 34 years old. He or she takes four or more overnight leisure trips per year, and their frequency of travel increases with their household income.
Millennials are likely to travel in groups. Because they tend to be closer with their parents, it is therefore not a surprise that they are just as likely to travel with their parents as they do with friends.
Social Media plays a huge part in millennial travel. The younger generation will base their travel destinations, where to stay, which flight to take, what food to eat, when to go, etc. largely on what they see on social media. They then, in turn, will post their travel experience and act as influencers in their respective social circles.
The whole process of planning a trip needs to be web based. So everybody from the airline, accommodations, tourist attraction, restaurants, internet provider, and transportation need to have a web presence. Anybody without a Facebook page or a website in this day and age are missing out on the opportunities that the millennial market represents.
Furthermore, because they as a demographic are very opinionated and outspoken, they will not hesitate in voicing out their feedback, be it a positive or a negative review.
Millennials, as the emerging market, are changing the way we view travel and tourism. Because they tend to travel more frequently and in groups, they represent a very profitable and potentially loyal chunk of the market. The fact that they will make up 42% of the workforce in a few years’ time makes acquiring their loyalty imperative in maintaining a competitive advantage for those in the travel industry.
They are not as interested in the regular tourist traps as they are focused on experiencing life as a local. Their planning is heavily dependent on information found on the web so having a web presence is very important to even be considered. But be careful because they will not mince words when reviewing your service. They also put a premium on accessibility over ownership. They may not own a house or a car yet, but they are adept at booking a house in Bali, or renting a car in Sydney should the need arise.
The world is definitely changing, and the millennials are leading the charge.