Millennials take travel in a new direction
When it comes to taking vacations, millennials are going a different route, so to speak, compared to their parents’ generation.
They want a more “individualized” and immersive experience when they travel, one that will allow them to explore local cultures—a demand that is still largely unmet by travel operators, according to a recent survey by international internet-based research firm YouGov.
In its report “Millennial Travelers: Rewriting the Tourism Landscape,” YouGov states that millennials, or those born between 1980 to 1999, “are striving for independence and individuality,” and therefore are no longer attracted to “predefined” tour packages usually offered by travel agencies.
Instead, the report—which targets four countries considered main markets for millennials as tourists (United Kingdom, United States, Germany and China)—says that members of this generation now prefer booking online or using platform-based services such as AirBnB and Uber to plan their holidays, since doing so allows them to choose exactly where to go and what to do.
What millennials want, basically, is to not feel like tourists at all. They want to blend in, experience local culture, habits, and people, and have unique adventures, says the report.
For tour operators to remain relevant to millennial travelers, who are willing to spend on more than one vacation a year, the report suggests that travel agents take into account this generation’s interests and hobbies, and incorporate these into the tours and activities they will offer.
“Interests and hobbies that seem generic at first sight might be your key to attract this generation,” reads the report. “For example, film locations all around the globe have attracted thousands of young people seeking the special places they recognize.”
Tour operators also need to keep in mind that millennials are a more demanding bunch, says the report. They invest more of their time and money in their education, affording them relatively high income despite being new in the workforce. This makes them “valuable, but also demanding customers,” the report reads.
The report also recommends taking note of the best communication channels to use when advertising one’s travel services. Across all four markets, online and mobile ads have been observed to reach more millennials compared to older generations.
Finally, since most millennials are digitally savvy, it would also be best for travel agencies to use technology to their advantage.
“Millennials are far beyond only using stationary internet when traveling–they are connected all the time when abroad, using continuous streaming of information on places, people and news. You can be successful with technologies that have only recently entered the market. An example is VR (virtual reality) technology–impressions and adventures from your destination can be delivered in advance, increasing the likelihood that they will develop a desire to experience the real thing,” says the report.
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