“An instant generation that is always online, relies on the Internet for everything, and wants everything … like, right now!” That’s what has been commonly thought of millennial travellers.
Because of that they apparently tend to do everything online. They are also said to share everything on social media platforms whether its Facebook, Instagram or Twitter, and they must “check-in” everywhere they go. If it wasn’t Facebooked or Instagrammed, it didn’t happen. As such, they want to be connected all the time. They are also off-the-beaten-track travellers and want to see everything, not as a tourist, but the way a local would. They also go by the “Yolo” or “You only live once” principle. And they depend a lot on online peer reviews.
Travel search site, Wego.com, says that many of these beliefs are merely myths.
According to Wegochief advertising and sales officer Rick Mulia, millennial travellers in just the United States alone will reach 78 million by 2020, outnumbering baby boomers by 18 million. The spending by millennials on goods and services will reach US$1.4tril (RM6tril), a rise from US$600bil (RM2.57tril) in 2013. To effectively reach this market, he feels that travel marketers need to rethink their approach and go beyond existing myths.
“It’s not quite as simple as relying on a set of common, and rather vague signals, including reliance on travel review sites, the use of metasearch, mobile usage, social media and continuous connectivity,” says Mulia. “Some of these signals, such as connectivity and social media usage are important, yet fairly obvious, and not restricted to millennials either.”
“Travel reviews are popular, however millennials are far more influenced by family and friends when it comes to making travel choices, and don’t rely solely on review sites to make their decisions,” he says. “Another myth is that millennials prefer travelling solo. A study found that millennials also enjoy travelling in organised groups, or with extended family or friends, so if your strategy is focussed on individual travel experiences, you could be missing the mark.”
“Yet another myth is that millennials are extremely budget conscious,” Mulia continues. “However, the truth is that they want what we all do – great value without missing out on those added comforts, which make a huge impression on them.”
He adds that it is important to dig deeper beyond such vague interpretations because relying on these assumptions alone might not connect marketers to the real millennial traveller. Mulia advises advertisers to focus on a good mobile experience, integrate smart social media and ensure that the purchasing path is as smooth as possible.
“Hotels are evolving to become more frequently ‘un-hotels’,” says Mulia. “They’re rethinking the bed/bathroom concept to appear less like a hotel room, and more like a home away from home. Accommodation which is more like a temporary residence than a hotel room, are very popular with millennials. The smart, compact design, appeals to their desire for great style, but at a budget price.”
Airlines are also targeting millennials with Premium Economy seats, delivering still affordable, but a slightly more comfortable flight experience.