8 things travel brands need to know about millennials:
1. Millennials have great expectations: they value status, adventure, excitement and travel.
2. Adult millennials, according to a Pew Research Centre report, are detached from institutions. Instead they network more closely with friends.
3. They are twice as likely to travel in organised groups, and three times as likely to plan travel with family and friends. For hotels, this has implications as milliennials are much more likely to use communal spaces, such as lounges and bars.
4. Millennials have distinctly different behaviours, values and attitudes from previous generations. For example, Generation X and the Baby Boomers considered the American dream to be less about travel and more about owning a house and having security. This can partly be explained by the technological and economic implications of the internet, but also by the recession of 2008. They are the first in the modern era to have higher levels of student loan debt and unemployment, and many live with their parents for longer. Studies predict that they will switch jobs frequently, holding many more jobs in their lifetime than Xers.
5. Sociologist Andy Furlong describes millennials in his book Youth Studies: An Introduction as optimistic, engaged, and team players.
6. Millennials are more highly educated and more diverse than previous generations and many feel that brands are part of their identity.
7. They favour brands with personality, that are communicative, show authenticity and support causes. They also want 24/7 availability; speed and efficiency matter more than customer service or face-to-face contact.
8. They are three times more likely to demonstrate strong brand loyalty than other generations. They are less concerned about the brand’s history and more interested in what the brand stands for. If a brand upsets a millennial will tell them, and more likely to broadcast negative experiences than positive ones.
In addition –
- 70% want to travel to every continent
- 75% want to travel abroad
- 32% of all US travellers are millennials and are the fastest growing segment
A five-point plan to optimise products and distribution for millennials’ shopping behaviour –
• Refine your pricing strategy
• Be everywhere
• Balance ‘perks’ vs. free/discounted stays in loyalty programmes
• Expand your product portfolio to cater for millennials’ preference for an interesting experience over comfort
• Streamline the shopping experience from a single device pull world to a multi-device push world that leverages millennials
Neha Parikh, VP & General Manager North America,hotels.com