I have never been a big fan of over-simplified analysis when it comes to describing behaviors for different generations or specific demographics. Sure, Boomers are often very different than Gen X or Gen Y when it comes to workplace attitude, lifestyle choices and travel preferences. And yes, younger travelers show different patterns as well, in particular when it comes to Millenials, folks today aged 18 to 35.
Yet, not a single day goes by without an article or mention about the growing importance of Millenials and how travel brands need to pay attention to this demographic. Why all the hype?
Same Needs, Different Tech
A critic often heard, with which I agree to some extent, is that Millenials are really not that different than Gen Y, or even Gen X and Boomers, when it comes to why they travel, what they seek in a destination or what kind of experiences makes them happy.
Slow travel, foodies, sporting events, culture buffs, rail travel, cruises, educational travel… these trends are not necessarily specific to any demographic in particular, even though some may be keener than others. Same goes about loyalty programs, or even choice of destination. In any case, travel marketing will be deeply impacted by a new set of strategies adapted to this generation.
What sets Millenials apart, first and foremost, is the fact that this is the biggest generation cohort with over 80 million in the U.S. alone. And while some may think they represent the future, truth is they actually represent the present as well. In fact, it is estimated they will become the most important clientele for the hotel industry by 2018, and perhaps even as early as 2017.
More importantly, Millenials show a clearly distinctive behavior when it comes to technology, as this generation grew up with social media and mobile devices at their finger tips. Expectations are therefore much more acute when it comes to interacting with airlines, destinations, hotels or attractions, from customer service to sales and marketing.
Read also: Best Practices in Travel: Messaging Apps
The folks at IMI Internet Marketing came up with this very representative infographic showcasing key travel trends when it comes to Millenials in travel. Some surprising, and not so surprising, highlights in there. Enjoy! And feel free to leave comments in the section below.