Millennials have grown accustomed to seeing the world in the palm of their hand.
The generation born between the early 1980s and mid-1990s has grown up at the forefront of the digital age and with a smartphone as their ubiquitous accessory. The development of this generation has coincided with a dramatic change in the travel industry. It has come, in no small part, because of them. Travel and tourism is an 8 trillion dollar industry these days with 81% of people booking their holiday online.
Travel is not a luxury to millennials, but a necessity. They see themselves as citizens of the world, rather than feeling penned in by borders. Almost a third of them say they would accept lower salaries in exchange for a job that allowed them to travel. Their next adventure is never far away. But let’s look more carefully at how millennials are changing the face of the travel industry.
1. Experience is king
Millennials are less materialistic than previous generations. They would rather spend money by going in search of new experiences than on flight upgrades or fancy hotels. A survey by the World Youth Student Travel Confederation found that 37% of millennials would rather spend more money on one-off experiences than traditional travel luxuries. They would also rather stay in an apartment or Airbnb than a hotel because they feel it gives them a more authentic experience.
2. How they plan and book trips
We have already discussed the close relationship millennials have with their smartphones and this has translated into travel. Almost half of the smartphone users in the US say they are now comfortable planning and booking their entire trip on their smartphone. The extraordinary number of apps dedicated to travel is a response to that demand and millennials are now also carrying their boarding passes and accommodation details on their device.
3. Social influencers
Millennials are influenced by social media to an extraordinary degree. A 2018 survey found that 34% of them have booked a holiday directly because of the content they have seen on the likes of Instagram of Twitter. A further 31% said the moment they put their holiday photographs on their own social media platforms is just as important as the holiday itself. And finally, 29% said they would not go to a destination if they were not able to post about it on social media.
4. Combining work and leisure
The opportunity to tag leisure time onto business trips is something millennials love to do. A survey showed that 49% of millennials would take the opportunity to extend their stay and really get to know a business trip destination, compared to 31% of baby boomers.
5. Considering the planet
Millennials are more considerate of the planet than travelers who have gone before. Statistics suggest they are much more likely to volunteer at their destination or learn a new skill in order to offset the damage done by actually traveling in the first place. There is also evidence to suggest millennials favor brands which are more transparent about sustainability.