Millennials are the youngest generation of independent consumers and have a NEED to travel. This generation makes less money, yet travel more. In this challenging time, Millennials are forecasted to be the leaders in driving the road to recovery.
The term millennials is usually considered to apply to individuals who reached adulthood around the turn of the 21st century and were born between 1980 to 2000. Millennials represent 73.5 million people and are the largest group behind Baby Boomers, representing 1/3 of the US population. By the year 2030, millennials are expected to outnumber Baby Boomers by 22 million.
Travel to millennials is considered a necessity, as compared to a luxury by their boomer parents or senior grandparents. Top reasons for travel are to relax, spend quality time with family and friends and see natural sights. Millennials are constantly connected and seek interaction with local vibes. They have led the happy to share trend with peer to peer platforms like Airbnb and Uber. Unique to this generation is a selective spending trend, mixing luxury and budget along the way. Millennials also maximize "Bleisure travel," an opportunity to travel for work and extend their stay to experience the destination.
According to Destination Analysts' Coronavirus Travel Sentiment Index Report, Key Findings, "Millennial travelers will be at the forefront of the industry's recovery, due to their relativity higher sense of safety for themselves and travel activities, combined with the ability to motivate them to travel with discounts." Their survey reports that 46% feel that travel discounts and price cuts increase interest in traveling.
Millennials zest for life and fearless spirit will lead them to authentic experiences. As more attractions and borders open, millennials will be the most comfortable generation to lead the way for others. Locally, millennials will also be supportive of their community. Millennials are traditionally foodies and are eager to eat and drink with friends at restaurants and bars.
As we move forward, connecting with millennials will be an asset to your destination. What are they looking for? Authenticity, weekend getaways, and local vibes all hold great appeal for this generation. Promoting these experiences with a focus on safety and discounts will catch their attention. Millennials are the first generation to grow up in the era of internet accessibility, so it's no surprise that web-based communication is preferred. 66% of millennials booked their trip using a smartphone and 74% used it for research. Use images and testimonials in social media campaigns for inspiration. Facebook, Pinterest and Twitter are top platforms.
US Millennials spent $200 billion on travel in 2018 with an average of 5.6 trips per year. 72% of mobile bookings happened within a 48-hour window prior to traveling. This motivated and impulsive generation can be a strong come-back for the tourism industry. Their resiliency, desire for travel and quick decisions can lead the way on the road to recovery.
Julie Payne, CTP, CTIS
President & Tourism Enhancement Specialist