Written By: Andy Ogg – Editor for Travel Professional NEWS
Remember when communication was as easy as making a phone call or sending a letter? Well those days have certainly left the list of common ways to communicate, especially with Millennials. So how does the largest generation to date actually communicate? Better yet, how can you better communicate with this trending generation?
Technology has played an enormous part in this Millennial generation since nearly half of them won’t know what a pager, rotary phone or even a fax machine is. The truth is that the Millennial generation has grown up in one of the heaviest evolutions of technology in our time. The introduction of the cell phone, laptop computers, tablets and TV’s that are paper thin, all have occurred in this generations upbringing, thus shaping their preferences. Millennials are unique relative to communication due to the simple fact that there isn’t a “one fits all” for this desirable market.
To examine the methods of communication that Millennials favor, let’s look into all of the possible medians that are available. It’s important to remember that while the Millennial generation may be the largest to date, they aren’t the entire population and while their communication methods may vary, other clients may prefer other methods.
Recent studies show that the Millennial generation don’t like to talk on the phone. They see an incoming phone call as disruptive and intrusive to their day to day plans. Most Millennials (72%) would prefer a textual based communication instead so they may receive, contemplate and reply at their leisure.
If a phone call is needed to finalize plans or to discuss possible options, scheduling a day and time is the most effective way to get a Millennial on the phone with their attention. Using a Calendar event is the best way to schedule the call and while Millennials are capable of creating one, take your customer service one extra step and email them an event invitation for them to quickly add to their calendar.
When on the phone, reports show that most Millennials favor the “straight to business” approach, cutting out most of the small talk and formalities. Millennials see their time as valuable and appreciate the ability to get things handled quickly and efficiently.
Do you remember when these messages were limited to 160 characters? I sure do and how times have changed! Today’s smartphones offer the ability to not only send limitless text messages but also to send video, photos, web based links, documents, emoji’s, and even hand written animations! With applications like iMessage on Apple iPhones and WhatsApp, communicating this way is a top trend for Millennials.
For you, communicating via text message is a benefit for a few reasons. You can archive the conversation for your safety in case there is a misunderstanding and also the ability to share pre-crafted messages with information. Being able to create these messages on your smartphone or computer allows you time and a means by which to edit and ensure that you are sending a professional correspondence.
Recent studies have shown that while on their vacation, Millennial travelers are 60% more likely to contact you via text message compared to any other form of communication. The convenience of not worrying about time changes and being a bother are near none, thus enabling your Millennial clients to communicate freely with you, their Travel Professional.
In App Messaging
Applications such as Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, SnapChat, LinkedIn and more offer the ability to Direct Message (DM) or message directly. Although each application’s messaging interface varies, the concept remains the same. Many Millennials have favored these In App messaging services but the preference is completely unique to each individual. Some people spend a majority of their time on Twitter, in that case the In App messaging in Twitter is obviously best. However, since there seems to be no “universal” preference here, you need to be able to pay attention to how communication is done and react accordingly.
If you find the In App messaging options a bit much, and I don’t blame you, an option would be to ask the potential client if they are open to communicating via email, text message or WhatsApp to avoid any possible irritations and confusion.
Believe it or not, despite all of the options that are available for textual communications now-a-days, Millennials still love their Email. Some studies indicate that Millennials appreciate the Email message because of the lack of timelines, allowing them time to actually think and reply at their leisure. A whooping 74% of Millennials either review, reply or check their emails during all waking hours, including nights and weekends.
With an estimated 205 billion emails sent every day, Email has not only stood strong through the changes of technology but grown through it. Communication via Email is not only efficient but also convenient. Most smartphone devices offer the ability to link multiple Email accounts to one device allowing for easy access when the time is appropriate. Communicating with a Millennial via Email is a fantastic option for your business as the message can show the thread of vacation or trip planning, contain vital information and also allow for a quick review when it comes time to put the plans into action.
Whether initial contact is made online, through your website, In App messaging or even a referral, make sure to ask for the potential client’s Email address up front. Assure them that you will not be spamming them, but want to communicate with them and share valuable information.
So what can we take away from this? The most important point I think to be made is to ASK what their preferences are and what is the best for them. Using something similar to the message below may be a great way to find out what communication method is best for them, and ultimately for you as well:
“Thank so much for your time and I really am excited to work with you on your next trip. I know that there are a lot of ways to communicate now-a-days, can you tell me what method is best for you? I have access to text messages, Emails, In App messengers, phone calls and even a fax machine! 🙂
Let me know what method you prefer and we can proceed that way. My goal is to make this trip planning process easy, enjoyable and seamless for you.”
Millennials will respond favorably to your honestly, humor and willingness to communicate with them in their preferred method. This generation has a heavy tendency to be loyal to companies, businesses, and individuals that do right by them. Once you have a Millennial as a client, the chances are that you will not only have them for life, but you will receive many referrals as a result of your hard work, service and professionalism.
Knowing any market is key to selling to it and in the third and final part of “The Millennial” series, we will look Tips and Tricks to Growing your Business with Millennials in our next issue of Travel Professional NEWS. Until next month, happy selling and thank you for being a part of Travel Professional NEWS.