Written By: Bob Hornal, Founder and President – Best Quote Travel Insurance
Discover how to attract Millennial travelers to your destination.
Who do you think travels more: millennials or baby boomers?
The answer goes against logic.
Baby boomers are entering retirement and have more time and money. Millennials have long cried out about poor job markets and struggling to make ends meet. Yet research shows that millennials travel more than any other generational group, with an average of 35 days per year.
Let’s explore the new millennial travel age and what tourism-reliant businesses can do to attract this wanderlusting segment.
Millennial Travel: By the Numbers
Millennials aren’t just traveling more – they’re also spending more.
Over 80% of millennials say they prefer worry-free travel like all-inclusive resorts and done-for-you planning. The majority are staying in hotels rather than cost-saving alternatives like Airbnbs. They’re not as “deal-conscious” as you may believe, and they prefer simplicity and comfort to saving money – though money is still an object to a degree.
While 60 million households are planning to spend what amounts to 1% less on travel compared to 2016, the 9.5 million houses that millennials represent are planning to spend nearly 20% more.
Part of what’s fueling these figures is the prevalent millennial desire to get the most from every trip. They’re craving customized travel that caters to specific interests, such as kayaking, music festivals, or backpacking – and the more unique the trip, the more rewarding.
How to Sell to Millennials
Simply put, millennials aren’t the norm. They’re traveling more frequently and spending more in the process. They appreciate deals but won’t prioritize them over convenience or comfort. If you want to attract their business, you’ll need to emphasize more than just a good price.
Here are a few ideas to help you navigate this shift:
Experiences; Not Things
Millennial travelers are placing more emphasis on experiences. They’d rather spend their money on an epic trip abroad than hitting the mall. This is good news for traditional travel partners like hotels, restaurants, and tour guides. It has also increased the need for travel protection, such as IEC insurance.
When marketing to millennial travelers, businesses should focus on what millennials can expect from their experience of the destination. It’s not just about what they’ll get – it’s more about how it will make them feel and the value it will add to their lives.
Emphasize the Local Aspect
Millennials are more likely to go on daring trips, especially abroad where they can engage in culture and cuisine (which they’ll then post pictures to their social media profiles). This connects with their values for uniqueness and experience over things, giving them an opportunity to visit places their peers haven’t yet seen.
Businesses should include the local aspect of their services to stand out to millennials. This is the generation that prefers mom and pop shops over chain restaurants and corporations when traveling. They don’t want a cookie-cutter experience that they can get anywhere – they prefer to savor the fine details of what makes a destination special.
Get Social Proof
Millennials are the social generation. They conduct day-to-day business, plan events, build relationships, and document their lives on Facebook and Instagram. To them, it’s just a way of life, and if businesses want to be part of it, they’ll need to work on building social proof that shows they’re worthy.
Social media is one of your most powerful marketing tools. When millennials see that others are visiting your business or sharing your content, they know there’s a good reason for it. Some of your greatest reviews will be on Instagram and the importance of understanding influencers will be your best asset.
Reputation Is Travel Gold
Whether you’re actively engaged in social media is irrelevant. If you cater to travelers, people are sharing their experiences with your business online. Ideally, you’re an active part of that conversation and are monitoring your star ratings, reviews, and any negative comments that come your way.
Millennials are most likely to check out a restaurant or hotel online before giving it their business. It’s become something of a habit rather than an afterthought and can impact your success in attracting them.
Start shaping your online reputation by asking customers to rate their experiences online, leave good reviews, and share your content on social media.
Becoming a Top Millennial Travel Destination
Millennials are the first generation that grew up with online technology all around them. They’re no stranger to the web and have been the generation behind social media’s success. They’re more likely to travel to destinations or events they discover online, and even more likely to share their experiences on social media as proof they’ve been part of something interesting.
If you want to know how to sell travel to millennials, you must first accept that the way “it’s always been done” won’t cut it with this group. The more unique you can appear, the more desirable you can become – and that’s an experience worth paying for.