It’s 2019, and it’s clear that millennials have a definite impact on travel and tourism than any other generational group. Around 20% of international travelers are young travelers of millennial generation, who value experiences over material possessions.
Boston Consulting Group, in its report, suggests millennials will account for almost 50% of travel spending by 2020. A high spending segment with very distinct travel preference is a reality that hospitality industry has been learning to accept and adjust.
Millennials, who were born between 80s and 90s, comprise almost half of the global workforce. Technologically sound with strong online presence, social and worldly, they have different set of values and expectations. They cherish individuality and prefer personalized travel experience. A cookie-cutter approach of traditional marketing does not work with them. Hotel needs to deliver customer journeys tailored to the changing travel habits of this segment.
To help you better connect with the millennials, we’ve got some quick tactics. You might be already be doing some of things we’re going suggest, which is great. However, you can always fine-tune and add more to your strategy while exploring our ideas.
- Online booking – give the channel for online booking a boost – Boost the online booking system so that it is fast and does not take much time for completion of the booking. The system should have the ability to push promotions across social media.
The millennials are tech savvy and they would do extensive research prior to booking.
i) Go for an in depth check of the website for your hotel and then get the site updated with all features and images that will help you attract millennials. They are the original smartphone generation with 43% checking their phones every five minutes. They use it to stay social, connect with people, take photos, do businesses and make purchases. If your hotel website is not mobile optimized and looks un-attractive to them, they will simply move to another site. Invest on a website which is fast, responsive and visually enriched.
ii) One reason OTAs are scoring high is their user-friendly interface. Most OTAs follow a simple booking process which is also highly secure. Invest in a booking system which is simple, stable and secure. Millennials know technology and are used to seamless buying experiences from applications like Amazon or Uber. Unless you live up to their expectation, they will look for another option.
2. Millennials are price conscious and will not waste money
While millennials are the biggest spenders, however, unlike the earlier generations, they do not like to overspend. A generation that was most hit by global recession and education loan, millennials look for deals and often shop for last minute deals and alternative housing like camping or homestays. Given their busy work schedule, they prioritize shorter trips making memorable experiences out of lower budgets and tighter schedules.
This is one generation which have grown up with online travel agents and are familiar with their booking process. However, as they look for a more holistic experience, they are exploring new opportunities from a value and service perspective. To attract them to book direct, hotels need to ensure that their offers and rates are as good or even better than OTAs. Millennials are used to flexible terms and conditions, and expect no less from your direct booking engine. If your rates are just in parity with OTAs, they might go for the OTAs given their comfort factor with the travel websites. Provide additional value as Book Direct rewards like free parking, wifi or loyalty bonus.
3. Millennial Family Travel is on Rise
Depending on time when they were born, millennials have very distinct preferences, with the travel journey of millennials varies based their life stages. Some of them, who are in the early stage of adulthood are still exploring their preference, while elders in the category have families. While the young ones often look for traveling solo in off-beaten adventures, those with family have more different sets of priorities. According to a survey by Resonance Consultancy, millennials with kids prioritize on safety, lower prices and convenience when considering their vacation plans. Digitally savvy, they take months to plan and visit multiple sites to compare prices before booking. Interestingly elder millennials with kids are almost as comfortable in experiencing urban life as their elder generations preference for beach resorts.
Major hotel chains are taking note of this change in travel habit. As more and more millennials see local experiences, out-of-the-way places and genuine connections with locals, hotels are increasingly collaborating with cooperating with local guides and teaming up with local restaurants to show off the region’s cuisine.
4. Add visual pleasure to hotels
One thing that drives the millennials to travel is the social currency. According to a study by UK based Schofields, the millennial choice of holiday destination is being driven by how ‘Instagrammable’ it is. 40% of those surveyed with 18-33 put picture-worthiness of a particular place over other factors such as cost, local cuisine and availability of alcohol with sightseeing being the lowest priority.
In a similar way, over 42% Facebook posts by millennials are about travel. They connect with their families and friends over social networking platform and expect the same from hotels. For hotels this gives a unique opportunity to catch the attention of millennials and get their booking. However posting content on social media would not make millennials book property. Millennials expect personalization and customer engagement can make a lot of difference.
Compared to older generations, millennials have distinctly different travel expectations and behaviours compared to other generations. Travel companies need to align themselves with the changing mindset in order to make themselves relevant with this generation. When this tactic is executed well, travel companies are satisfied with the results.