Keeping pace with a changing Gen Y
THE TRAVEL INDUSTRY NEEDS TO BE AWARE OF SUCH CHANGES BECAUSE MILLENNIALS ARE ENTERING INTO PEAK INFLUENCE AS BUSINESS TRAVEL CONSUMERS.
MILLENNIALS, also known as Gen Y or the Me Generation, are moving into a new life stage.
The 18 to 35-year-olds are becoming responsible parents and assertive business travellers. The travel industry needs to be aware of such changes because millennials are entering into peak influence as business travel consumers.
Their consumption preferences will continue to define much of the travel industry’s services and products for at least the next 15 years or so.
Their impact shows in many small ways. For example, food remains a strong driver when they travel.
They want healthy, nutritional choices such as carrot sticks and humus. No more fried chips and “Franken meats” for their kids.
Millennials account for a third of spending on business flights now. This will grow to around 50 per cent by 2020. Expect the same to be true for the hotel sector.
Research shows that 60 per cent of millennial business travellers are happy to pay for premium services that improve the seamlessness of their trip, especially if it supports their appetite for technology.
Because millennials have grown up valuing co-operative environments, they like work spaces where they can collaborate and share.
They choose hotels that can offer opportunities such as co- working meeting spaces with free Wi-Fi and barista coffee.
In loyalty programs, millennials want unique benefits, accessed fast using modern technology, such as the latest apps linked to social media.
Saying that millennials are not brand loyal is a misconception. They like brands that align with their values, needs and preferences.
However, be aware that they don’t like a hard sell. They prefer subtle and genuine marketing messages that educate them.
Millennials tend to trust sources such as family, friends or their favourite social influencer. They can see marketing fraud and corporate speak a mile away.
Accordingly, they like to receive authentic messages and don’t mind if your corporate video is not highly produced – as long as it’s genuine.
Millennials are now bread and butter for the travel and hospitality industry. So we have to adapt to their needs.
Those needs are in marketing, too. A generation that is defined by instant gratification needs actionable information and it needs it now.
If your destination or business cannot provide the information or content that millennials want, they will abandon you and Google another business that can service them in the micro-moment.
Make your brand easy to book.
Millennials are impatient and will quickly abandon you if the online process is not straight forward. Evidence shows, email remains the number one way in which millennials like to keep up with brand news.
However, your travel brand still needs to be seen on social media. When it comes to authenticity in travel marketing, millennials don’t want brochure experiences. They want to check out the local scene and go where the locals hang out. We reap what we sow. The rise of mobile technology and the new socio, economic and political realities following the global financial crash have helped mould a millennial mindset very different from the freewheeling and self-reliant Baby Boomers of yesteryear.
However, by understanding the new expectations, pressures and preferences on our ageing millennials, the travel industry will be better placed to meet their needs, and meet those needs profitably.
Peak millennial is still on the way.
INDUSTRY-DEFINING: Millennial travellers will continue to shape travel services and products for years.