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.

The Cairns Post - - BUSINESS WEEK - BRON­WYN WHITE Bron­wyn White is the co­founder and strate­gist for MyTrav­elRe­search.com

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.

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