Mil­len­nial Odyssey

For to­day’s trav­el­ers, dig­i­tal is in the DNA

Business Traveler (USA) - - FRONT PAGE - By Ram­sey Qubein

Seated next to you on the plane to­day is a new gen­er­a­tion of trav­eler, the 21st cen­tury flier, who may have dif­fer­ent goals and de­sires than pas­sen­gers from decades gone by. To­day’s trav­eler op­er­ates at a faster pace, man­ages a slew of online tools to con­duct their travel, and re­lies upon in­stan­ta­neous feed­back to their needs to en­able per­son­al­ized choices.

Millennials – that gen­er­a­tion born be­tween about 1980 and 2000 – are hit­ting the road, and not with old­fash­ioned rec­tan­gu­lar brief­cases, but snazzy mes­sen­ger bags and new-fan­gled back­packs with sep­a­rate com­part­ments for lap­tops and iPads. And travel com­pa­nies are tak­ing no­tice, with new of­fer­ings to cash in on the value this trav­eler presents to plump up their bot­tom line.

A re­cent Fu­ture of Travel study con­ducted by Ex­pe­dia sur­veyed nearly 9,000 trav­el­ers across two dozen coun­tries to dis­cover their travel pat­terns and find out what they liked and dis­liked about their travel ex­pe­ri­ence. Millennials, the fo­cus of the Ex­pe­dia sur­vey, hold the key to the fu­ture of the travel in­dus­try as they in­creas­ingly gain the abil­ity to di­rect com­pany travel spend, thus af­fect­ing the shape of the travel in­dus­try mov­ing for­ward into the fu­ture.

Apps Re­di­rect Con­trol

Putting the trav­eler in con­trol has been the modus operandi of al­most ev­ery trav­el­re­lated busi­ness in the past few years. Tech­nol­ogy can lessen the work­load of air­lines and ho­tels, and put the onus on the con­sumer to han­dle more of their ex­pe­ri­ence. And millennials want and ap­pre­ci­ate that.

Ho­tels are cre­at­ing op­tions for trav­el­ers to check in on mo­bile apps be­fore they reach the front desk, sim­ply al­low­ing them to col­lect their key cards from a kiosk. Air­lines are pro­vid­ing in­creased trans­parency into up­grade and standby lists via their apps. This gives fliers the chance to ad­just their travel plans on their own in the event of a de­lay. Car rental com­pa­nies al­low renters to make book­ings on their phones and later pe­ruse the lot of avail­able op­tions and sim­ply se­lect the ve­hi­cle that best suits their style.

What does this say about to­day’s con­sumer? Well, per­haps that we are im­pa­tient and par­tic­u­lar. Or per­haps that we are sim­ply ac­cus­tomed to sat­is­fy­ing our pref­er­ences im­me­di­ately and will do busi­ness with the travel provider that makes it eas­i­est to do so.Yes, to­day’s trav­eler wants to have con­trol of their jour­ney from start to fin­ish. Af­ter all, wait­ing in line is so…last cen­tury.

Rec­og­nize Me

One in­nate hu­man de­sire, no mat­ter who we are, is to be rec­og­nized and ap­pre­ci­ated. Ev­ery­one val­ues a smile, use of their name, and even that rare, al­beit wel­comed thank you. No mat­ter what air­line cabin you fly, what ho­tel chain you use, or what type of car ser­vice, if any, you use, to­day’s trav­eler sim­ply wants to feel ap­pre­ci­ated.

More and more com­pa­nies are tak­ing ad­van­tage of cus­tomer man­age­ment databases that store in­for­ma­tion on

To­day’s trav­eler wants to have con­trol of their jour­ney from start to fin­ish. Af­ter all, wait­ing in line is so … last cen­tury

users’wants and his­tory to pro­vide a more tai­lored ser­vice. They are be­ing in­cor­po­rated into the loy­alty pro­grams of travel com­pa­nies to pro­vide laser-like tar­get­ing of of­fers cus­tom­ized to what cus­tomers ac­tu­ally pre­fer.

This means that air­lines al­ready know the types of fares you buy, your travel pat­terns, and maybe even the last time you

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Canada

© PressReader. All rights reserved.