To write about millennials is admitting there is an inexplicable social phenomenon occurring in a different stratosphere though this is Mother Earth and while I am identifying this new generation as a unique force to be reckoned with I am left feeling I am researching an alien race. Millennial behavior is driven by a more modern and sophisticated; fast-paced society dictated by social media and mobile technology. Ipods and tablets are part of their everyday accessory wear.
It is not surprising then to discover millennial travel habits have and will continue to affect luxury travel and the hospitality market for years to come. For instance, a majority of millennials live at home longer, prefer an easy work free life and are not particularly focused on opportunities offering a significant pay scale and therefore, are unable to maintain economic independence sooner.
A millennial is more likely to spend money on a bucket list experience rather than a basic vacation and prefer such an experience to the luxury factor. A lifetime experience is not about the luxury, but rather the culture thereby validating an authentic experience. In the future we will continue to see less focus from them on leisure vacations and more emphasis on real cultural and immersive experiences.
Millennials have grown up in a world of convenience and ease. With that said, millennials prefer the assistance of travel agents and DMC’s to create and organize their trips. And being they are more tech-savvy than older generations, it’s no surprise to learn that millennials use their tablets and smartphones to not only book their trips, but often use apps to discover and research their destinations and places of interest. It’s not about the distance – in fact, with limited budgets they’re more focused on overnight trips and staycations.
Expedia recently conducted a survey which discovered that millennials prefer to spend their company’s dime more freely when traveling on business especially when it comes to five star dining experiences and room service, are more likely to embrace loyalty programs (hotels and airlines as examples), and are more likely to extend a business trip into a vacation.
A millennial prefers the royal and more personalized treatment even if they do not have the budget. Millennials are driven by incentives and perks – upgrades and freebies. And millennials still prefer full service hotel resorts and all-inclusive resorts – with great travel programs.
Millennials are more likely to take longer vacations of at least two weeks when they have the budget and while less than half prefer international travel, they are still willing to travel further than older generations.
They are prone to book trips last minute and ultimately spend less by staying with friends and family when possible. And because they are tight on money and are last minute, they look for bargains and discounts where possible – such as no frill airlines and cheaper hotel brands.
The future of the luxury travel market remains a bit ambiguous. What is clear is that with less emphasis on luxury travel and more focus on discounts and incentives, luxury five star hospitality brands can be in jeopardy of losing their luster and appeal to this young generation. Right now I’m taking tech classes to become more tech-savvy so that at a click of a button on my mobile device I can create the ideal experience for Generation Y.