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Understanding the Millennial Traveler

Understanding the Millennial Traveler

Millennials are relying on travel agents in record numbers. Here’s what you need to know about the Millennial traveler to improve your travel knowledge:

Who is the Millennial traveler?

If you hadn’t guessed it by now, Millenials are the generation born between the early-1980’s to the mid-1990’s, give or take a few years. They’re outpacing the Boomers as the largest current generation of consumers. This generation was 5 to 20 years old when the 9/11 terrorist attacks took place. They understood the historical significance of the event and helped shape the political environment of today. They are the most ethnically and racially diverse adult generation in our nation’s history–however, the next generation, Gen Z, is even more diverse.

As for their traveling styles, Millennials value travel the most out of all generations. Many even budget travel into their financial goals. They tend to spend more on their vacations, spending $4,594 in the last year and taking 3.5 trips–averaging $1,312 on each getaway. And they intend on taking more! Millennials aren’t huge planners either– 49% say they take last minute vacations. How do you find your travel inspiration? Millennials look to social media for theirs, 87% of them. Usually, they are browsing social media through their phones and do a lot of travel research. Studies have shown that most people purchase via desktop, but nearly half of Millennials book travel through a smartphone or tablet.

Millennials want specialized experiences

The Millennial generation puts a high priority on being unique. Part of that uniqueness is experiencing culturally rich and fulfilling experiences through travel. They are unlike the travelers before them. They want a customized experience all their own. Many don’t seek the traditional beach vacation–they might seek an authentic experience with an undiscovered beach instead. However, most want to see the world and discover the unexpected.

Millennial travelers vs. other generations

According to the “2017 Portrait of American Travelers”, 33% of Millennials say they intend to utilize the services of a travel agent over the next two years–that’s twice as many as Gen Xers (17%) and Baby Boomers (18%). And the “How America Travels” national study from the American Society of Travel Agents also indicates that Millennials are more likely to use a travel agent. A healthy 44% of them said that using an agent is “worth it,” compared to 33% and 34% of Gen Xers and Boomers. Gen Z on the other hand, spent a majority of their travel budget on flights and seek cheaper accommodations, whereas Millennials seek comfort and worry-free travel.

What this means for travel agents

Because this generation wants a unique travel experience, they are more likely to use travel agents than any other U.S. demographic. Are you marketing to this cohort?

Referral marketing is still king with these guys. Would your Boomer clients refer you? If they would there’s a good chance your Millennial ones would too, 45% said they are likely to recommend a travel agent to a friend. Generally, any consumer who uses travel agents spends more on travel than those who book trips themselves. Most Millennials are very well connected–when travel agents and agencies have a secure online presence, they’re going to be more reachable by millennials and younger generations. Prepare for the future. The generation after Millennials, Gen Z, will completely dismiss your brand if your online presence is garbage.

Most if not all of Millennials are on social media, 97% of them will share their experience on social media. This might be something to tap into? Your clients are already sharing their experiences–why not create a referral program offering your current clients something in exchange for promoting your service along with their travel experience?

Looking ahead

Clearly, Millennials are the generation you want to start focusing your business on. Keep in mind though, although Millennials have the ‘want’ to travel–Boomers still have the money to travel. Don’t ditch all your clients for Millennials. However, you will want to look at your current marketing efforts. Would I attract a Millennial customer? Look at your website, your social pages, even your personal branding. Get your business ready for the Millennials, because Gen Z won’t be as forgiving. Look ahead and make necessary changes to build your brand.

Macy Maxson

As Digital Marketing Strategist at Centrav, Macy loves all things marketing. Her passion is to help travel professionals run their business well and succeed! Her favorite destinations to travel to include the Caribbean and Europe.

1 comment

  • Great Article! Thanks Centrav for valuing the travel agent community! I’ve enjoyed doing business with you as an agency owner and has an independent contractor now for the last 10 years.