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All You Need to Know about Millennials Changing the Travel Industry

Born between the early 1980s and the early 2000s, Millennials now outnumber Baby Boomers. Let’s face it; with 77 million Millennials, this generation is changing the travel industry.

In a 2015 report released by L.E. Hotels, “more than 51.5% of travel agents said they see growth in the number of Millennial clients. Over the past two years, 60% of agents had new business from Millennial clients.”

Millennials love adventure! Tour operators, hotels and resorts, and cruise ships need to align tours, activities, and more that fit the needs of Millennial travelers. Why? Because by 2020 they’ll take about 47% more international trips and expect to have authentic and unique experiences. They also expect travel companies to listen to their feedback, which can be an invaluable resource when connecting with them.

Now is the time to stay on top of the trends with Millennials! Read on to learn the ways they’re changing the travel industry.

These Are the Ways Millennials Are Changing the Travel Industry

Choose Their Next Travel Destination Based on a Friend’s Recommendations

Millennials are the most online generation. They follow their friends on Instagram, Snapchat, Facebook, Pinterest and Twitter. They’re reading comments and recommendations and are more likely to book their travel with an agent who has great reviews and testimonials. The same goes for tour operators and hotels and resorts. Millennials will also gravitate toward travel companies that provide a human and personal touch both on social media and through other communication such as email marketing and phone [texting is appreciated]. Authenticity is important!

Prefer Unique Hotel Experiences

Millennial travelers seek unique hotel experiences. This means current hotels may get makeovers to suit this generation’s needs. For example, Marriott International recognizes that Millennials prefer unique experiences vs. cookie-cutter hotels and they will take this into consideration in the design of hotels in the coming years. Also, Millennials prefer to be near public transportation so they can easily leave their hotel room and explore a city, but they want to mix and mingle with others too. Because of this trend, hotels are increasing their social lobby areas. Millennials can plug in their devices and work and socialize at the same time.

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Eating Local Cuisine is Important

It’s important for Millennials to eat local cuisine. Not only does this support local businesses, but the food is fresh and home grown. Plus, eating local is more of an immersive experience when compared to eating at a ‘chain’ restaurant or even in the hotel restaurant. Although, the latter may feature meals that use locally grown foods – it’s good for the environment and sustainability.

Seek Experiences in Far Off and Exotic Destinations and in Their Backyard

According to MMGY Global’s 2015 Portrait of American Travelers (POAT), “Millennials are interested in having travel experiences in far off and more exotic locales and in their own backyard.” Europe and South America top their bucket lists with Thailand being the most popular Asian destination. Millennial interest in cruise vacations is even on the rise. But they also seek adventures in their own backyard. Millennials want ‘staycations’ where they can vacation close to home vs. traveling great distances. They prefer to stay in one place and unwind, want to spend more time with family and friends, or save money for another, perhaps larger vacation.

Trendy Millennials Are Changing the Travel Industry

Don’t call Millennials “tourists” because they’re far from it. They want and crave adventure and seek unique and authentic travel experiences. For example, instead of riding the elevator to the top of the Eiffel Tower in Paris, France, Millennials would climb the stairs. This lends itself to selfies and photo collages posted on their social media networks.

Travel agents should keep in mind that Millennials trust their friends. They follow and read comments and recommendations. Standard advertising and marketing practices doesn’t work with this generation. You have to get personal and relate to them on a ‘human’ level. Marketing should have a personal touch. Ask for and share video and written testimonial from Millennial clients. Consider implementing a friendly referral system. Create contests and post them on your social networks, too. Be real, be engaging!

If you’re a travel agent who’s not working with Millennials, you’re missing out on a great opportunity. Not only can you plan unique trips, but you can get to know this generation on a more personal level. The reality is that Millennials want what everyone else wants – to have immersive travel experiences where they create and share memories.