Millennials. The love to hate age group known for their mostly contradictory behavior. The dichotomy between searching for instant-gratification through incessant need for change and the constant seeking of advice and guidance through any and all outlets seems to sum up where their heads are at. While many employers attribute these various “faults”, per-se, to a downfall in the workforce, the travel industry is only benefitting from them. Over the last few years, the travel and tourism industry has been on a steady upward trend, with millennials being a main driving factor for this growth. But what exactly is driving this new itch for adventure, and how can the travel industry keep up, continuing to curate and personalize trips that meet millennials’ needs?
Packing a bag and diving into a new adventure is no foreign concept to this demographic. Labeled the “experience generation”, this age group is much more prone to investing their money in travel and experiential activities rather than long-term items. And with limitless resources available to make this happen, the idea of personalizing their own travel has become more and more appealing. According to new data released through The American Express Future of Travel and the American Express Spending and Saving Tracker, 70% of millennials would rather put in the effort to plan a personalized trip. The motivation? Convenience. Having the flexibility to go where they want, when they want, and to do whatever they may please not only meets these self-gratifying needs, but also seems to be easier today now more than ever. With the rise of social media and the abundance of peer-to-peer reviews, it’s no wonder this age group has been freely booking travel with every paycheck they receive.
The constant push-pull between disconnecting while on vacation and documenting every last bite taken has become a new-age struggle, and one that this generation of travelers so often faces. Instagram is known to be the main outlet for this sharing experience, and with the added option for users to geotag the location and tag the exact venue, travelers will have no trouble finding the hit spots in each destination. The popularity of these places online goes hand in hand with their credibility, as they continue to draw in a following from this demographic. The success of these peer-to-peer recommendations has not gone unseen, as now travelers are turning to blogs and experiential articles for this same effect. Any sort of post that recommends the hidden gems in a city is likely to attract these travelers, especially when coming from a “reliable source”, aka someone of the same audience. These local spots tend to embody the authenticity of the place, leading visitors to be more and more inclined to try it out.
At the end of the day, authenticity is really what millennials are seeking when it comes to building out their trip’s itineraries. Now more than ever these travelers are finding the best ways to fully immerse themselves within a place, finding reviews and recommendations from those who have experienced it themselves. As travel booking continues to shift based off of what millennials are seeking, companies in the industry can continue to shift with it by knowing just what they are looking for. Finding the destination is easy, but planning the itinerary while there is what counts. Millennials may be known for being indecisive, but at least with their inspiration for travel, they know what they want.