Are Millennials Different – Or Just Young?

Technology-savvy Millennials are seen by many in the international tourism industry as a new key market to generate much of the industry’s targeted growth in the coming years. Tourism experts discussed at the Pisa forum whether today’s young generation is fundamentally different to previous generations or not.

Often defined as people born between 1980 and 2000 (and thus currently aged 16-36), European Millennials went on about 150 million outbound trips in 2015, according to IPK International’s World Travel Monitor®. This represented about a third of all European outbound trips, and thus a sizeable market segment, IPK marketing consultant Fenja Weberskirch said.

However, “there is little significant difference in the travel patterns of European Millennials and overall outbound travellers,” she explained. The proportion of holidays out of total trips, the length of trip and the type of accommodation booked were all very similar, the 2015 data showed. The main difference was in spending with European Millennials spending less on outbound travel than older travellers. However, as the younger generation, this would be expected due to their lower income levels, she commented.

 

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 “Millennials Want Authentic Travel Experiences”

Nevertheless, the 1.8 billion Millennials worldwide do display some particular characteristics that influence their travel behaviour, Sarah Catlett, Senior Vice President with global consultants Kantar Futures, told forum participants.

For example, this “first global generation” seeks authenticity, is very adaptable yet also has come of age with a built-in expectation of having control of their activities. In travel terms, they want to experience new cultures, blend experiences across different types of trips, encounter and engage with local people and have authentic experiences, she explained. Moreover, she claimed that technology-savvy Millennials are happy for their personal data to be used in order to create individualised travel experiences, such as through mobile apps offering specific personalised access and services.

For destinations, these factors mean that to attract Millennial travellers they have to be “genuine and creative”, offering a mix of adventure and relaxation, she advised. In addition, they should offer ‘seamless travel experiences’ by using technology to simplify and streamline how Millennials find and enjoy their destination offerings and experiences.

Source: ITB World Travel Trends Report 2016/17

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