“Many in the travel industry are focussed on establishing an authentic profile of the Millennial Traveller, and for good reason,” said Rick Mulia, Chief Advertising and Sales Officer for Wego. “Considered the next baby boomers, Millennial Travellers in the US alone will reach 78 million by 2020, and outnumber baby boomers by 18 million.”
By 2020 spending by Millennials on goods and services will reach USD$1.4 trillion, up from US$600 billion in 2013. To effectively reach this market, largely born between 1984 and 2004, Mulia says that travel marketers need to rethink their approach and be able to sort through, and go beyond existing myths.
“Some travel marketers are doing a great job, but unfortunately more are getting it wrong,” Mulia said. “It’s not quite as simple as relying on a set of common, and rather vague signals, including reliance on travel review sites, the use of metasearch, mobile usage, social media and continuous connectivity.”
“Some of these signals, such as connectivity and social media usage are important, yet fairly obvious and not restricted to Millennials either, but at Wego, we’ve dug deeper, beyond vague interpretations. Reliance on these assumptions alone will not deliver, or more importantly connect, marketers to the Millennial Traveller.”
“Travel reviews are popular, however Millennials are far more influenced by family and friends when it comes to making travel choices, and don’t rely solely on review sites to make their decisions,” he continued. “Another myth is that Millennials prefer travelling solo, yet a 2013 BCG study found that Millennials enjoy travelling in organised groups, or with extended family or friends, so if your strategy is focussed on individual travel experiences, you could be missing the mark.”
“At Wego we advise our advertising clients to approach Millennial Travellers by focusing on a good mobile experience, integrating clever social media and ensuring the path to purchase is as frictionless as possible,” Mulia added. “Their content needs to cut through the noise, communicate with authentic messaging and create a seamless process from planning, booking and undertaking a trip.”
“Yet another myth is that Millennials are extremely budget conscious,” Mulia continued. “However the truth is that they want what we all do; great value without missing out on those added comforts, which make a huge impression on them. In this way they’re actually driving changes in the way the travel industry caters to them already.”
“Starwood’s Aloft Hotel, for example, which is designed to appeal to the Millennials with the slogan ‘Style at a steal’, removed their lobby restaurant and business centre and replaced them with a Starbucks-style, pay as you go, beverage and snack bar.”
“Hotels are evolving to become more frequently ‘un-hotels’,” said Mulia. “They’re rethinking the bed/bathroom concept to appear less like a hotel room, and more like a home away from home. Accommodation like Zoku in Amsterdam, which is more like a temporary residence than a hotel room, are very popular with Millennials. The smart, compact design, appeals to their desire for great style, but at a budget price.”
Airlines too are especially targeting Millennials with Premium Economy seats, delivering an affordable, yet slightly more comfortable flight experience.
“Wego has now introduced the option of searching Premium Economy airfares and invested heavily in developing the Wego travel app to ensure the travel planning and booking experience is seamless and intuitive,” he said. “No matter what, if you’re in the business of travel it’s imperative you consistently evolve and deliver fresh experiences that provide great value, and approach your marketing strategies in the same manner.”
“Forget the myths, the Millennial Traveller is smart, informed, tech savvy and mingles with a lot of like-minded travellers. Their presence in the travel market is still developing and smart marketers will remain open to developing with them, by remaining flexible and responsive to fully meet their needs,” Mulia concluded.