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Travel like you’re freestylin’, because its hip among ‘em kids

October 20, 2017 OTA News No Comments Email Email

You’ve watched the show, haven’t you? Then you’re in the know. Freestyling has taken the town by storm. Fortunately, it doesn’t take a MC to spit bars in the world of travelling. Rather than battling on a stage, travellers do their freestyle thing by globetrotting off the beaten track, doing what they like with minimal planning and spending. According to a recent Hotels.com™ survey, the freestyle-loving ones are, to no one’s surprise, chiefly millennials. The mode which these young, spontaneous travellers adopt is spreading and is getting more and more popular among their peers. They are slowly but surely becoming a whole new segment of its own, a segment Hotels.com refers to as ‘freestyle travellers’.


In early September, Hotels.com surveyed 300 post-secondary graduates aged between 18 and 25 and asked them of their travel preferences. By targeting this specific demographic, the hotel expert can examine the impact of income and how being in the ‘honeymoon stage’ of life can affect the millennial undergraduates and fresh graduates’ behaviours regarding vacation.


‘Don’t just take our word for it – 78% of our respondents agree that freestyle travel is trending among millennials – and they themselves are millennials! And this peculiar segment is special for various reasons. They are unlike any demographics at any point in history. At Hotels.com, we strive to keep abreast on what our customers want and aspire at different stages of life. While it’s very interesting to see how they enjoy travel before and after graduation, what’s important is how we understand and cope with their evolving aspirations,’ said Jessica Chuang, Regional Marketing Director of Greater China, Southeast Asia and India from Hotels.com brand.


In examining the survey results, Hotels.com identified five key characteristics that these ‘freestyle travellers’ exhibit.


‘Freestyle is key’ – no plan is the best plan

They’re young and wild and free, and couldn’t care less if things don’t turn out the way they thought it would be. As long as they’ve got out of town, they’re happy, mostly. Freestyle travellers want freedom (51%) and flexibility (32%)62% are totally cool with plans changing in the last minute and 67% even had the experience of shaking things up the night before. To them, what matters most is freedom, and everything else is secondary. When they’re experiencing life in a different culture, any hiccups in their plans are A-OK.  According to the survey, millennials think “no plan”, “no wake-up call” and “free to make last-minute change” are important components of freestyle travel.


‘My friends and I’ – I want it my way

Travelling solo is trending as 25% of respondents are fine with travelling with ‘me, myself and I’, but the journey’s often double the fun with double the people, after all it’s not where you go, it’s who you go with. When it comes to choosing a travel buddy, the first choice for freestyle travellers is their own romantic partner (48%), followed by friends and schoolmates (28%). Freestyle travellers also tend to know what they want, but they might not agree with each other. Over two-thirds (68%) of respondents said they have argued with their travel partner before. And with so many of them opting to travel with their significant other, it’s a problem. And what do they argue about? Most (72%) reported to have had their expectations of their trip fail them, and more than half (57%) said they didn’t particularly enjoy the pace which their partner took during a previous trip.


‘Mobile makes changes easy’ – book as we go!

Mobile and Wi-Fi are considered the primary means of realising freestyle travel. Millennials usually book hotels online via either an app (56%) or online platforms (69%), anytime, anywhere.  23% of the freestyle travellers have even experienced last-minute booking during a trip. They just booked as they go!


‘Optimised time usage’ – no money no talk

The saying goes: time is money. But most millennials have neither. Most millennial respondents are fresh graduates with limited budget, which translates to budget becoming one of their biggest barriers for freestyle travel (72%), followed by annual leaves (64%). When time becomes another limiting factor after graduation, convenience (85%) becomes the primary concern for choice of hotels though price (82%) still matters.


‘Farther! Longer!’ – the ideal freestyle destinations

Millennials love travel for sure that 41% of respondents travelled at least 3-4 times in the past 24 months, just their hotel preferences may evolve as they grow. Before graduation, respondents are more price-conscious, so they prefer staying in breakfast and bed lodgings (51%) and hostels (40%). As for destinations, short to mid-haul destinations such as Taiwan (57%) and Japan (49%) dominate the popularity vote for undergrads. After graduation, millennials are keen to splurge a bit by staying in resorts (49%) and boutique hotels (48%), while their love for hostels drop significantly to only 21%. Their preferred travel destinations also diversify after graduation, other than Japan (63%) and Taiwan (36%), respondents also enjoy flying to long haul locations such as the U.K. (29%) and U.S. (18%). For their ideal freestyle travel destinations, Japan (21%), the U.K. (17%) and Taiwan (14%) top the list. And if they could, they’d want to have a longer trip – 40% respondents said they want their freestyle trips to last over two weeks.


Chuang added: ‘Millennials desire unique travel experiences and to travel freestyle is their way of getting their fix. Hotels.com has over 435,000 accommodation options ranging from resorts, boutique hotels, hostels, bed & breakfasts, to international chains and more. We put in our utmost effort to improve our services and offerings so we can meet the demands of our customers at different stages of life. For instance, the freestyle travellers can use our app to book whatever, whenever and wherever they want. Just like how they like it.”

But wait, there’s more! Hotels.com recently took a crew to hit the streets to get some footages of millennials talking about their travel preferences, and is pleased to confirm that they are indeed an adventurous bunch. And of course, no interview is truly complete without a few oddball questions to throw the interviewees off guard… Stay tuned and check out the video on Hotels.com Facebook Page or Hotels.com YouTube Channel!

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