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The M Word: Learning from Millennial Travel Trends

The M Word: Learning from Millennial Travel Trends
7 April 2017 James Brooke

Millennials; mocked in tabloids but embraced by entrepreneurs, they’re predicted to be the biggest spenders in the travel economy by 2020, so it’s vital the industry knows how to relate to, communicate with and serve this audience.

Of course, good communicators can relate to all generations and audience, but with millennials there is often too much temptation to believe everything should just be hyper social (despite millennials putting greater emphasis on traditional media when journey planning) or created on the promise of free beer, a smartphone and never-ending Wi-Fi.

Scratch beneath the stereo type surface and we’ll see millennials creating trends based on entrepreneurialism, opportunism and adventure rather than entitlement that are changing the way everyone will travel.

2 in 1 travel

Needing to make the most of every penny of disposable income and embracing every day of annual leave, millennials are shunning direct flights and turning stop-overs into opportunities to do more, see more and experience more. We know that nearly half of millennials will consider two destinations at once when researching travel, so why not visit two places at the same time.

Rooster client, WOW air is a case in point – where cynics first viewed Reykjavik stop-overs as a cash-saving compromise, the millennial spirit says why not soak up the Blue Lagoon for 48 hours before heading onward to the US. Planning creatively and embracing stop-offs for even shorter trips often means less sitting by the pool and instead exciting and varied itineraries to see more bang for your buck.

No frills

There is more to affordability than embracing stop-overs, as for many, cost-cutting is making air travel affordable in the first place, and besides, if you’re not going to use, need, or want something, why pay for it?

By removing TV monitors, on-board food and hold luggage, you can suddenly fly to the same destination for a fraction of the price; British Airways are the latest to jump into the affordable travel pool with their new ‘no frills’ airline Levels, appealing to this new flying clientele.

Besides, why pay an airline to choose your entertainment when you’ve got your favourite box-set and Spotify playlists waiting for you on your smartphone, and why would a generation who are systematically rejecting the ownership of physical possessions be that worried about travelling with hand-luggage.

Working the world

The millennial mind-set is most evident when it comes to the world of employment. The corporate world and the prospect of living to work has lost its appeal, with younger people seeking social purpose, challenging work, job satisfaction and flexibility from their careers, often at the expense of a bigger pay check.

Enter the rise of Bleisure travel. According to recent research, 46% of working professionals now add annual leave or weekends to business trips to embrace the opportunity for travel and adventure. Add to this the rise of flexible and remote working with the increase freelancing, the lines between work and ‘the rest of the world’ are being blurred and millennials are at the forefront of blurring those lines.

Experiences over ephemera

A recent study making the rounds is how millennials pick travel based on it being ‘Instagrammable’. However instead of dismissing this as shallow, it instead shows the need for unique experiences and the fundamental urge to see the world.

Making a trip different and authentic can help entice those wanting to experience something no one else has, making newer boutique hotels popular for their individuality. Ozen by Atmosphere’s M6M restaurant showcases the deepest underwater restaurant in the Maldives, giving a unique dining experience that many could only dream to experience.

So maybe your no-frills air ticket can’t subsidise a five-star resort, but authentic experiences and spontaneity needn’t cost, as Rooster client City Unscripted has proven with its approach to ‘un-tourism’ connecting tourists to genuine locals to get insider guides to cities, rather than being taking on the cut & paste tourist trail.

How different really are they?

Millennials aren’t aliens, they’re just a bit skinter but making the most of it. Travelling and living with a slightly different outlook, they’re seeing, visiting and experiencing more of the world. And who could argue with that.

By Kara Godfrey