Marketing travel to millennials

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There are 1.8 billion millennials on the planet and these millennials currently comprise 20 percent of all international tourists, according to Nielsen.

Although baby boomers have more free time to travel (as many are retired or starting to retire), millennials are still out-travelling this older generation and are 23 percent more interested in going abroad than older generations.

According to Jack S. Ezon, president of Ovation Vacations, “Millennials see vacations as an entitlement and a necessity whereas Gen Xers and baby boomers generally see it as a treat.”

There is no denying that if you are in the business of travel you should already be targeting millennials, as they are going to make up a huge percentage of your business (If they don’t already). So, how do you target this group of people who are constantly on the lookout for just the right experience that fit’s their mood, interest and personality?

Don’t put them in a box:

Yes, millennials (aka. Generation Y, the Peter Pan Generation or the Boomerang Generation) are categorised by being born between 1980 and 2000 and there are certain similarities with this massive audience of people. They have been negatively branded as “entitled”, “narcissistic” and “a bit delusional”. On the positive side, they are considered to be more “open-minded” and “liberal” than their older Gen X and baby boomer generations and they want to see positive change in the world.

From a travel perspective, this group of individuals is all about finding that unique, life-changing, completely personalised holiday that aligns with who they are as individuals. Millennial travellers are also generally more socially aware than their older generations when it comes to travelling sustainably and are three times more likely than Gen-X to seek out these types of sustainable experiences.

However, it’s important to remember that being a millennial does not define them and it is most definitely not a one-size-fits-all approach when it comes to marketing to them. Find your niche, whether it’s solo travel experiences, special interests, or specific tailor-made experiences and be the best at what you do. If you try catering for “all millennials” you’ll end up pleasing none.

5 Tips when marketing travel to millennials:

  1. Millennials are using social media and according to a study conducted by Toluna, 23% of millennials use social media three or more times a day. It’s not about if you use social media to communicate with them, it’s about which social media channel, with what messaging and how you are targeting on social media.
  2. Mobile is an absolute necessity. All content generated must be produced in a mobile-friendly way. It’s no longer about just having a mobile-friendly website, it’s about making sure that ALL your content looks incredible on mobile phones.
  3. You can’t do without video anymore. 93% of millennials use sites that serve ads prior to use (Spotify/ YouTube) and consumption of video content such as Netflix and YouTube is often done so on a mobile phone. Video and live streaming is a necessity when marketing to millennials and even more important is to ensure that this video content is produced with mobile phones in mind.
  4. Grow your owned channels. The recent Facebook changes and more recent Facebook data scandal is testimony to the importance of investing in your own channels first. Focus on your website, newsletter and app and do everything in your power to provide your audience with quality, relevant information to build a loyal following. If millennials suddenly decide to #DeleteFacebook, many companies will suffer a grave loss of investment that has been put in over the years. Which leads me to my final point.
  5. Don’t forget the “real world”. While online marketing, social media, video and mobile are of utmost importance, don’t forget that millennials are hungry for real-life interactions. Travel agents are still relevant because millennials seek that human expertise. Experiential brand campaigns are still necessary because there is no experience like a “real-life” experience!