Firstly, why should the travel and hospitality industry care about millenials? Well, millenials are a large market with an enormous growth potential. If we had to speak in numbers, we can say that they amount to a population of 2.3 billion worldwide, making up 20% of the world’s 940 million tourists. This category aims to replace Baby Boomers as the dominant consumer by 2017. There have been 320 million international trips by 2010 – out of which Asians reach 200 million – a 47% increase from 2013.
According to McKinsey & Co, this is a market with specific characteristics that includes categories as follows: global citizens, digital natives, the values-driven, me-now, social and connected and in search of experience.
In an effort to understand how millennials approach the travel experience, the Young Skål Monaco Team from the International University of Monaco took a deeper look into the perfect journey of the millenial.
Yes, millennials are different. But we can segment them into tribes:
- Simplicity Searchers
- Cultural Purists
- Social Capital Seekers
- Ethical Travelers
Recommendations to hotels and players in the tourism industry
What the hotel and tourism industry must keep in mind is that millennial travellers value what is local and ethnic. They also value unique hotel experiences. They are also the most likely to hire a travel specialist. The hospitality industry also has to adapt to millenials. How does one do that? The first thing to focus on is technology. From booking to check out. It’s also important that mobile payment is hassle-free and that concierge apps are provided and smart phones used at room keys.
The importance of the unique
One must create unique and unforgettable experiences around local culture and cuisine that are customised. Hoteliers must make it a must to update décor, ensure furnishings are trendy, glitzing up lobbies with musical acts and have 24 hour cafes and a full service bar.
So how does one target the millenials?
Different devices are known to cause different behaviors and one must therefore make use of these various modes of targeting. The tablet is used for inspiration, photos, video, leisure and personal time. The PC on the otherhand causes different behaviours. According to research, 88% use the website to research a trip, 48% use tablet to watch travel videos and 78% use a smartphone to look up maps or directions. Mobile web is mostly utilised for research, information as well as commercial transactions. Mobile Apps on the other hand create awareness, social spread and only work if indirect users generate content. They also lead to increased loyalty, more information, problem solving, are useful and convert visits into fans.
Hilton Worldwide Mobile
If we take Hilton for example, they introduced Hilton Worldwide Mobile which now allows users to select their their room. Mobile Apps also enable geo-triggers. This means that you can notify travellers when they are close to the places they want to see. You can set rules for what should be shown to the consumers based on their location to particular spots. This could be useful for marketing the hotel’s bars and restaurants for instance, as well as entertainment facilities in the vicinity.
Outbound marketing is out
The age of obvious advertisements is over. We now don’t need to sell a story but instead we need to tell a story. It is also important to target a specific ‘tribe’ and speak their language. An example of this would be via digital storytelling.
Inbound marketing is in
It is a fact that 44% of people are more likely to trust experts. 247% are also more likely to be influenced by blogs or social networking sites. Having said that, the content must be informative as opposed to information relating to product and service listings. What do millenials want? It would appear that what they want is e-books, white-papers, blog posts, videos, and other how-to information. Millenials also appreciate thought leadership and expertise.
I would rather “live!” instead of “buy!”
It’s also important that content is created with their interest in mind (as opposed to their wallet). To give an example, Hostelworld’s new Meet the World advertising campaign features genuine travellers who crave adventures (not souvenirs.) It is also a fact that most young people would rather have an unforgettable experience than seek out luxury – and would rather “Live!” instead of “Buy!”
Collaboration is key
Today, millennials are interested in having a say and becoming product co-creators. 42 % are interested in helping companies develop future products and services. In addition, they also want to be more involved with how products get created.
Millenials just want to have fun!
Yes that’s right! What they want is to have fun while researching and browsing. They crave the experience of shopping more than the purchase itself as they view e-commerce as a form of entertainment.
The perfect journey of a millennial traveller
Let’s take a typical millenial traveller. Michael Green is a true New Yorker. A 24 year old who is a social capital seeker and is always online. He enjoys travelling with his girlfriend and uses hashtags such as #baecation. In this perfect journey, Michael browsed through the internet and found an appealing story on the Yonderbound website called ‘Get more out of Monaco.’
1) Flight engines
What he did next was to contact the manager of this service to get details about the trip. They helped him to adjust the visit to his schedule and needs. He went to 8 different flight-engines to find the best deal for his trip. As soon as he arrived to Nice airport, he was promptly connected to the free wifi and shared a picture on social media with a unique Nice Airport hashtag.
He had a choice of 3 different options how to get to Monaco: helicopter, bus and taxi. He could choose what he prefers and he chose a rather ecological way. When arriving to Columbus, the staff was already waiting for him and the online check in took not more than a minute.
Wifi was free and fast. The room was beautiful and a little card on a table was greeting him by name in his mother tongue. When visiting several establishments of SBM: the casino, Café de Paris and Hermitage for a cup of coffee, wifi was everywhere and he could take and share the pictures with celebrities who he met there.
4) Language and virtual reality
When talking to locals he was using in-ear translation. Virtual reality glasses in the tourism office showed him around and multiple reviews in the app about the Monaco-tourism-life helped choosing – where to go next.
5) Payment and booking of experiences
He booked a yacht trip via an easy and user-friendly app from Parkview to enjoy night scenery of Monaco from the water. He paid online, obviously. The next day, he used the Eat With app to find a local family to have a dinner together in their place. It was a nice evening in provencal style with friends of the hosts.
When leaving Monaco he had left several positive comments in different websites and apps, and shared his experiences in social media. He recommended this journey to his friends and asked them where they recommend he go next.
An experience fit for a true millenial! …and the travel and hospitality industry must follow suit to provide such an interactive and personalised experience for our travelling millenials.