Millennials are stereotyped as being lazy, whiny, technology-dependent, politically idealistic and riddled with commitment issues.
But before you judge them too hard, realize that millennials are also known for being creative, flexible, open-minded and socially and environmentally responsible.
And because millennials are the largest generation since the baby boomers, what they want matters for your tour or activity business.
So if you want your activity business to be more profitable, read on to find out what millennials want and how you can give it to them.
7 Ways That Millennials Want to Travel And How You Can Sell Experiences to Millennials
1. Millennials Want Authenticity
The safety and comfort of luxury cruises, resorts, and fine dining valued by the baby boomer generation are quickly becoming a thing of the past.
Millennials are looking for an authentic cultural experience – like being personally invited to a wedding in Ghana.
They are also looking for food that is as true to it’s roots as possible. If millennials could, they would barge into some family’s home in Burma to feast on their food.
Millennials want an experience that is outside of their comfort zone; they want the real deal.
Action Step: Hire travel bloggers to write posts for your site about the most authentic and undiscovered places they’ve eaten around the world.
2. Millennials Want a Memorable Trip
Millennials are over saturated with travel stories, videos and pictures from social media.
That’s why they are looking for an experience that can top his or her roommate’s stories with one like: “I lived with a monk in the jungle of Thailand, prayed everyday and learned to open my mind’s eye.”
The more unique an experience you can offer, the better.
Action Step: Try creating a contest to see who can share the best travel photo with a prize that includes promoting their photo on your social media.
3. Millennials Want Freedom:
Millennials don’t want to be herded to a luxury resort where meals are served at specific times, the dance floor closes at 12am and the idea of an excursion is snorkeling alongside hundreds of other tourists.
Millennials want to be able to explore and visit what they want, when they want.
Action Step: Don’t ask them to pre-pay for any excursions. Show them their options and let them decide later. Or, if you want to sell experiences to millennials, offer a “build your own” package instead. Make it easy for millennials to book on their mobile device while in destination.
4. Millennials Want Adventure:
According the Travel Weekly, adventure tourism has been growing by 65% each year since 2009.
Millennials don’t want to lounge around the entire trip (although a few days on the beach is fine).
They seek adventure and challenge.
For example, climbing Mount Rinjani in Lombok, Indonesia is like scaling Mordor to destroy The Ring. Millennials place a lot of value on rewarding experiences like this.
Action Step: Offer adventure excursions for travellers looking to push their limits. For example rock climbing in Krabi island in Thailand.
5. Millennials Want Digital Convenience
If you don’t offer Wi-Fi… forgettaboutit.
Millennials are obsessed with the digital sharing of their daily lives, and that includes what they do during their travels.
If you take a picture on the Great Wall of China and no one saw it on Instagram, did it ever really happen?
Action Step: Ensure that you offer or can help provide all the digital amenities necessary for a millennial. This includes WiFi and possibly selling them local SIM cards with data plans as well.
6. Millennials Want Solo-group Travel
Millennials aren’t afraid to go on solo-trips. They love the idea of being flexible while travelling.
But millennials still want to feel like they are a part of a community.
Action Step: Show millennials that you are involved with different communities around the world. Now is the time to name drop and flaunt your extensive social circle.
For example, Kristen Alana, a travel blogger and photographer, tweets about the Francophiles; a community of people who love all things French.
She and two other baguette and cheese lovers created this community so that no matter where a member is around the world, that person has fellow Francophiles to connect with.
7. Millennials Want to Travel Consciously
Millennials feel a huge wave of guilt for the state of the world and they want to tell their friends that they did something about it.
A millennial would love to promote how they DIDN’T ride an elephant in Thailand, but instead volunteered at an elephant sanctuary. Sell experiences to millennials by engaging with their social conscience.
Action Step: Highlight any social and environmental benefits your tour or activity offers. Consider offering additional activities that are specifically marketed as “eco-tourism”.
How Millennials Purchase Travel
Millennials Mix Business and Leisure (aka Bleisure)
With fewer responsibilities tying them down, millennials are not afraid to ask to extend a business trip into a vacation.
According to Expedia, Millennials are more likely than any other generation to ask to extend their business trip into a leisure trip.
Furthermore, when it comes to company money millennials are not afraid to go a little crazy.
According to Expedia, 42% of millennials will spend more of their company’s money on high-end meals than they would their own money.
Action Step: Sell experiences to millennials by offering business trip packages that feature activities that millennials can do between business meetings.
Or millennials might just say forget the 9-5, I’m going to travel while I work.
Millennials put a lot of importance on being able to travel and work at the same time; some even base their entire career decisions around it.
Digital nomads take their work wherever they are in the world.
Action Step: Come up with a list of the best co-working spaces around the world and share them on your blog!
Millennials are obsessed with travel apps. They use them to learn the local language, find flights, book their hotel and decide where to go and what to do.
Expedia conducted a report on the future of travel. They concluded that 49% of travellers between the ages 18-30 (millennials) use their smartphone to plan a trip and 35% to book a trip.
Action Step: Make sure you are up-to-date with the latest travel applications so that you can recommend apps to your millennial clients.
A few examples from 13 Travel Apps Every Millennial Needs to Download This Summer include:
- DuoLingo: A highly interactive language-learning app.
- Hopper: An app that helps you find cheap flights.
- PackingPro: An app that helps you pack based on your destination.
- CityMaps2Go: An app that gives you data-free access to thousands of maps on your smartphone.
Millennials prefer to take recommendations from their friends and family.
Hearing directly from a friend about how he met the cutest girls in Spain is enough for Tommy to book a trip tomorrow.
They also put their trust in influencers like the blogger Expert Vagabond or the Youtuber Sonia’s Travel’s or Laughing Lindsay who shares her travel tips on how to pack carry on luggage with her readers.
Action Step: Contact influencers and ask them to contribute to your website. Or offer them some of your services for free and ask them to write a testimonial.
Millennials are bombarded with advertisements on a daily basis and have learned to block them out.
Ads are seen as un-authentic.
Action Step: Don’t have popup email signups – instead put them in a sidebar on your website.
Millennials grew up in the time of the great recession. They also have student loans to pay off and are facing high unemployment rates. They have been forced to be careful with their money.
However, millennials also know that you get what you pay for and are willing to pay more for a unique experience.
Action Step: Offer a wide variety of packages at different prices. Millennials will appreciate the choices and will be more likely to buy a package from you, even if it is a lower priced option.
How to Sell Travel to Millennials
Most millennials don’t trust/know how to use travel agents or travel planners. They prefer to go online and do their own research.
Show millennials what you’re capable of and prove that you know what they want.
Create a brand: Creating a brand that millennials can relate to will help them trust what you have to offer. This means creating a great website, being active on all social media platforms, and constantly updating your content.
Ask a Millennial: Ask millennials for their opinion. They will respect and trust you for listening to what they want. Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and your email list are all great platforms for this.
Face-to-facetime: Despite all the texting, tweeting, and instagramming, start your business relationships face-to-face with millennials (this can also mean Skype, Facetime, etc.) as soon in the sales process as possible. Again, it’s all about trust and being able to connect with millennials on a personal level.
Don’t waste their time: With high-speed Internet at a millennial’s fingertips, they are used to information being delivered to them quickly and efficiently. Make sure you do the same with their travel information.
Make yourself available: Millennials are used to being plugged-in 24/7 so make sure you offer your services around the clock. If you take too long to respond, they might take their business elsewhere.
Use high-quality visual content: Millennials are visual learners and the more image and video content you use, the better.
Authenticity, unique experiences and digital convenience are what millennials are looking for out of a travel package.
Offer these elements and create a brand that millennials can relate to and trust and you will be on your way to successfully selling travel to millennials!
What Consumers Want, a TED Talk done by Joseph Pine, highlights how experiences are the next economic offerings. How can your business make these experiences authentic?
Learn common and popular sayings and phrases with our glossary of Millennial Terms.