To simply say that millennials are driving the growth of the travel industry is an understatement — this group is not only driving it, they are redefining it.
In a survey among BCV’s millennial population, we learned that 70% take more than three vacations per year and 46% will head overseas to explore a new, international destination, showing that they travel much more than their generational predecessors.
Never before have we seen a generation filled with such incredible wanderlust and the drive to make their wildest travel dreams come true. So much so that they tend to prioritize leisure travel over other financial obligations such as buying a home, car or even paying off debt.
If you take a look at the other unique traits of this group, you’ll see that their travel habits closely align with their generation’s defining characteristics. For example, 60% of this group desires adventure travel that will offer new experiences. This is not the group that is just going to sit by the pool and relax, they seek vacations that are culturally enriching, unique and transformative.
And, of course, millennials love to share all of those experience on social media. Among those who took our survey, 52% say they post vacation updates to social media more than three times a day, and 85% said that Instagram is their go-to social network on which to share their travel photos and stories. Considering that capturing the perfect Instagram photo is very important to this group, they are more likely to travel with a companion rather than travel alone.
When it comes to accommodations, millennials prefer the “hidden gems.” Amongst our survey responders, the overwhelming majority book an Airbnb when they travel because this generation prioritizes accommodations that are cool, authentic, and in a local neighborhood versus something that feels generic or touristy.
So, what does this all mean for the hospitality industry? It means that marketing tactics have to change because when speaking to this generation, which represents the largest generation, it is not enough for your marketing strategy to simply inform, it has to inspire. Hospitality brands also have to be transparent, authentic and clearly showcase how their offerings compliment their millennial audience’s desire for independence, authenticity, and exploration.
While this type of marketing may seem like a shift for most, it is a necessary one, because this generation of travel lovers are not going anywhere, and it is very likely that they will pass along their love of exploration to the next generation as well.