Wunderlust of the Millennial Explorers

29 Jan 2015|leshiloth

iconsI have a love-hate relationship with Instagram, particularly when it comes to globe-trotting friends documenting their own versions of Eat, Pray, Love. I love it because it inspires my imaginings of living those experiences myself; I hate it because I am not on the move myself.

And ‘experiences’ are the be-all and end-all for us millennials, that generation of earth’s inhabitants fast defining themselves as global citizens.

As such, our preferences and behaviours will dramatically change the travel industry as we — well, as you non-millennials — know it.

Key insights

A national survey in the US released by PGAV Destinations, a global leader in the planning and design of leisure, entertainment and cultural experiences, highlighted some key insights that make Millennials different to the generations before them when it comes to travel:

  • Nearly six in 10 millennials (58%) say they travel for leisure with friends. That’s nearly 20 percentage points higher than older generations.
  • It follows then that relationships are vital to millennials, and they are highly influenced by others who help to select places to visit and things to do. Through social media, they tell stories to one another, make recommendations and assessments, often in the form of real-time descriptions of their experiences.
  • With their technology acumen, millennials make quick decisions. They plan trips in far less time (75 days) than older generations (93 days). They are adept at accessing information online, where they can search for a deal, read the reviews, book it and go.
  • This most highly educated and diverse generation has a real appetite for learning; 75% say they prefer to learn something new when they travel. Fully seven in 10 millennials say they expect special places to offer immersive experiences. They look for places that are fun and entertaining (78%), and interactive and hands-on (68%).
  • Millennials are also good citizens. Over 77% of respondents say they believe it is essential to connect to causes that are important to them, a trait more important to them than older generations.

“Millennials are not your traditional guests,” explains PGAV Destinations principal, Mike Konzen. “They do not take leisure trips ‘just because,’ but are looking for something that resonates with their need to make a difference.”

Tapping into this

So, how are brands tapping in to this?

For example, KLM has understood and is embracing the digital medium far better than its competitors; its social media interactions really resonate with millennials, making the brand culturally relevant. Its recent ‘High Five’ campaign was a well-executed idea that literally connected total strangers in New York and Amsterdam in a heart-warming way.

Another airline, Air France, is building its brand by taking a different tack, no less successfully. Its approach is that of a lifestyle brand. Air France is building aspiration by selling its most valuable asset: the ever-enduring, timeless France. By reflecting a very modern and culturally relevant image of the country, it goes beyond the ‘on flight’ experience and shows it is a brand that understands consumers’ wants, desires and dreams once they step off the plane. In its most recent global campaign the brand creates a lively and exciting message, in line with the French lifestyle, by curating a mix of heritage and modernity in its creative.

In another example, Air BnB speaks to the notion of millennial behaviour, and how they want to connect with real people when travelling. This brand’s online presence makes anyone who is simply couch surfing feel as if she or he are part of a real local experience.
And then there’s Heineken. Yes, I know it’s not a brand historically associated with the travel category but its brand promise and recent ‘Open Your City’ campaign speaks to the desire of this generation to travel and expose themselves to new experiences of the world. This brand is using the Millennials’ vision of themselves as global citizens to remain culturally relevant.

What to do

  • Any travel-industry marketer, looking to tap into the millennial generation, must:
  • Build a lifestyle brand that taps into our longing for meaningful experiences
  • Be interactive through social media, and ensure messages are easy to follow, timely and relevant
  • Provide experiences beyond the core service; this must be innovative and memorable, and must provide distinct moments that can easily and very quickly shared with others.

Written by Thabang Leshilo (@Thabang_Leshilo)

Added Value South Africa Pictures by Jeremy Glyn in June 2014 glynj@fm.co.za

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Image Credits: FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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