When it comes to business and leisure travel, Millennials are a generation on the move. Numerous studies have shown that compared to older travelers, those ages 18 to 30 go on more trips per year (whether for work or play), seek unique, authentic travel experiences, and are more demanding about the amenities they expect both en route and at their desired travel destinations.
Wanderlust may be a symptom of Millennials’ #yolo mentality or their inherently global perspectives, but regardless of why so many members of Gen Y feel the need to go west (or east or wherever), the rapidly growing number of Millennial travelers is having a huge impact on the industries that orbit domestic and international travel, and marketers ranging from airlines to hotels to travel services are taking notice and scrambling to meet the high expectations of this discerning and travel-savvy group.
According to a report by travel industry research firm Phocuswright, 66% of Millennials surveyed said travel is a “very important part” of their lives. Further, Boston Consulting Group found that compared to Gen Xers and Baby Boomers, Millennials are more interested in travel by 23 percentage points. While Millennials currently comprise 27% of the U.S. population and 25% of the workforce, Gen Y is projected to make up nearly half of the workforce by 2020 and is predicted to outspend Baby Boomers by 2030.
Beyond the clout of sheer numbers and the enormous spending power that Millennials can leverage against travel service industries, Gen Y is a generation that’s decidedly vocal about their travel likes and dislikes, which they will readily share via social media. Indeed, Expedia’s Future of Travel Report suggests that Millennials are more likely than older travelers to voice their displeasure and post online reviews when their expectations aren’t met.
Gen Y is pushing travel service industries to quickly evolve to better meet their needs. Here are five things Millennials want and expect from their travels:
Value Over Budget
Millennials have been hard hit by the economic downturns over the past few years, so consequently they are frugal with their spending. While individually they may not have much to spend, Gen Y travelers are value seekers and want to get the biggest bang for their buck. In searching for memorable experiences, Millennial travelers are more inclined than older travelers to use sharing-economy services such as Uber and Airbnb. Even when traveling for business, Millennials still prioritize value and experiences, although they are more likely to order room service when it’s on the company’s dime.
Style And Substance
Unafraid to mix business with pleasure, Millennial travelers also want stylish and thoughtful design to complement the meaningful experiences that they’re collecting while on the road. Even large chains have taken notice and a new crop of boutique hotels have sprung up to cater to Gen Y’s desire for posh environs that can turn a business trip into a restful getaway.
Community And Sharing
While more Millennials are getting married and starting families, they are generally less tied down by familial obligations than their older counterparts. Still, Gen Y travelers want a sense of community even on the road, whether it’s common workspaces or coffee shops to gather. Social feedback and recommendations from others is critical for Millennials, who are adept at researching and sharing their travel experiences before, during and after their trips.
It goes without saying that this always-connected generation assumes that Internet connectivity is strong, stable, ubiquitous and free during their travels. This expectation extends from in-flight wifi to in-room wifi. Compared to Gen X and Boomer travelers, Millennials have said they are more willing to pay for products and services if they’re not complimentary.
Brand Attention Versus Brand Loyalty
While they are notorious for not being especially brand loyal, Millennials expect brands to pay attention to their needs. Whether it’s more legroom or greater space for laptops on flights or seats with outlets for their myriad devices, Gen Y appreciates the attention to detail that brands give to them.
Ultimately, Millennial are pushing the limits of what travel service industries such as airlines and hotels can and will offer to business and leisure travelers, and as their spending power continues to rise, the innovations demanded by Gen Y when it comes to travel will only help travel experiences for everyone.