If you’re in regional and local tourism in Australia marketing to younger tourists – so-called Millennials – it may be time to challenge misconceptions. Millennial Travellers (also called Generation Y) were born 1980-1995 or so. Today they are in the 20-35 age range.
As sponsors of the ARTN MyTravelResearch.com 2014 Young Tourism Professional Award at the ARTN annual conference, MyTravelResearch.com has been in touch with the finalists over the last few weeks to mentor them through their presentations. Although each shares a passion for regional tourism, their approaches and priorities are all different.
Similarly, in Asia, we were chatting to two younger female Singaporean journalists at a Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA) event recently. Both said that they kept seeing industry analysis of Millennials that didn’t resonate with their lives at all.
Researchers use segments like life stage as a way of cutting through the clutter. It makes it easy for tourism marketers to connect with customers. And there are ways in that Millennials can have common attributes.
This is particularly true about how they book and plan travel — which is digital. According to a PATA report, The Rise of the Young Asian Traveller, more than 70% of young Asians book their travel online. This is rising fast according to Tourism Australia (see below).
The expected stereotype also holds up around the role of social media in travel. According to the PATA report, social media posts by young people’s friends were in the top five most influential factors across the 13 countries in the survey. Friends’ influence was the greatest for Thais and Filipinos.
Asian millennial travellers said that social media apps were the most useful whilst travelling – more than maps, language tools, deals and dating sites.
But human beings are more complex than that. Here are ten different drivers that could help us profile customers (see below).
That complexity is reflected in the behaviour of Millennial travellers as well. Having friends and family in the destination was more important to Filipinos than to other nationalities. Immersion in local culture was more important to young Chinese youth travellers (who were also more deal-driven than other nationalities).
Millennials don’t fit easily into a box on who they travel with either. They are a diverse generation according to both PATA and Boston Consulting Group (BCG). Some 37% of them travel with friends but often in organised groups. But nearly as many travels with family (31%).
Importantly, multi-generational travel is growing because the proportion of Millennials who get on well with their parents and like travelling with them is larger than we have seen for any previous group at that lifestage.
Some 11% of young travellers in the PATA survey said they were travelling with an intimate partner. A sizeable segment of this age group are into early relationships.
Millennials are not uniform (or stereotypical) in their choice of accommodation. Among PATA’s young Asians, less than 10% stay in a hostel. Over 20% stay in a one- to a three-star hotel. More stay in a premium
hotel than taking advantage of free accommodation. It seems that brands that recognise this, such as Moxy Hotels (a collaboration between Marriott and IKEA), are going to win loyalty.
This loyalty is worthwhile because if Millennials see value, they are ready to pay more. BCG estimates that Millennials will pay up to 13% more per air ticket when they fly on a business trip.
Ally this to their lifetime value (perhaps as much as 50 years of travelling) and it’s easy to see why marketers need to look below the surface.
The message we’ll be emphasizing at ARTN is: stop thinking ‘are millennials for me?’ and start asking ‘which millennials are right for me?’
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