Who Are They?
“Generation Y. The Millennials. Generation Next.” These are just a few of the names attributed to the generation born between 1980 and 1999. Many businesses argue that the younger end of the Millennials may still depend financially on their parents, but the older end of this spectrum is already experiencing their peak spending years. Some Millennial travelers are used to traveling like their parents and grandparents and may like guides and formal itineraries.
- The Now Generation – Now, Instantaneity, and Flexibility of Service
Also known as “the Now Generation,” Millennials seek immediate gratification.This holds true when traveling and in particular, during hotel stays. It cannot be described as a “want” so much as a “need,” since this generation has grown up with technology that grants them instant access to information. Additionally, Millennials expect speed and efficiency in their travels. As an example, they prefer fast-casual restaurants such as Panera Bread, an eatery that provides quality food but no table service. It and similar restaurants allow Millennials the flexibility to move in and out quickly with the desired product – fast, good food.
- The Now Generation – Real Time Information
Another reason for the moniker “Now Generation” is the Millennials’ demand for information as it occurs. With the dominance of social media, the Millennials expect real-time reporting so they feel they are in the thick of things even when they are sitting comfortably at home. Millennials are accustomed to sharing their life’s activities and opinions instantly with friends through social media
- Peer Review
Millennials grew up bombarded with advertising, and they are too sophisticated to be “tricked” by marketers. Thus, Millennials turn to their peers for “expert” opinion. On average, a Millennial will check 10.2 sources before booking. This is especially prevalent with apps such as Yelp where upon check-in, reviews and tips automatically pop-up and this neatly ties in with Now Generation trends of garnering current information instantly.
- Social Creatures – Online and Offline
Millennials are social creatures online and offline. Although previous generations express trepidation that this generation will be unable to dialogue and interact with others due to their reliance on texting and other forms of communication. Millennials will post a picture or review that can easily reach thousands of people at once. This again addresses the power and reach of social media’s popularity and the importance of a positive review — or a hotel’s reaction to uncomplimentary comments.
- Different Booking Structure
Compared to previous generations, Millennials use a shorter booking window. Where older generations follow the 93-day rule, Millennials often book within 75 days of departure. Growing up surrounded by technology has given this generation different expectations for travel, including instant e-confirmations and digital boarding passes on their smartphones. It also means they are fluent and comfortable with booking travel plans online, as well as on mobile and tablet devices.
- Required Essentials and Wanted Amenities
Millennials are not the travelers their parents were. Their first travel experiences may not be in hotels but backpack and budget friendly hostels. The basics of all hostels are a clean bed, a hot shower, and free Wi-Fi. If free Wi-Fi can be provided at $10 or under per night at hostels, it is obvious why Millennials cannot comprehend the policy of luxury hotels with a rate of over $500 a night charging an additional $20 per day for Wi-Fi.
- Authentic Local Experiences
Millennials reject a cookie cutter journey. They are not the type of traveler to visit Paris just to view the Louvre’s Mona Lisa. Millennials demand to be integrated in the culture with an authentic local experience. They not only want to see the Mona Lisa, but then go to a local café and people watch while sipping a latte and then visit a local, underground wine bar that has secret entrance
- Volunteer Travel/Social Responsibility
Another aspect of a journey that is essential to Millennials is the idea that they are promoting social responsibility. They not only want to view new sites and enjoy local experiences, but hope to contribute to the community and the world.
This generation of Millennials is here and growing. With their immense travel spending potential. Brands that don’t create new or modify current concepts are likely to see a decreasing customer base as Millennials are unafraid of trying new products and utilizing new ways of booking as proven by the successful growth of pod hotels.
Based on this survey, the biggest thing that Millennials want is (preferably free) 24/7 connectivity wherever they are staying. Based on this survey, the things that matters least to Millennials include world-class spas, family-focused itineraries, and timing/seasonality.