TRANSFORMATIONS IN TWENTY-FIRST CENTURY TRAVEL
Thursday, 31st of January 2019
Individuals born between 1981 and 1996, otherwise known as “Millennials”, comprise more than a quarter of the world’s population. Their influence on contemporary society should not be underestimated. Demanding work schedules, unpaid internships, high costs of living, and reliance on technology has inspired millennials to pursue an insatiable desire for escapism. The travel industry is transforming at a rapid speed, and at their hand.
Consider the frequency with which emails advertising airline sales arrive in your inbox. International travel is no longer steeped in mythological, 1960s-style exclusivity. It has become affordable and accessible. According to a recent article on G2 Crowd, millennials spend approximately $4,500, or €3,900, on travel per annum. These finances are spread over three to four trips, creating a world of opportunity for hotels and hospitality organisations.
In the age of social media and sharing your life online, millennials opt for “experiences over objects”. Meanwhile, limited income means shopping around for the best price. So, be sure to offer the best online rate on your site! The last five years have seen a steady and remarkable decline in booking trips via travels agencies. Millennials tend to shy away from all-inclusive packages, yearning instead for flexibility and the freedom to create their own exploration schedules. The abandonment of travel agencies could foreshadow similar decline in OTA’s, provided the price of booking direct is right.
While accommodation services, such AirBnB, have become major competitors, hotels are associated with luxuries such as housekeeping and room service, a sought-after sense of privacy, greater footfall, and person to person contact. They remain an attractive option when travelling. But generational inclusivity is key. Implement online advertising, brand advocacy, social media campaigns, reward schemes, mobile apps, Smart rooms, and remote check-in. The common denominator? Technology.
In the article linked above, G2 has estimated that, in 2019, there will be a 30% increase in hotels using A.I. and mobile (or otherwise technology-based) personalisation services. A 2017 survey featured on IOT Evolution found that a quarter of millennials spend approximately five hours a day on their phones. This includes checking for notifications over 100 times per twenty-four-hour period. Evidently, technology, and the extensive utilisation thereof to simplify tasks, is normalised amongst millennials. In fact, its absence seems alien.
Keep your hotel ahead of the curve. Consider designing a bespoke app to fit your brand or doing something as simple as installing Smart phone docking stations in place of traditional alarm clocks. Remember, millennials place their trust in other millennials. Create an affordable, comfortable, technologically sound environment and word will spread across social media like wildfire.