Are Millennial travellers re-writing the tourism landscape?


New data from YouGov Reports reveals the many ways millennials aren't vacationing like their parents' generation


By now, most of us will have heard of Millennials; this confounding generation that is alternatively the bane of Baby Boomer and Generation X business managers or the driver of disruptive and positive social, cultural and commercial change—depending on who is speaking about them.
Before one begins another discussion about Millennials and how or why they are strange, different and generally disruptive to business, it is critical to get some perspective on what exactly defines the group of people we are describing. Millennials are the largest generation the world has ever seen, born before the ubiquity of internet between roughly 1980 and 1999. This places the generation’s formative years not only in the midst of a technological revolution, but also multiple global socio-political and economic disruptions that have shaped how the Millennials think and behave on a daily basis, as well as how they think about, desire, book, experience, and socialize travel.
Having grown up in a highly-connected, global environment, affinity for travel is higher among this group than among preceding generations. Unfortunately, higher general affinity for travel does not mean business-as-usual for the hospitality sector.
With the summer travel season upon us, global profiling data on YouGov panelists sourced from millions of interviews show that Millennials aren't preparing in the same way, or for the same things, as older generations.
As a generation affected by global economic crisis in early adulthood, Millennials are particularly budget-conscious in their travels. Indeed, although they as a group are accruing more wealth as they age, early adult lessons about maximizing travel

adventure and cultural trips. This encompasses a broad set of experiences in practice, covering everything from simple cultural excursions or local experiences to engagement in sporting activities to more extreme adventures like hiking, canyoning or skydiving. The extent to which hospitality value seem to be sticking. While they are trading hostels for Airbnb as they age, the overall expectation of travel experience remains quite ‘youthful’ for Millennials.
Unlike their elders, today's youth want individualized experiences that explore local culture — a need largely unmet by traditional tour operators and service providers and creating a major challenge for traditional hospitality companies.
When it comes to booking, we have long observed a general shift to online channels. However, Millennials from the UK, US and Germany, for example, are booking their trips online at higher rates than older consumers (62% vs. 54% in the UK, 49% vs. 41% in the US, and 49% vs. 40% in Germany). These young people are also showing more interest in platform-based services, such as Airbnb and Uber, as measured by YouGov BrandIndex, the daily, global, online brand perception tracker. At the same time, they show less interest in conventional car rental companies and international hotel chains.
Looking again at YouGov profiling data, beach holidays rate highly for Millennials from the UK, US, Germany, and China, as they do for most other age groups. When compared to the types of leisure trips older generations enjoy, however, young people as a whole are far more inclined toward
providers can work with partners to curate and
facilitate high quality (but still budget-friendly) experiences may determine their ability to achieve success within the Millennial group.In terms of experiences, Millennial tastes lean toward the more esoteric and unique when compared to other groups. While many destinations inherently have the types of activities young travelers seek, many have not taken appropriate steps to fully develop these offerings or highlight them through marketing. When it comes to developing an offering, Millennials tend to focus on what they believe fits with the essence of a destination from their perspective.
For many destinations, this essence could involve local food and drink; for others it revolves around pop culture, music, exposure in movies and TV or other media. More recently, there is an aspect of social media exposure to destination perceptions as well. For destinations with inherently vibrant food and drink cultures like Spain and France, operators that embrace the perception and deliver appropriately tailored experiences will reap the benefit of association. Likewise, destinations like Croatia, Ireland and Thailand have benefitted in past years from embracing exposure in movies and TV series (respectively, Game of Thrones; Star Wars Episode VII; and Hangover II, The Beach and many others). This is not a new model—Salzburg has been doing the same for decades with Sound of Music tours—but the exposure these ‘pop’ destinations are receiving is at a wholly different scale among Millennials.
Ultimately, YouGov data reveal key attitudinal and behavioural markers that distinguish Millennials from older generations of travellers. To harness the potential growth from Millennials, it is critical that travel businesses make an effort to understand how their destination and offering can fit the expectations of this group

YouGov Reports aim to reveal both the big trends and granular details in sectors ranging from finance to technology to food and drink. Each report is built using data from YouGov Profiles and YouGov BrandIndex.
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