At ITM we’re often asked how travel buyers and suppliers alike should address and corral the so-called Millennial Traveller. I think sometimes we talk about this mercurial generation as if they’re a different species of human and that we have to change everything to accommodate their curious characteristics.
This isn’t really the case. Did you know that the definition of millennial means reaching adulthood in the 21st century. Ladies and gents, that means that they can be 37 years old. I’m really not far away from being one myself !
With that said, half of the global workforce will be within this category by next year and so it does make sense to consider their tendencies, whilst being careful not to generalise. They are individuals too.
Firstly, they have a shorter attention span than previous generations. They have more distractions and more stuff coming at them; and this means communication and interactions need to be punchy. For example, 12 page travel policies were never a good idea, but for this group, it would be considered almost impenetrable.
Secondly, of course, they do almost everything through their phone. So obviously absolutely anything meaningful you plan to say to or do with millennials needs to be mobile-driven. Combine the small screen with the short attention span and the effect is amplified. Clear, brief and compelling wins.
Thirdly, and relatedly, millennials in general think that if you have to be shown how to use something, it’s kind of rubbish. Think booking tools. If you need a webinar or lunch and learn session to be able to make a booking, it probably hasn’t been designed well enough. No one shows a millennial how to use Instagram and so if they have to be shown how to use a business tool, it just feels dull and old fashioned. Not to mention that if something is fun to use, it will get used more often anyway !
Finally, younger generations of workers appear to more successfully blur the lines between work and play. When they travel, they have a greater appetite to experience the local community rather than stay within the four walls of their room, and they will certainly compare how it feels to travel with one employer versus another. In highly competitive industries this can become key to attracting and retaining the best talent.
Of course, there are many other traits to consider that we can’t cover within the space of this column and, before you say it, a lot of this clearly applies to people born before 1982 aswell.
The main thing is that millennials aren’t that different to other travellers. But we always need to think about what makes the end user tick. Give them what they want, not what we may want to give them. Simple, right ?