The travel trends of millennials have influenced the current travel climate and continue to shape the future, leaving traditional travellers with no choice but to follow in the same digital pathway. Such changes make a significant impact on the tourism and hospitality industry. Millennials are the first generation that has lived under the influence of modern technology for their entire lives, leading to the nickname of “digital natives”. Growing up surrounded with technology has led millennials to develop solid digital skills along with a need for increased connectivity. Technology plays a crucial role in their lives, resulting in a constant use of mobile phones, social media, and internet browsing. The common characteristics and travel behaviours of millennials drive three key tourism micro-trends: creative tourism, off-the-beaten-track tourism, and digitalised tourism.
Individuals that are a part of Generation Y tend to focus on building life experiences rather than collecting material items, resulting in more of their income being spent on travel. They are eager to interact with and explore the world. Since most millennials either travel alone or as part of a couple, they can be entirely independent by planning their itineraries on their own. In fact, a recent Google Travel study shows that 74 percent of travellers plan their trips online and only 13 percent rely on itineraries prepared by travel agents.
Millennials are motivated to travel. They focus on novelty, always looking to travel to lesser-known destinations. Many individuals search for authentic and unique travel-spots where they can have new experiences. Statistics prove that, 76% of millennials want to learn exciting information about the place they’re visiting and enjoy informative tours.
Considering the tech-savviness of millennials, smartphones play a large role in their travels. The steps of travel, such as research, planning, booking flights, reserving accommodations, and hiring tour guides, all take place online. Their choices are based on user content, such as customer reviews, blogs, vlogs, and other influential travel content.
Since millennials are the first digital native generation, they are also the first generation to rely a fully digital journey. Increased digitalisation in the travel industry has transformed many tourism businesses, providing a boost to the travel technology field but also making some services obsolete.
Let’s have a look at how technology can help hospitality businesses cater to millennials:
- Hospitality businesses should focus on cloud and mobile-based solutions instead of offline solutions. Mobile solutions provide real-time, centralised data. With such solutions, hoteliers can complete check-ins before the guest arrives, leading to less time wastage. Restaurants can follow the same strategy by introducing online ordering and table-booking systems into the dining experience.
- Personalisation – Millennials frequently base their travel decisions on user reviews and other social media content, leading to a higher demand of personalised offerings. Businesses in the hospitality industry now offer personalised services such as allowing guests to choose their room type and quality, control over in-room amenities, and more.
- Contactless guest experience – contactless experience has become the new normal within the hospitality industry. Hoteliers focus on providing millennial guests with a digitalized, contactless journey from check-in to check-out. Effective enterprise cloud systems and robotics can help organisations make this a reality.
Millennials are the future, and their travel trends have heavily influenced the hospitality industry. Unlike traditional travellers who prefer to “save it for a rainy day”, millennials are spontaneous and dynamic, preferring to make immediate decisions based on today’s hot trends. According to research published on Emerald, millennials travel more than any other generation, currently accounting for 40% of Europe’s outbound travel. Furthermore, ITB World travel trends have also shown that the most prominent locations of millennial outbound travel are the US, followed by China Great Britain and German but the trend is following everywhere in varied locations.
Businesses in the hospitality industry must put more weight on addressing the wants and needs of millennial travellers to be sustainable market leaders in the industry.
Vice President & Country Head of Sri Lanka and Maldives
Looking after entire Sri Lanka and Maldives, Nandika as a VP is responsible for the Sales and Operations team encompassing hospitality software. His years of expertise in IT and strategic management has helped in contributing to streamlining the technological needs of IDS clients.