Millennials, digital or experiential travelers?

The generation of the millennium is known as digital natives, the multiscreen generation, mobile-dependent and apps addicted. Therefore, many people believe that its main characteristic is the attachment to the digital. It is true that millennials are more immersed in digital realities than real ones, connected by screens, and that they are social digitally, but all this is only a visible part of the iceberg. Behind this appearance, they hide their authentic values and motivations that define their behaviours and preferences. Proof of this is the result of studies and reports made in the last two years in the cultural tourism sector.

Who are millennials?

They were born approximately between the years 1980 and 2000. In the United States, this generation is not only the most numerous but also the most studied. The interest to research this social group is due to the fact that it is the most powerful population in purchases together with the young generation Z.

An illustrative feature of millennials is that they are crucially different from previous generations. Digital natives are the only generation that has experienced two stages, the pre-internet era and the digital age, one of the key factors that have significantly changed their behavior and habits. Millennials hold values oriented towards personal satisfaction, such as happiness and discovery, above the collective values, such as family and justice that define the Baby Boomers.

By nature, they are digital researchers, so they consult digital sources before buying any product. The fundamental guidelines of their purchases are the recommendations, feedback and social validation. They depend on the opinions and real experiences of their friends far above the suggestions and messages of the advertisements.

According to Matt Anderson, YouTube research has shown a very positive outlook on his habits. They represent a generation that dreams, wants to see the world in a different way, that yearns for knowledge and is full of desire to develop on a personal level. YouTube is the tool that allows them to find new knowledge, develop new skills and exchange opinions.

Millennials, an important niche for the tourism market

Without a doubt, one of the passions of millennials is traveling. According to data from the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) they made more than 190 million trips a year, which amounts to 165 billion euros. For the tourism industry, millennials represent the niche market with the greatest potential among the entire population, since they constitute the generation that travels the most. Studies by the ESERP Business School in Spain indicate that, worldwide, 32.1% of young millennials travel at least once a year, 28.6% do so once a month and 19.6% go out for a walk every 3 months.

Before traveling, millennials search and plan their trips digitally

on the table there are a laptob, notebook and other objects

Millennials are adventurous, open-minded and, therefore, are more influenced by a number of factors than other generations. For millennials, traveling is no longer a planned adventure that must be prepared and booked well in advance. It is a journey that can happen at any time, by an instantaneous impulse, often over the course of a weekend, or a few days, and repeated many times a year.

Social networks are the trigger. They consult platforms, like Instagram, to find places they want to see and experience for themselves. Social media is a source of inspiration that allows searching for information. The Tripbarometer, the largest survey of accommodation and travel worldwide, reveals that they are highly influenced by the contents and recommendations published in social media. They consult their friends and favourite “influencers” who post photos and videos of the places they have visited. They also look for “tags” or locations on social networks and blogs dedicated to travel.

A study about the consumption of millennials (TripAdvisor, 2016) revealed a series of interesting data: they look for emotions and new experiences, but they are aware of the prices. Your goal is to find the accommodation and the right flight combination so that you get the most economical travel option. Millennials have the smallest budgets and spend less than half of what Baby Boomers spend on housing (Tripadvisor, 2017).

To be continued…