There is a lot of talk about the Millennial generation and how it drives an enormous change in the tourism and travel market. Though it is common knowledge that the definition of a tourist in the traditional sense no longer applies, we will not be able to comprehend the mechanisms at work unless we take a closer look at who the Millenials really are.
WHEN WE TALK about the Millennial Generation, a.k.a. Millenials or the Net Generation, we are referring to individuals born roughly between 1980 and 2000. Having grown up in the time of the internet, these technology-enthusiasts spend many hours of their day on social media, smart phones and gadgets of all sorts.
MILLENIALS ARE AND FEEL CONNECTED with the world around them in ways that previous generations never have. In that respect, travel to them is more than a luxury or a necessity; it’s rather a birth right. We must bear in mind that this is a generation completely dependent on what is said, suggested, claimed or disclaimed, but also one that does not want to go through life idly.
MILLENIALS WANT TO EXPERIENCE EVERYTHING if for no other reason than that they feel entitled. Travel can provide that personal, first-hand experience which they can later share with their friends, their acquaintances or with people they hardly know; travel can serve as their own, private hub of information. And in this day and age, information is all that matters.
WITH THE ROLE OF MARKETING having been largely assumed by social media and online peer content, traveling per se has expanded its purpose and scope. Where once purchasing decision was guided by travel agents, now it is driven by online research in peer channels, endorsed by reviews and ratings.
MILLENIALS WILL NOT ONLY TRAVEL for leisure, business and academics, but also for internships, non-credit jobs, voluntary action programmes and of course for the mere sake of traveling. In these latter cases, the traveling experience must be associated with authenticity and freedom, or it won’t be worth it.
MOST IMPORTANTLY, MILLENIALS SEEK AUTHENTICITY. As long as they get to experience the “real thing” they do not mind stepping out of their comfort zone. In their quest for genuine cultural experiences, they will opt for food that is true to its roots or part of a traditional ritual. For example, the Millennial tourist would much rather barge into a local home and eat with the family than visit a restaurant designated for tourists.
LIKEWISE, MILLENIALS SEEK FREEDOM. To satisfy their thirst for adventure, they will look for unique activities to engage in; activities which are a spur-of-the-moment thing, but at the same time, ironically reflect the Millenials’ constantly-evolving need for meaningful living.
MILLENIALS ARE NOT “TYPICAL TOURISTS” who will only go sightseeing and follow a set itinerary. As a result, the travel market seems to have lost its previous niche: the contemporary traveler favours a sharing economy, where access is valued more than ownership, and quality has given way to quantity and variation.
THE MILLENIAL PROFILE
The Millennials are seen as open-minded, tolerant, socially and environmentally.
With the motto “You Only Live Once”, the Millennial individual shifts from the norm and lays down the revised rules of the game.