A recent Airbnb report found that over 70% of millennials surveyed in the US, UK and China considered travel to be a fundamental part of their existence and would happily prioritize seeking experiences around the world over buying a home, a car or paying off their debt.
This is one of the most defining characteristics of the generation whose population is expected to surpass baby boomers this year. And with their annual spend hovering around $1.3 trillion in the US alone, millennials have more money to spend than any generation in history, so how exactly are they using it? (2)
According to Dean Sivley, President of Berkshire Hathaway Travel Protection, Gen Y are investing in themselves by seeking transformational travel experiences around the world. From adventure travel, which continues to be one of the most popular and fastest growing sectors, to wellness trips and agriculture tours, millennials view traveling as vital to the development of their personal identity and as a result are increasing the frequency. (3)
In contrast to generations before them, millennials also seek to explore and learn from the communities they visit by connecting with the locals. More than half of US and UK residents ages 18-34 agree that discovering hidden, local places is more important to them than visiting major tourist attractions. It’s for that reason we are seeing an increase in the number of millennials choosing to travel alone. In fact, many reported finding it easier to connect with locals as it forces them beyond their comfort zone. Ironically, in-person, social interactions are a high priority to the generation characterized by an addiction to screen time.
More than half of millennials in the UK and US and 83 percent in China say they are spending more on travel today than they did a year ago. In 2017, they spent $4,594 on about 3.5 vacations with the average trip costing around $1,312. (3)
There’s no question Gen Y is driving growth in the travel industry. Companies looking to capitalize on this growth must deliver the types of travel experiences the generation is seeking to pursue. Gone are the days of generic travel tours and airport shuttles leading directly to all-inclusive resorts. While many are already adopting innovative ways to attract and retain the millennial consumer, it’s the companies that are able to deliver unique, authentic and shareable experiences that will ultimately earn their long-term loyalty.