Millennial Clients: Yes, They Are Different
by Robin Amster

Millennials – the generation of 18- to 30-year-olds who grew up glued to their smartphones, their tablets, their Ipods and a host of other devices – are as devoted to technology when it comes to travel as they are in other aspects of their lives.

That’s one of the less-surprising findings in a new study on the future of travel from online giant Expedia. Conducted by Harris Interactive, the study queried more than 8,500 adults in 24 countries to determine how millennials’ travel habits and preferences differ from those of their older peers.

The study also netted some surprising findings that highlighted key differences between millennials and more mature travelers. Among them:

•    Millennials are far more likely than older travelers to embrace loyalty programs.
•    Millennials spend their company’s money more freely when traveling on business.
•    Millennials are more likely to extend a business trip into a vacation.

The challenge for agents
“The challenge to travel agents is to be where their clients are if they expect to be on their radar when it comes time to book,” Jason Coleman, president & chief visionary of Los Angeles-based Jason Coleman Inc., told Travel Market Report.
“This applies to suppliers as well,” added Coleman, a past president of ASTA’s Young Professionals Society.

“Cruise lines, tour operators, air consolidators, activity providers and all others need to have mobile technologies that allow me to book and service my clients without being tied to a computer and a desk.

“Virtually all travel suppliers are way behind the times in this respect,” he said.

According to the study, 32% of millennials use a smartphone and 20% use a tablet to book business travel, compared to just 12% for smartphone and 9% for tablet bookings for those over 46 to 65.

Millennials are also far likelier than 45- to 65-year-olds to use mobile devices to enhance their travel experience.

Coleman said his own travel planning reflects the trend.

“I haven’t booked a flight on my computer in at least two years,” he said. “I use my American Airlines app to book and manage all my reservations. I’m even checking in to my Marriott hotel using their app.”

Crazy for apps
For agents who serve millennial clients, it’s essential to keep up to date with technology, including the growing number of travel apps, said Gary Oakley, vice president of travel services for Aventura, Fla.-based House of Travel.

“We’re just a different species than more mature travelers,” said Oakley, who is officer of development for the Miami chapter of Millennials in Travel.

“Millennials like the fact, for instance, that they can download their boarding passes on their [cell] phones,” he said. “It’s all about being in the know and what cool stuff you can do.”

Because there are so many travel apps on the market, part of Oakley's service is to review apps and tell clients which will best fit their needs.

Hooked on loyalty programs
Among the study’s other findings are the significance of loyalty programs for millennials, their penchant for spending more of their companies’ money and their preference for extending business trips to include leisure time.

About half of millennials find loyalty programs important when booking flights, 48%, and reserving hotel stays, 51%. That’s compared to only three in ten 46- to 65-year-old travelers, at 31% and 30% respectively.

A larger share of millennials (42%) will spend more company money on high-end meals than when they are paying their own way. That’s compared to the 26% of 46- to 65-year-olds who spend more for high-end meals when traveling on the company dime.

Room service is also a favorite of millennials, with 37% spending more company money on it; only 21% of 46- to 65-year-olds are more apt to spend company money on room service.

Sixty-two percent of millennials tack on leisure time to business trips, versus 51% of 31- to 45-year-olds and 37% of 46- to 65-year-olds.

Special treatment
Millennials love personalized service and the kind of special treatment extended to loyalty program members, Oakley agreed.

“They’re very loyal to their [frequent flyer program] airlines,” he said.

“I have a [millennial] client who, though he likes to fly nonstop, is willing to take a flight with a connection because of his Delta platinum status, which gives him an automatic upgrade,” Oakley said.

“Millennials love any kind of incentive,” Oakley added. “When I book my millennials I reach out to my sales reps and ask if they can, for instance, leave something extra in the room for them.

“It’s like instant gratification.”

A lot of millennials’ travel behavior circles back to technology, Oakley said.

“There’s so much information out there and where there’s information, there’s curiosity,” he said. “That prompts them [millennials] to ask the question, ‘Can I get this too?’”

You must be logged in to leave a comment Login | Register
Tip of the Day
No one is more likely to drown in a tsunami of information than the DIY travel planner.
'Why Travelers Are Returning To Travel Agents' on
Daily Top List

Best Travel Trailers


2. I-Go Pro by EverGreen RV

3. Airstream Classic 30

4. Imagine 2150RB By Grand Design RV

5. Jay Flight 28BHBE By Jayco

Source: RVLife 

TMR Recommendations
Top Stories
Fail Frequently, But Do It Right, Expedia Chief Says
Fail Frequently, But Do It Right, Expedia Chief Says

Dara Khosrowshahi is not a name often associated with failure, but the CEO of Expedia Inc. knows a thing or two about it.

Expedia Uses The F Word In Response To Unhappy Customer
Expedia Uses The F Word In Response To Unhappy Customer

It seems Expedia reached a new low in customer service, according to a report by CBS-TV in Los Angeles.

What Does AccorHotel’s Acquisition Mean For Fairmont Hotels & Resorts?
What Does AccorHotel’s Acquisition Mean For Fairmont Hotels & Resorts?

TMR goes one-on-one with AccorHotels chief operating officer for North and Central America.

Ensemble Debuts New Discounted ASTA Membership Program
Ensemble Debuts New Discounted ASTA Membership Program

The agency cooperative becomes the latest group to incentivize its members to join the national travel agency trade association.   

J.D. Power: Consumer Satisfaction Rises When Customers Book Through A Travel Agent
J.D. Power: Consumer Satisfaction Rises When Customers Book Through A Travel Agent

In a first-of-its-kind study, in which travelers provided feedback on their recent trips to America’s 50 most popular destinations, J.D. Power found that trips booked through a traditional travel agent generate a higher level of satisfaction.

13 Ways To Reward Your Clients During The Gift-Giving Season
13 Ways To Reward Your Clients During The Gift-Giving Season

The gifts you give to your clients (and future clients) need not cost money—just a bit of time.

News Briefs
Advertiser's Voice
Travel Market Report Spotlight: Celebrity Cocktails