Armed with smartphone in hand, Millennials are the online and social media generation. This means Millennials’ travel experiences differ from those of their predecessors. Who are the Millennials and how do we best target them?

Why « Millennials »?

The name Millennial, is the generation entering adulthood around the turn of the 21st century dates from the 1991 and comes from the book Generations by William Strauss and Neil Howe.

Why can’t we afford to ignore Millennials in the travel market?

Known also as Generation Y, these youngsters, today aged between 23 and 38 years old, make up a club of 1.8 billion people worldwide –  or about a quarter of the world’s population. They will represent 75% of the workforce by 2025. According to the WYSE and UNWTO survey, there will be 370 million Millennials travelers by 2020, spending over $400 billion.

New values mean new travel trends 

Their expectations in life are different to their parents’. Whereas previous generations found success in life was owning their own house and car, many Millennials look for freedom and genuineness. They reject these traditional achievements, placing far greater importance on experience and life-enriching moments, such as travel. Travelling is seen as a great opportunity to fulfill personal and professional goals. For the Millennials, authenticity and liberty are the new social model. So what kinds of experience are Millennials looking for?

Millennials’ expectations 

How do we best target Millennials?

  1. Segment your Millennial markets through different personas by knowing who they are and how they think and behave.
  2. Give your brand/product authenticity through values which match their expectations (sustainability, social responsibility,…) and create social evidence. Don’t just sell a product. Sell a lifestyle based upon meaningful storytelling.
  3. Be creative and disruptive to make your brand/product message stand out from others.
  4. Inspire them by engaging them to collaborate in various ways to create new products or services. 
  5. Meet them in their space. Mobile and social media are no longer an option. Millennials communicate differently by using wider technology and devices compared to their predecessors, so it is important to be ATAWAD (any time, anywhere, any device) and engage them through gamification, fun/friendly and convenient apps, Chatbot…
  6. Be on the latest social media and use their own communication codes: UGC and stories on Instagram, Snapchat, Emojis and GIF on WhatsApp/ Messenger, infographics on Twitter…
  7. Showcase your products and focus on appealing and engaging content: YouTube channel, Instagram inspirational pictures, augmented or virtual reality content, vlog/blog…
  8. Be transparent and engage Millennials to rate your products/ services through reviews.
  9. Engage key influencers and create a community of product/brand ambassadors.
  10. Reward them through a dedicated loyalty program.
  11. Offer them value. Millennials are price savvy, so value for money is important based on low cost offers and price-comparator usage. 
  12. Be local and personal by offering a genuine and unique experience through non-mass market destinations and activities related to the culture of the country (food, places to explore, activities …) 

A different usage of technology: Key facts

Nearly every online Millennial owns a smartphone. They are mobile first and they spend as much time online via smartphone as via all other devices combined . They check their mobile on average 150 times a day and their nearly 24/7 use of social media has changed our culture, introducing us to Emojis, converting data to visuals rather than text through infographics, showcasing themselves with selfies through Instagram or Snapchat, entertaining via VOD through Netflix and YouTube and shortening our attention span to 280 characters through Twitter usage. 

Millennials’ technology usage

Millennials are 23% more likely to discover a brand through a Vlog, 23% more likely via a celebrity endorsement, and 19% more likely through an expert blogger post. All three of these over-indexes point towards influencers as an effective way to reach them. Content is definitely key to reinventing Millennials’ travel experience.

As the world of Virtual and Augmented Reality starts, Millennials are eager to jump aboard. Already, 37% of them have used a Virtual Reality device compared to 15% of older generations. A full 75% of them want to start consuming media in Virtual Reality.
Early artificial intelligence services like Siri or “OK Google” have already embedded themselves into this culture, but only 26% of them even know what a Bot is.

Different values impacting consumption behaviors

De-coding the Millennial consumer is key.  Because they are buying different things, in different ways and for different reasons than other generations, it is important to understand their beliefs or expectations to speak the same language in order to target them better.

Millennials job interview with a baby boomer
  1. No surprise – they are online obsessed.
  2. Millennials are experience driven – 70% of them would rather spend money on experience than product (ADI US Working Millennial 2017 Survey)
  3. They are socially minded – for this generation, corporate social responsibility means that the values of the brand they tend to work for and buy from should match their own values.
  4. They are very open and honest – they love things to be genuine/authentic and they are open to diversity.
  5. They are self-centered – They are the selfie generation looking to showcase their life on Instagram or Snap Chat.
  6. They are price savvy, using price-comparators, low cost and sharing economy.
  7. They are selectively loyal.

Travel market examples for Millennials

   : which is offers local and unique travel experience

ClubMed Instragram Design :  To attract Millennials, ClubMed worked with architects to offer Instagram Design reinventing travel experience. 
Fondation ClubMed-  Win/Win Year : A 100€ donation ticket to win or to offer to support environment and help disadvantaged children near ClubMed Resorts. 
ClubMed 360° Vidéo through Drone and Virtual Reality

Accor Joe & Jo: The first open-house dedicated to Millennials opened in Hossegor in July 2017.

Louis Air France Bot : a chatbot that is dedicated to answer customer questions related to bagages.

Some key definitions around the Millennials’ travel market 

Bleisure: is a mix of “business” and “leisure”, and, it refers to the Millennials’ habit of combining business travel with leisure time. 
Travel bragging: posting amazing vacation pictures on social media, especially Instagram, in the hope of either making friends jealous or getting a few extra likes on your social media accounts.
FOMO: Fear Of Missing Out. FOMO is a pervasive apprehension that others might be having rewarding experiences from which one is absent. This social anxiety is characterized by a desire to stay continually connected with what others are doing.


UNWTO: World Tourism Organization – WYSE Travel Confederation – Forbes – Qualtrics – Globalwebindex – KPMG – Roland Berger – Toposophy – – KPMG – Wikipédia.
Unsplash visuals credits : Analia Baggian, Clarisse Meyer, Fabian Blank, Gem Lauris, Julian Gentilezz, Neil Soni, Rawpixel, Sarandi Westfa, Uriel Soberane