Who are millennials and how are they impacting travel?

The hotel industry is all abuzz with the impact of the millennial generation (ages 16 to 36 years old). What are some common characteristics of a millennial?  

  • The millennial generation is the first generation of digital natives (individuals raised in a digital and media saturated world).
  • They are the largest generation in the work force (35%) today. Millennials (92 million) are the largest group in the US.., even bigger than the baby boomers (77 million). 
  • They on average are slower to get married. The number of young people living on their own has dropped more than 50% since the 1960s (56% in 1968 and 23% in 2012).
  • They are more focused on health and wellness, and many have incorporated it into their daily activity. Read more about this in a previous blog, Understanding the green guest.
  • They are more likely than other generations to pay more for responsibly made products.
  • Roughly 80% want to work for a company that cares about their impact.

So my question for you is, do these characteristics also relate to you? Are you a Gen Xer or a Boomer?

There has been a lot of analysis specifically on the millennial group, but my supposition is that these are trends that span the generations. Generally speaking, we are all digitally savvy at this point. Could you imagine your life without Google at the ready to answer any question or resolve an argument between you and your spouse? Are you more interested in health and wellness factors in your life than you were 20 years ago? Are you more aware of socially responsible companies and prefer to spend your money with companies that “do the right thing?”

The common elements that are influencing Millennial travel trends are probably also influencing you. The largest trend impacting the travel industry is the “sharing economy.” It is effecting virtually every sector from transportation, hotels, and dining.

  • Many millennials (and others) are choosing buses, bikes and car sharing over rentals. Who has used Uberpool, the carpooling service? 
  • There are alternative dining options such as EatWith, a culinary service that matches travelers looking for good food and local culture with trained chefs and talented home cooks in cities around the world.
  • And we can’t forget Airbnb and VRBO, the service that allows individuals to turn their house or apartment into a temporary lodging establishment. 

There is no doubt the millennial generation, like others before, is changing our world and the way we do business. The changes by and large create more sustainable solutions, ones that require us to be more creative and innovative in how we attract guests and the offerings we provide. Think outside of your usual strategies, apply a lens of smart and sustainable solutions. Doing this will attract those millennials – and the rest of us.