Tourism

Can tour operators keep up with millennial trends?

Amy Bryant

Tour operators may need to adapt to the changing travel trends of today’s youth travellers if they want to keep their head above water.

At least that’s what new data from a YouGov Report reveals, with many of today’s youth not holidaying like their parents’ generation.

Millennials are gearing up for more travel than ever, with authentic experiences top of the bucket list.

New numbers from YouGov, however, show that millennials born between 1980 and 1999 aren’t preparing in the same way, or for the same things, as older generations.

Unlike their elders, today’s youth want individualised experiences that explore local culture — a need largely unmet by traditional tour operators.

“Classic tour operators are not as relevant for the millennial generation,” the report said.

Millennials from the UK, US, Germany, and China, for example, are booking their trips online at higher rates than older consumers.

These young people are also showing more interest in platform-based services, such as Airbnb, Uber, and Lyft, than older consumers, while simultaneously showing less interest in conventional car rental companies and national hotel chains.

“Many destinations have not taken appropriate steps to fully meet the demands of millennials.

“This is one reason why they have shifted towards new distribution and information channels, away from travel agents/tour operators offering predefined package tours where they may have to book all or nothing.”

So what do millennials look for in a holiday?

MT SI

Beach holidays rate high for millennials from the UK, US, Germany, and China. When compared to the types of leisure trips older generations enjoy, however, young people as a whole are far more inclined to seek out adventure and cultural trips.

In short: Millennials want more esoteric, unique experiences when compared to other groups.

While many destinations have the types of activities they seek, many wholesalers have not taken appropriate steps to fully develop their offerings or highlight them through marketing.

“In order to reach the millennials in their everyday life and especially when they are on holiday, you need to focus on the right channels; what works for older generations does not necessarily apply to the younger generation when it comes to getting their attention with advertising,” the report said.

“Capture the interests of millennials by encouraging or creating experiences that relate to their hobbies, particularly around music, movies, eating and drinking.”

So what are their hobbies?

Screen Shot 2017-06-06 at 11.15.50 AM

Ultimately, the data stresses that traditional tour operators need to evolve if they hope to remain relevant to today’s young travellers.

 

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