What You Need to Know About Millennial Travelers

Posted by: Jeff Fromm

Millennials are a generation that is completely redefining what adventure means and are looking at the world through a more global perspective. According to the United Nations, millennial tourists generate more than $180 billion in annual tourism revenue, an increase of nearly 30 percent since 2007.

For brands in the travel industry this is great news. What is even better is that millennials agree that traveling and seeing the world is an intricate part of their lives with 78 percent of them choosing to splurge on experiences over “things.” They are also 23 percent more interested in going abroad than older generations and make up 20 percent of all international tourists. A huge component of this desire to see the world is the fact that millennials are entering their peak earning years and are becoming more capable of  paying their own way across the pond.

Today, international travel is more accessible than ever before. Considering inflation rates, the real cost of travel has dropped nearly 50 percent and brands like Airbnb that are disrupting the traditional travel market have created more opportunities for millennials to see the world than generations before them. This shift has altered the travel paradigm. Older consumers tend to consider travel a luxury. Millennials on the other hand view travel (especially international travel) as a vital component to their personal growth and life experience.

Millennials want a travel adventure

According to our American Millennials study, 69 percent of millennials consider themselves to be adventurous. Whether it is in their own backyards or across the pond, millennials are constantly looking for more opportunities to diversify their lives and experience new cultures. This diversification and cultural awareness is quickly becoming the new marker of affluence.

Think about it this way, millennials are much more likely to be intrigued about a trip to Thailand rather than the $8,000 Rolex watch that defined affluence for previous generations.

Most importantly, however, is the creation of a shared experience. Whether it is digital or physical, millennials want to be a part of something that they can relive dozens of times and share with their friends.

Affluent travelers are still on budget, but will splurge when they think it’s worth it

It is true that millennials are quickly gaining more affluence, however, they have grown up and come of age in an era of economic tumult and have never fully experienced an upward trending economy. Despite higher employment rates and a more positive outlook on the future, millennials are the most budgeted and cost conscious consumers.

However, there are certain opportunities that millennials are not willing to pass on and travel is one of them. According to our recent research, only 26 percent of travelers agree that getting from one place to another should be done as cheaply as possible and 43 percent of travelers agree that a European adventure is an opportunity to splurge. Additionally, we found that millennials are far more likely to spend a little extra while in Europe than be constrained by budget concerns.

As a result, millennials want to experience all the luxuries of travel but have not given up their deal-seeking ways. We are seeing a shift to a new travel mindset – travel hacking. Millennials are asking themselves, “How can I manipulate every resource I have to find the best deal?” For the Groupon generation, booking travel is part of the thrill of the hunt. After all, when you find a great bargain it’s like wearing a badge. This day-trading skill allows them to mix and match traditional choice sets with unconventional, newer alternatives – all leading to a unique mix of travel experiences.

About Jeff Fromm

Although not a Millennial as defined by his age, Jeff Fromm is the Millennial Marketing Guy. Jeff is President of FutureCast, a marketing consultancy that specializes in Millennial trends, and is a contributing writer at...See Jeff's full bio.