If you're a millennial (someone born between the early 1980s and early 2000s), chances are you've used your mobile phone to book an airline, car or hotel. Internet and mobile technology have forever changed the way we search, compare and arrange travel, and millennials appear to be the age segment that has wholeheartedly jumped onto this tech-savvy bandwagon.
US research from Hotels.com found that around a quarter of millennials who book hotels turn to their trusty mobile phone to do so. The figures also suggest that mobile marketing can be very effective at pulling in last-minute travellers; seven in ten hotel bookings made by spur-of-the-moment millennials (completed via their mobile) are for check-in the same day or the following day.
As well as making the actual bookings, millennials certainly like to do their homework when it comes to travel, and data from eMarketer predicts that mobile travel research will rise by nearly 20% this year (54.6% of those who research travel online), hitting heights of 71% by 2018. Millennials also consider travel to be one of the most important aspects of their lifestyle, stated by 66% of the age group. They are passionate about travel and are the ones who want to see more places, take more trips and spend more money on experiences. These patterns should shape strategies of travel companies in the coming years.
Steve Brockway of eDigital Research claims that "as mobile continues to grow in popularity, there will soon come a time when the mobile customer experience will overtake traditional desktop sites". When that time does arrive, he says, brands need to ensure they are standing out from their competition.
Travel sites must do everything in their power to ensure their mobile and app experiences have the same ease-of-use as their desktop sites, understanding the nuances of millennials in order to present them with a mobile site that meets their needs and expectations. After all, millennials have become used to getting what they want quickly and easily without the hindrances that perhaps Generation X (those born between the early 1960s and early 1980s) and baby boomers (people born between 1946 and 1964) grew up with.
Companies such as Apple and Uber have been responsible in shaping millennials' expectations – both in terms of products and service – and the travel industry will need to follow suit.
It seems as though millennials are in the hot-seat when it comes to travel. Do you consider them to be your prime target audience?