The Millennial Traveller

If there's one thing we know about Millennials it's that they love to travel. Statistics show that the average Millennial travels more often for business (4.7 times per year) than any other age group and only marginally less for leisure (4.2 times per year). Those of us who work in the travel industry understand this demographic to be a key consumer group, and that's why we make it our business to stay on top of their unique and evolving needs.

Fortunately for us, it seems like every month there is a new scintillating piece of research brought out about the habits of our Millennial friends. The latest, a project conducted by Adara, has unpicked the preferences of British Millennials who have taken three trips over the past 12 months, in order to compare them with their counterparts in alternative markets.

When it comes to purchase patterns, the research found that less than half (43%) of British Millennials are choosing to book direct with an airline, but that this is still higher than those in America (34%) and France (40%). However, this figure appears lower than we might have guessed when you consider the popularity of budget airlines such as Easyjet and Ryanair, and the fact that both are direct booking businesses.

It isn't the only revelation produced in the research which has raised a few eyebrows - Adara also found that, despite the fact that Millennials might have less responsibilities and ties than the older generation and so might be more likely to b spontaneous, they are actually more likely to plan ahead when it comes to travel. Millennials were found to begin their search for flights 13 days before booking, compared to just nine for the older traveller.

It always pays to be a little wary of the sweeping generalisations that can so often come hand-in-hand with any age-defined consumer group. After all, an 18 year-old Millennial traveller, fresh out of school, is likely to demonstrate different travelling preferences and priorities to the 34 year-old Millennial. A tricky landscape to navigate in a world that is leaning ever-more towards personalisation as opposed to generalisation.

But there is no doubt that there are certain strands that connect the Millennial group. The research offered an insight into these commonalities by investigating just what it is that makes Millennials want to travel - knowledge that the savvy travel business can always use to their advantage when planning their marketing and upselling efforts. Novel and unique experiences continue to hit the nail on the head for the 18 to 34 year-old age bracket with 92% professing a love for travelling to new places; 90% a desire for new experiences; and 77% a wish to venture off the beaten track.

To appeal to the Millennial traveller, operators need to offer customised options for travel and centre their efforts on experience-focused trips. Additionally, trips that offer the opportunity to learn something new, be it a language, skill or greater insight into a culture appeal to the vast majority of this group (78%). Agencies and operators that cultivate immersive, interactive and creative experiences may well find themselves reaping the benefits of this lucrative demographic.

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