Expedia: millennials are changing the future of travel
It compared millennials (defined as people born between 1982 and 1999) to generation x (1961-1981) and baby-boomers (1945-1960.)
Some of the findings do not reflect very well on youthful travelers. Millennial backpackers are getting less adventurous and more vain.
Almost half (43%) of millennials said that whether people comment on their vacation photos is as important or more important than experiencing the authentic culture of the destination.
This compares with just 16% of baby-boomers. While 43% of millennials are intimidated by the prospect of solo travel, just 32% of baby-boomers say they feel the same.
Expedia compiled the report with the help of the Future Foundation— a global consumer trends and forecasting consultancy. A sample of 1,000 consumers per country aged between 18 – 64 in the UK, Germany, France, USA, China, Australia, Brazil and South Korea answered the questionnaire in March of this year.
We spoke to Gary Morrison, senior vice president and head of retail at Expedia, who explained what the results of the report mean for marketers trying to reach millennials.
Millennials are afraid to take risks:
Morrison explained: “I think it’s not that we’re getting less adventurous but a sense of risk aversion is growing. The sense that ‘I need to know that it’s going to be authentic, I need to know that people are going to look favorably on it.'”
He added: “A lot of people enjoy travel as an experience of discovery. It’s really the not knowing, the exploration, the finding on the fly [that for them makes traveling enjoyable,] but this particular cohort [millennials] seem to be different. It seems to be wanting to be as informed as possible before they go the destination.”
Morrison said that this is why Expedia is investing in virtual reality (VR.) In this way, consumers are able to experience the destination before they travel and they can make the ultimate informed decision.
The Expedia VP dismissed the idea that VR may one day replace travel altogether: “People will always want to have the experience. The sensation of warm sun on my flesh cannot be replicated by virtual reality.”
Millennials are much happier to give away data in return for convenience:
Many Millennials are more interested in curating a positive online image than in having an “authentic” experience:
Social media is obviously very important to millennials, so much so that it is greatly influencing are vacation choices. Morrison talked about the importance of being a part of every conversation online.
“We are starting to invest in content creation, getting travel journalists to write informative, authoritative, fresh, relevant articles from different locations around the world. The more we are able to do that, the more they trust the content,” Morrison said.