Paydays aren’t as large and vacations aren’t as long, but the Millennial traveler is having a profound impact on how all Americans will travel in the future, according to an analysis of travel throughout the 2017 peak season by Allianz Global Assistance USA.
Despite spending less on shorter vacations, the way in which Millennials are getting more memorable experiences out of lower budgets and tighter schedules is driving innovation that will shape the industry in their image.
They work longer, spend less, share more and are avoiding direct contact with real humans faster than anyone else, as customer services become AI automated and travel takes off in flying cars and rockets to space.
According to the 2017 Vacation Confidence Index, Millennials, on average, earn the least ($72,400), get the least vacation (12 days), take the least vacation (8.4 days), and spend the least ($1,373) on their vacation, when compared to their older counterparts.
Profile of a 2017 Peak Vacation Season
|2017 Season Average||Millennials||Older Travelers||American Travelers Overall|
|Paid Vacation Days||12||15||14.2|
|Taken Vacation Days||8.4||12||11|
It’s no surprise, then, that the limited time and money they have is spent on disruptive products and services that maximize their ability to create unique and authentic travel memories.
Sharing economy services like Airbnb and Uber satisfy both needs of affordability and authenticity for Millennials, who are more likely to trust (83 percent) and use (77 percent) sharing platforms over established methods like travel agents and online booking.
While Millennials who prefer the sharing economy cited better value (43 percent) and a more authentic, connected local experience (45 percent) to get closer to their destination, they’re trying to get further away from interacting directly with the customer service representatives of general travel brands, with 78 percent likely to reach them through social media, compared with just 47 percent of travelers over 35.
Disrupting Product and Service
|Those Likely To||Millennials||Older Travelers||American Travelers Overall|
|Trust Sharing Economy||83 percent||58 percent||65 percent|
|Use Sharing Economy||77 percent||39 percent||50 percent|
|Engage with Brands on Social Media||78 percent||47 percent||56 percent|
Millennials are also moving away from face-to-face contact with living humans faster than anyone else, Allianz said.
While they are less likely to choose in-person contact (34 percent) or even a phone conversation (27 percent) as their preferred customer service method compared to older generations (47 percent of whom prefer in-person interaction), they are the more likely to prefer online and instant messaging (24 percent), or the emerging ChatBots powered by Artificial Intelligence (AI) (11 percent).
Changing Customer Service
|Preferred Customer Service Methods||Millennials||Older Travelers||American Travelers Overall|
|Real, Face-to-Face Humans||34 percent||47 percent||43 percent|
|Disembodied Human Voices (Help Line / Call Center)||27 percent||33 percent||32 percent|
|Online and Instant Messaging||24 percent||10 percent||14 percent|
|Artificial Intelligence / ChatBots||11 percent||4 percent||6 percent|
Compared to their older cohorts, Millennials will lead the demand for the supply of future travel methods, with 72 percent interested in experiencing, and 80 percent confident in the future safety of self-driving vehicles like those coming from Google and Tesla. Millennials are also more interested (72 percent) and confident (72 percent) in boarding both near and distant-future travel vehicles like flying cars, supersonic jets, Hyperloop rail, and space travel.
Embracing the Future and Driving Innovation
|Self-Driving Vehicles, Flying Cars, Super-Sonic Jets, Rocket Ships, Space Travel||Millennials||Older Travelers||American Travelers Overall|
|Interested in Future Travel||72 percent||45 percent||59 percent|
|Confidence in Safety of Future Travel||72 percent||51 percent||57 percent|
“By surveying Millennials about their travel plans, we’ve captured a glimpse of what the future of travel may look like for all of us,” said Daniel Durazo, director of communications at Allianz Global Assistance USA. “While Millennials are more open-minded than other age groups about new developments – like the sharing economy and future travel methods – they also spend less and take fewer vacation days. How travel brands address these habits will make a significant impact on the travel industry as a whole.”