Studies Show Why Millennials Are Good News for Travel Agents

A new study issued by ASTA and the recently released 2017 Portrait of American Travelers by MMGY Global both have plenty of good news for travel agents — especially where selling to Millennials is concerned. For one thing, the latter report shows that one-third (33 percent) of Millennial respondents say they plan to use the services of a traditional travel agent for a vacation during the next two years. That’s nearly twice as many as Gen Xers (17 percent) and Boomers (18 percent) combined. The chart below shows that in six out of eight key aspect of booking a vacation, traditional travel agents are more influential to Millennials than they are to their older counterparts.

Supporting that outlook, ASTA’s How America Travels National Survey also indicates that Millennial travelers are more likely to see value in agents. A healthy 44 percent of them say that using an agent is “worth it,” compared to 33 and 34 percent of Xers and Boomers, respectively. The survey concludes that Millennials see agents as advisors, not just bookers. More than any other generation they enlist agents’ advice in deciding on a travel budget, organizing tours and getting recommendations for activities.

The picture gets rosier when you factor in ASTA’s findings that Generation Y travelers take an average of 3.1 leisure trips per year, whereas Xers and Boomers both average 2.3 trips. The study also shows that nearly half (48 percent) of Millennials have cruised compared to 39 percent of those belonging to older generations — and nine out of 10 Millennials who have cruised like it, versus Gen Xers (86 percent) and Boomers (77 percent). And while the clear majority of all past cruisers surveyed say they “strongly like” or “somewhat like” the experience, Millennials again lead the way with 61 and 29 percent, respectively, or a combined total of nine out of 10.

Looking forward, MMGY Global’s Portrait notes that, when looking at the data by generation, in 2017, Millennials recorded a 16 percentage-point increase in their intention to vacation during the next 12 months. For Xers it’s only up three points, while Boomers report a drop of one point.

Compared to what they spent last year, Millennials intend to lay out 8 percent more for leisure travel during the next 12 months. Xers and Boomer intend to spend 3 percent less, while Matures plan to spend 11 percent less.

The Portrait emphasizes that the growth within the Millennials market is tied to a single sub-segment — families — and concludes that Millennial families are singularly responsible for the increased travel intentions of this generation, representing 16 percent of all active American travelers. Millennial families’ intention to vacation during the next 12 months is up 36 points from last year’s survey. Overall, Millennials are the only generation to report increased future travel spending.

The ASTA survey and MMGY Global Portrait concur that exploring different cultures and experiencing new cuisines are both significantly stronger travel motivators for Millennials than for older travelers.

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