Stat: Millennials Value Experience Three to One

Whether it's the type of vacation they're looking for or the reason they value travel agents, Millennials are looking for experience, according to a new survey of Ensemble Travel Group members in the U.S. and Canada.


The findings are part of a new Ensemble Insights Survey that analyzes booking trends and activity of Millennial travelers. The organization’s recent annual Executive Retreats were led by Millennial authority Jeff Fromm.

Experience plays a primary role in the types of travel favored by Millennials and how they book those vacations. Ensemble Insights Survey results reveal that Millennials prefer FITs (64 percent), all-inclusive resorts (58 percent), and destination weddings and honeymoons (34 percent) over other types of getaways, including ocean and river cruises. (Multiple answers were accepted in this and several other questions.) In addition, this generation books their vacation through a travel professional because of his or her knowledge and experience (47 percent) and time savings (26 percent), far outweighing cost savings (14 percent) and help in emergency situations (13 percent).

Underscoring Millennials' need for 24/7 connectivity, the survey results find free WiFi a must at 67 percent, even outdistancing authentic experience at 47 percent and adventure-focused at 44 percent. At the other end of the scale, factors that matter least to Millennials based on survey results include world-class spas, family-focused itineraries, and timing/seasonality.

Other survey results include:

When asked “How did your Millennials become clients of your agency,” Ensemble members indicate their parents (88 percent) or friends (72 percent) are or were clients of the agency. Social media came in third place at a distant 38 percent.

As more Millennials come to agencies through referrals, they are also more willing to make referrals. Most agencies (86 percent) found that Millennials are equally or more likely to refer friends and family compared to other clients.

Thailand, Costa Rica, and Peru are top emerging destinations for Millennials, according to Ensemble survey results. Most popular Millennial destinations are the Caribbean, Mexico and Italy.

Six to 10 days is the overwhelming preference of length of stay at 74 percent, followed by  11 to 15 days at a distant 16 percent.

Expanding the scope, the recent Ensemble Insights Survey also analyzed members’ summer and year-end bookings across all age groups. Results include:

2015 summer (June, July, August) compared to summer 2014 finds 37 percent of respondents report an increase in bookings; 25 percent a decrease; and 38 percent unchanged;

The top three vacation preferences this summer: FITs outside of U.S. and Canada (33 percent), all-inclusive resorts (27 percent), and  ocean cruising (22 percent);

Year-end 2015 booking forecast compared to year-end 2014 finds 62 percent expect an increase; 17 percent a decrease; and 21 percent unchanged.