|Ruthanne Terrero, vice president content / editorial director|
Welcome to the MReport, our new weekly newsletter in which we’ll publish research and market data on Millennials and their travel habits, all geared at helping you reach this lucrative group more effectively. Even more importantly, we’ll present experiences and products that you can sell to those Millennials who are actively traveling and seeking a different kind of vacation from your traditional clients.
You’ve been hearing a lot about Millennials, no doubt. They’re that group between the ages of 18 and 35 and there are 80 million of them out there. You may have questioned whether they’re worth pursuing; after all, many of them are still young and might not even have the means to travel.
So the question arises, are they worth your time?
I say the answer is “yes,” but I also advise you to take a close look at the demographic. You’ll want to pursue older Millennials, because they’re likely the ones with jobs. In other words, go after Millennials with money because Millennials without money are no fun and are certainly not worth your time.
When you approach this sector, keep in mind that they really appreciate the input of an advisor. They’ve grown up being nurtured and advised by attentive parents and teachers and are used to taking advice. They want to hear from you and they love the concept of having an insider who can deliver unique travel experiences to them. Yes, Millennials love to have bragging rights, just as Gen Xers and Baby Boomers do. We’re really all the same with that human trait.
Realize as well that many, many Millennials have grown up traveling. If yours is an affluent clientele, the younger folks you’ve met are likely your clients’ children who have spent a college semester, say, in Madrid, living with a Spanish family, learning how to perfect their Castilian accent. They’ve also grown up exposed to the world, and see it as a place without barriers. They don’t think any place is too far to reach. They’ve been tuned in to the Travel Channel and the Internet since they were mere babes and they likely have friends online from all over the world that they’ve met through their various networks. So they have a penchant for travel far and wide.
Do keep in mind, however, that many Millennials may get sticker shock at the price of some travel services. Some entered the work world during the “Great Recession” and kicked around without hope and without a job for a few years. So they can be pretty cost conscious when it comes to splurging on a private car and driver or a fabulous hotel suite. Be ready to work with them on selecting those services they feel have true value (perhaps a private car and driver for half a day, and a bicycle ride through town the other half?) and don’t be shocked if they tell you in some cases they want to take public transportation because they’re comfortable doing just that and that they feel they’d be getting ripped off paying for pre-packaged transfers.
And yes, they’ll want to travel using Airbnb, but there’s a good chance they’ll also want to check in to a classic luxury hotel if they’re traveling through Europe. That’s because of the “YOLO” factor (You only live once). YOLOs will want to know about the iconic hotels and destinations and do not expect to wait until they’re 65 to go there. So don’t be afraid to propose some fabulously iconic hotel to them; just be sure it has free Wi-Fi, a rooftop bar and a swanky swimming pool. They’ll figure out how to enjoy it.
Jetset Millennials are also a potential source of steady business, but they’ll expect you to act quickly when they decide to dash off for a long weekend with hours to spare. We’re talking crazy quick, as in, if you don’t move fast enough, they’ll book it themselves. Expect texts from them late at night asking, “Are you there?” because they want to check in with you about a destination they’re curious about. If you can bear any of this, the payoff could be sweet as Jetset Millennials tend to dash off with other Jetset Millennials often. It’s the new form of group travel; friends traveling with friends. If you work this crowd just right, you might become their new favorite professional and that could mean more money for you.
So enjoy the weekly journey with the MReport, as we explore this emerging generation of travelers and be sure to give us feedback on what you’re seeing in the marketplace. If there’s one thing we all know these days about the travel landscape, it’s that things are always changing and travel advisors need to constantly adjust and refine their strategies. We’re here to help you do that, so let’s begin…
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