Traveling with Millennials

Traveling with Millennials

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Traveling with Millennials

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    Generational Needs and Preferences

    Our survey also revealed generational differences that we believe will continue to characterize members of this generation as they age. Forward-looking companies will consider these factors as they develop strategies that target the Millennials.

    Millennials are more likely to book business and leisure travel through OTAs or with the help of aggregators—a preference reported among all members of this generation, regardless of income, gender, household composition, or race—and to use a mobile device for making travel arrangements. Far more Millennials than non-Millennials (75 percent versus 47 percent) report having travel apps on their smartphones, and they are more likely to use, Google Maps, Yelp,, Expedia, Kayak, Orbitz, and the travel apps of traditional carriers such as Delta and American Airlines. The exceptions are hotel websites and, which Millennials and non-Millennials use about equally. Millennials are twice as likely as non-Millennials to use their mobile phones to show travel pictures to friends, share travel photos on social media, blog or recount travel experiences online, and post travel reviews. Millennial females, in particular, are the most active travel sharers: far more of them upload photos to social networks than Millennial males (42 percent versus 25 percent). These generational tendencies have implications for digital strategies (think, for example, of how bandwidth issues at sea could affect the experience onboard a cruise ship), marketers, customer service organizations, and advocacy and social-media strategy and tactics.

    Millennials also report doing more travel research and comparisons over the Internet and making greater use of search engines for travel purposes. They’re far more likely than their non-Millennial counterparts to upload travel information. Overall, Millennials report much more reliance than non-Millennials on user reviews, experiences, and online content when they make travel arrangements. Millennials are more likely to use review sites such as Yelp, Google Places (also known as Google+ Local), Yahoo! Local, and In addition, they tell us that they’re more likely to broadcast negative experiences than positive ones, unlike the average non-Millennial leisure traveler who tends to post more balanced views and is more apt to tell others about a great flight experience.

    All travelers are hesitant to divulge sensitive personal data and information about their children, spouses, and social networks. Generally speaking, however, Millennials are less cautious than non-Millennials about sharing personal information online, such as brand preferences, where they live, household composition, loyalty status and numbers, age and general personal information, frequent destinations, preferred airports, and personal hobbies.

    Although the Millennial generation is more likely overall to integrate social or environmental causes into purchasing decisions, this inclination doesn’t appear to extend to travel, most likely because of the price point. Millennials are less willing to pay more for travel that supports a cause. This implies that when airlines and other travel and tourism companies support causes, they should do so altruistically, with no expectation of brand enhancement or other benefits.

    Far more Millennials than non-Millennials report a desire to visit every continent (70 percent versus 48 percent) and to travel abroad as much as possible (75 percent versus 52 percent). Although younger Millennials (ages 18 to 24) report a greater interest in international travel than non-Millennials, the two groups report taking a similar number of international trips, despite differences in discretionary income. Interest in international travel increases slightly as household income rises, and it decreases slightly in households with children, reflecting a minor life-stage effect. Overall, however, Millennials are more diverse as a group than non-Millennials and more interested in international travel and global cultural experiences. Given the popularity of gaming among Millennials and their desire to achieve and share achievement badges, travel companies could look at building promotions or loyalty rewards around this game-playing predisposition—especially for more profitable international flights.