In just a matter of months, we’ve all had to adapt to a world of isolation, separation, and distancing. But once we’re past this current crisis, millions of people will seize the opportunity to escape their four walls, to visit loved ones – and to simply enjoy the freedom of travel once again.
Prior to the outbreak, it was Millennials that were driving growth in the travel industry. At the beginning of the pandemic it was Millennials that kept travelling to the very last moment. And it’s likely to be Millennials that will lead the way in reclaiming the skies, seas and highways when they open once more.
For travel providers, it’s now more important than ever to use technology that resonates with this key generation. Because these digital natives aren’t just an important group in their own right.
MILLENNIALS LEAD THE WAY
As you would expect, Millennials’ swift adoption of travel tech and natural use of digital platforms is already visible in their younger Generation Z counterparts. But once the current crisis is over, we’re also likely to see a swathe of newly tech-savvy Baby Boomers and Generation X following in Millennials’ digital footsteps.
With the arrival of the Coronavirus, technology usage among Baby Boomers and Gen X has necessarily taken a huge leap forward. And now they’ve experienced how easy it is to shop, communicate and find entertainment online, these two groups are just as likely to embrace digital options when it comes to post-pandemic travel.
By having a social media presence, utilising travel and hospitality apps and providing digital options that really connect with Millennials, you’ll also have the bonus of putting your company in great stead to connect and stay relevant with tech-savvy Gen Z, Gen X and Baby Boomer travellers as well.
TREADING A PERSONALISED PATH
Social media sits at the very heart of the Millennial travel experience. Sharing images and videos helps the Millennial traveller to document and preserve memories of their adventures – and serves to inspire others to document and share their own adventures in turn. But the joy in sharing and the inspiration it provokes relies upon those adventures being ‘different’.
Millennials love social media because it empowers them to be the authors of their own adventures. It’s all about personalisation. They aren’t really interested in off-the-shelf experiences, instead, they expect to be able to create a personalised travel experience. From bookmarking a movie on one leg of a flight, so they can pick up where they left off on the next, to seeing their just-uploaded Instagram photos and videos exhibited on the lobby wall of their hotel (see Mariott’s Moxy Hotels ‘The Guestbook’).
It may be hard to imagine an end to the current crisis, but it will come. In China, with the pandemic reportedly under control and restrictions being lifted, hotel bookings rose 40% in the first week of March and bookings for June domestic flights jumped 250% between the penultimate week and the last week of February.
So, as we look ahead to brighter days, travel providers need to ensure they have the technology and understanding to help them stay relevant not just with Millennials – but also with a whole swathe of newly tech-savvy Baby Boomers and Generation X’ers.