Rosebuds Blog

The Millennials speak out on a new generation of travelers

December 09, 2012

Many of you are probably old enough to remember the notorious Generation Gap of the 1960’s that caused friction between parents and their children. Changing sensibilities are still with us, and their not only political in nature.

Group of young profesionals

Case in point is Generation Y, the so-called Millennials, and their changing tastes regarding travel and lodging. Obviously, this is a topic of extreme interest to The Rose Hotel, as well as many other hospitality organizations, such as the National Tour Association, which asked members of the Millennial Generation to share their outlook on travel and tourism. Though definitions vary, the NTA defined Millennials as those born between 1980 and 1995.

When you consider that Millennials will constitute 75 percent of the workforce by 2025 you understand why the tourism industry is so intent on understanding Generation Y’s predilections.
Highlights of the research conducted by NTA and other travel organizations included the following insights:

  • Millennials travel in groups but don’t think of it as “group travel;” they’re simply seeking shared experiences
  • They expect value in return for their travel dollars
  • Their travel is focused on how they will change the world; good works is a way of life for Millennials
  • Sustainability is not merely important to Millennials – it’s mandatory
  • Eighty-six percent of Millennials cited networking and finding job opportunities as a primary motivation for attending meetings and conventions
  • Survey respondents also ranked “education with entertainment” as leading reasons to attend industry events – whether the learning and fun comes from an entertaining speaker or an interactive environment

For meeting planners the critical question is: How do you attract young attendees to your next meeting or convention? In search of the answer to that question, the PCMA Education Foundation commissioned the largest survey ever conducted on millennial convention attendees.

“Ultimately, the foundation is looking to answer how we can captivate them to build a stronger future for meetings and events,” says Brad Lewis, executive director of the PCMA Education Foundation.

The resounding conclusion? It’s time to break up with old-school meeting formats.

“It is imperative to discontinue programs of straight lecture or basic PowerPoint presentations to satisfy an emerging generation of attendees,” the research project concluded. “If you motivate the Millennial with an inspiring and fun event, they will come.”

In other words, one of the surest ways to inspire Gen Y is to demonstrate the individual impact of attending a particular meeting or convention. That what’s in it for me mentality is why the Millennials have at times been derided as the Entitlement Generation.

While Gen Y is big on social media, 81 percent of still ranked face-to-face as their preferred method of communication. Though older Millennials use LinkedIn, younger Millennials aren’t as enamored of the professional networking site, ranking it last among their favored methods of communication. Rather, younger Millennials favor 140-character Twitter feeds.

Other research findings show that nearly six in 10 Millennials say they travel for leisure with friends. That’s nearly 20 points higher than older generations. Relationships are vital to Millennials, and they are highly influenced by others who help to select places to visit and things to do.

As study conducted on behalf of Delaware North Companies Parks and Resorts says, “Through social media they tell stories to one another, make recommendations and assessments often in the form of real-time descriptions of their experiences. With their technology acumen, Millennials make quick decisions. They plan trips in far less time (75 days) than older generations (93 days). They are adept at accessing information online, where they can search for a deal, read the reviews, book it and go. Implications for destinations are twofold: insure messages are easy to follow, timely and relevant; and innovate in the creation of appealing experiences with memorable moments that will be quickly shared.”

No doubt many of those of you reading this blog post are members of Generation Y. We would like to hear from you. What do you value most in travel and lodging, meetings and conventions? Do the results of these research reports square with your own feelings and travel habits?

Leave a comment below. We value your opinions and insights.

Written by Mike Consol

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