Travel Marketers: Are You Reaching Millennials?

Millennials are a pretty special bunch. Their unique needs set them apart from previous generations, and meeting those needs should be part of any long-term marketing strategy. I’m not saying this because I’m a Millennial; by 2030, Gen Y’s spending capital is expected to pass the Baby Boomers’ by $72 million. That’s right. Seventy-two-million-dollars. Say hello to the future of the travel industry.

So who are these new travellers? Technically, anyone born between 1980 and 1999 is a Millennial. It’s a big span, and younger Millennials haven’t reached their peak earnings, but those born in the ‘80s have, and, boy, do they look different from older generations. Let’s see what makes them unique.


  • Crave instant gratification.
  • Are tech-savvy.
  • Prefer unique experiences over generic ones.
  • Prefer active experiences over relaxing ones.

The first two items on the Millennial checklist are connected. The instant-gratification mindset comes from growing up with technology and, more importantly, the internet. The fastest way to lose a Millennial is to use technology that makes them wait.

This is crucial for your website. It should be as easy to navigate on a phone as it is on a computer. You may be tempted to get fancy with design, but always opt for simplicity and ease of function. After your site’s up and running, check your loading times, and make sure the navigation panel is easy to use. Millennials are notorious for backing out of a site that doesn’t load in five seconds or less.

In addition to sites being phone friendly, they should also have all of the information needed to book online. Millennials are budget-conscious and do a fair bit of price shopping, but only compare prices that are listed on sites. If you don’t have everything listed on your site, you won’t be in the race. Calling an operator for information won’t fly with a Millennial.

When it comes to the type of travel sought out by this bunch, the more unique, the better. That’s why Airbnb is so popular with Millennials. This type of lodging offers unique experiences and the feeling of living like a local – which is near and dear to a Millennial’s heart. Put that Airbnb in a location that no one’s ever heard of, and you’ll entice just about any Millennial.

Another key difference between Millennials and older generations is the motivation for travel. Generally speaking, Baby Boomers go on vacation to relax – a motivation that doesn’t hold traction with Millennials. They’d rather learn to cook local food, speak a new language, volunteer for a cause, or do any number of adventure-filled activities that will get their adrenaline pumping. The company G Adventures does a great job of catering to Millennials with their YOLO (You Only Live Once) tours that offer fast and affordable adventure.

The travel industry is about to undergo some major changes. According to the Canadian Tourism Research Institute, the Baby Boomers will continue to be the biggest players in the travel industry for another eight or so years. After that, a new traveller’s in town.

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