Research shows that millennials(people born from 1981 onwards) are 23% more likely to travel abroad than their older counterparts. Andrew Shelton, Managing Director of Cheapflights.co.za said millennials are having a tremendous impact on global travel – both in terms of travel for business and leisure – and as their experience and spending power increases, so will their preferences continue to shape travel for decades to come.
The changes are driven by:
Tech is king with millennials:
Smartphone ownership topped 2.1 billion globally in 2016, and among millennials, penetration is almost total in some markets, underpinning a familiarity with and a level of trust in the channel that Cheapflights is itself seeing reflected in its own users. In South Africa alone the Cheapflights app was downloaded by 134,931 people in the last year at an increase of 25%.
“We’re seeing a lot of millennials who need to travel for work taking advantage of the opportunity to indulge in a little bleisure (the new trendy term for combining business and leisure), extending their trips to take in the sights” said Shelton. Millennials aren’t stingy with money – as long as it’s not theirs – for example, BCG has found that Millennials spend 13% more airline tickets than other business travellers.
A focus on experiences:
Research indicates that millennials prize a meaningful life over possessions or career status. This group is also getting married later in life, leaving them with more disposable income for travelling. “Thanks to the popularity of homestay services like Airbnb, travellers can easily take up residence in a new city or a remote bit of countryside, whether for a few days, weeks, or months. This is giving rise to the search for a more personalised and “authentic” experience. Paired with services like local tour guide matching and at-home dining with locals, it’s far easier to get a full-immersion holiday anywhere in the world. These options add fuel to the growing solo travel market, and make it easier to cut the ties to home, which is key to a digital detox experience. For the growing group of travellers motivated to deep dive into a culture, this holiday style is hard to beat”, believes Shelton. Millennials are also influenced in their travel choices by the fact that a number of eco systems are under threat (think global warming, rising water levels), driving a sense of urgency for seeing destinations that are endangered and supporting tourism services that sustain vulnerable lands and species.