Millennials–or those born somewhere between 1978 and 1999–aren’t a holiday-at-home generation.
They act on their wanderlust, be it hiking in Patagonia, backpacking through Thailand, or working part-time in a café in Barcelona. By 2020, millennials will be taking 47% more international trips than they were in 2013.
As travel and tourism continue to move in this direction, it's important to align your tours and activities to fit the needs of young travellers, or 20% of the world's tourists.
1. Focus on providing unique and authentic experiences
78% of millennials would rather spend money on collecting experiences instead of things, says a survey by Harris Poll on behalf of Eventbrite.
Think about involving locals to make your tour more authentic. Could your walking tour pass by a local farm, shop, or restaurant to give tour participants the chance to ask questions to another expert on your region? Millennials love getting insider information.
2. Integrate social media with your tours
Millennials are more digitally-connected than other generations. Because of this, it's a good idea to think of ways to integrate social media with your tours.
As well as this, you could set aside an hour to create or revisit your social media strategy. Make sure you are actually engaging with others on these platforms, not just posting!
On the topic of your online presence, it's so important to have a mobile-optimised website and online booking system. This will benefit all of your customers, not just millennials.
Download our free social media handbook here to learn how to create a top-notch social media strategy.
3. Provide plenty of opportunities for photos
The millennial fear of missing out is largely driven by social media. Millennials are bombarded by photos of friends having fun on Facebook and Instagram, and they want to be out in the world enjoying themselves too.
Think about what parts of your tours are showed off most by customers on social media. Include more photo opportunities during these moments and let millennials show off their adventures online.
4. Customize the experience especially for them
Millennials value tailored experiences. Stay alert to what your millennial customer is really looking for when they book your tours. Next, do more of this.
Do they want to learn more about history, art, or culture? Or speak to locals? Or have a hands-on go at something?
Don't try to simply target millennials. Instead, identify the aspects of your tours or activities that millennials are most interested in and and passionate about sharing. Next, make sure to emphasise these in your marketing.
5. Word of mouth is so important
Approximately 95 percent of millennials say that friends are the most credible source of product information, and 67% reported that they have never clicked on a sponsored story or ad. You can tell what this means: make your tours worth talking about!
6. Appeal to their sense of adventure
Millennials crave adventure and spontaneity. Is there a way you can adapt your tours or activities to cater for this? Can you build more adventure into your marketing?
A brand doing a great job at marketing to millennials is Hostelworld, whose Meet the World video campaign features seven backpackers, all strangers, who are staying in hostels and are caught skinny dipping in a Mexican sinkhole.
Ottokar Rosenberger, Hostelworld chief marketing officer, explains: “Hostelworld isn’t about polished brochure holidays, it’s about real travellers in real places, who crave adventures, not souvenirs".
7. Listen to their feedback - and act on it
Millennials have on average 200 more connections on social media than their older counterparts, and you want each of these connections to be hearing great things about your tours, not the reverse.
At the end of your tour, ask for feedback. Listen to what your customer–millennial or not– has to say, and get to know your consumer better. If they have negative feedback, make sure you communicate that you value it, and that you're going to act on their suggestions.
Tap into conversations about your business on social media, take feedback on board, and turn millennials into ambassadors...
8. Let millennials be ambassadors for your business
If millennials like a product, brand, or organisation, they tend to really love it. They probably want to share it with the world too. These brand enthusiasts are an incredible tool for your tour or activity marketing.
Keep an eye on customers talking about your tours on social media or blogs and engage them on a personal level. A message from a real person still means something, and it can be a great way to turn a millennial into an online brand ambassador.
This post is adapted from Lucy's post on Medium about millennial travel and her journey to TrekkSoft: what millennials want when they travel.
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Written by Lucy Fuggle
Lucy is Head of Content Marketing at TrekkSoft. She tries to read a book a week, travel solo every month, and share ideas on lucyfuggle.com. You can usually find her in Switzerland's Berner Oberland.