How to Market to the Millennial Traveler

How to Market to the Millennial TravelerSchool is in session and fall is in full swing. If you’re like me, you’re looking back on your summer vacation photos and remembering happy, relaxed times. But if you work in the travel or hospitality industry, you might have something else in mind when you think about vacations: millennials.

Millennials are changing the way companies market their vacation destinations. This week, I’ve gathered insight on what millennials are looking for when they travel, and how travel marketers can reach millennial clients.

How Millennials Are Changing the Way Hotels Cater to Travelers. Smarter Travel: “To help connect young travelers with local culture, and with each other, Marriott’s Residence Inns are now hosting weekly theme nights, called The Mix. Some events include dessert samplings, live music in the lobbies, local food trucks, and fire pit nights. Nothing screams ‘millennials’ like food trucks and fire pits, am I right? Hilton’s new brand, Canopy, is also getting in on the ‘cool amenities’ game to appeal to younger travelers. Guests can ride bicycles or take passes to nearby fitness centers; engage in neighborhood art and music programs; attend local wine, beer, and spirit tastings; and can also expect a welcome gift from a local bakery upon arrival. Richard Branson’s new brand, Virgin Hotels, targets millennials by offering money-saving perks.”

Millennials, Now Bigger than Boomers, Offer Hotels Challenge. Ad Age: “To lure this tech-savvy generation, Hilton has introduced a digital check-in service for smartphones, which allows guests to select a room on a map, and all its hotel room doors will be smartphone-enabled by 2016. Hilton and Hyatt have concierge accounts on Twitter, and Marriott’s Rewards app lets guests choose from a list of services and amenities or chat with a person for other requests. InterContinental’s Concierge Insider Guides app offers video tours and recommendations on where to shop and eat, and Starwood Hotels & Resorts’ app lets guests FaceTime with staff at any hour of the day.”

Why You May or May Not Be Attracting Millennials To Your Destination. Hospitality Marketing: “According to Destination Analysts, 72% of Millennials make their travel plans via a smartphone and it is estimated that an equally large or larger percentage of this generation always have their phone within 25 feet of them. I know from personal experience it is a rare occasion that my sons will not text, enter a SnapChat or watch a Vine video while I am in the room. So needless to say, because they are always connected, it is vital that your destination be connected as well. And I mean everywhere from the lobby to the guest room and everywhere in between. They demand access and if they can’t get it, you are toast. One more thing – Wi-Fi and cell data plans are not one in the same. Don’t expect them to be happy because they have to use their data plan to get the kind of access they want.”

Local, State Tourism Marketing Efforts Lean on Social Media to Draw Young Adults,

Families. The Tampa Tribune: “Today’s young adults have been working on keyboards since their toddler years. So, government-funded tourism agencies including Visit Tampa Bay, Visit St. Pete Clearwater and Visit Florida are all using YouTube, Twitter, Instagram and other programs to draw them in. Part of that effort is to get millennials to share their Florida travel experiences on their own accounts to draw an even larger audience. ‘It is planting the seeds,’ said David Downing, executive director of Visit St. Pete Clearwater. ‘We’ve gone heavy, heavy, heavy on social. But our Twitter feed is not a selling tool. That’s not what they want.’ These campaigns aren’t likely to pack the Tampa Bay area with millennials next winter, but they’ll be thinking about it, Downing said.”

Millennial Travel Habits Force Tourism Bureaus to Shift Strategy. Skift: “Millennials at destination marketing organizations are pushing senior leadership to develop more innovative digital communications and more experiential sales efforts targeting both the leisure travel and meetings sectors. Especially on the digital side, many of these younger professionals feel that their youth and social media expertise can be better leveraged to create more compelling social media and content marketing outreach for their organizations.”

If you work in marketing, how do you target your millennial audience? If you’re a millennial, what impresses you about travel destinations? I’d love to know — please share in the comments!

Lindsey Pollak helps the world’s top organizations understand the millennial generation and thrive in today’s multigenerational workplace. A New York Times bestselling author, Lindsey began her career as a dorm RA in college and has been mentoring millennials — and explaining them to other generations — ever since. Her keynote speeches have audiences so engaged that, in the words of one millennial attendee, “I didn’t check my phone once!” Contact Lindsey to learn how she can help your organization understand and connect with millennials.

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