Young people, it's traditionally thought, like to travel. And now the cost of doing so today is so low that the Millennial generation — those born between 1980 and 1990 —is driving change at major hotels and airlines.
That's largely because such businesses are looking to adopt Millennials as customers as they start making more money. And that means businesses need to start catering to their hopefully-future client's preferences despite baby boomers — typically those born between 1946 and 1955 — still being the most spend-heavy age group.
“In as few as five years, Millennials will enter their peak earning, spending, and traveling years and surpass the baby boomers in business-flight spending,” Christine Barton, a Boston Consulting Group partner and lead author of "Traveling With Millennials," a study on Millennial travel habits, said in a prepared statement. “The window of opportunity for businesses to understand the unique travel approach of this generation and gain its mind share is closing rapidly. Companies will be more successful if they determine an effective Millennial strategy now.”
Image courtesy Shutterstock
Part of that strategy will mean faster services online, almost immediate gratification in the hotel or airplane and high-quality Wi-Fi access (preferably free), or risk facing bad reviews on well-traveled social networks like Twitter (News - Alert) or Facebook (or both).
Catered promotions, too, will have to be a part of the millennial care package — allowing customers to choose from a variety of offers which are relevant to them, rather than generic deals.
But what remains to be seen is whether or not this sort of catering will pay off in the long-run. Businesses aimed at capitalizing on the sharing economy — whether a room (AirBnB) or a car (Zip, Lyft, Sidecar) — are immensely popular with a generation which values mobile phones more than cars. Millennials may like Wi-Fi, but you can't beat cheap.