7 Ways to Market Travel Experiences to Millennials

If you haven’t been marketing to millennials, you might want to start. Did you know that there are now more millennials in the workforce than any other generation? We’re also the most lucrative for businesses within the travel and tourism industry. Why? For a couple of reasons. Reason 1: We are the largest generation within the workforce right now. Reason 2: We love us some experiences.

Within the next decade, we are peaking in our spending and earning power. This means we have the financial ability to book exciting trips abroad. I say “abroad” because according to Skyscanner’s on-site survey in 2017, 80% of millennials prefer to explore international destinations over domestic ones.

We’ve also become masters of transforming business trips into bleisure trips. (Tacking on a couple days to the beginning or end of our business trip to ensure we are able to experience the area we have traveled to.)

If you have a business within the travel and tourism industry then you may want to check out the following list of ideal ways to market to millennials so you can add us on as your long term clients.

Millennial on a road trip

Be authentic

Millennials value knowledge more than avocado toast. If we wanted to be sold to, we’d turn on the television or check our spam box. If you try to come at us with neon flashing pop-up ads or assault us with “Buy Now” promotions, we’ll run away like our lives depend on it. With all the scammers and sweet-talkers out there I’m sure you can imagine our hesitation of anything that remotely resembles an advertisement. 

A better marketing approach is also much simpler; honesty. Yup, you read that right. What we want is to work with a company we feel we can trust, one who is upfront and honest from the start. With honesty comes trust, and trust often leads to us wanting to support you and your business. Flaws and all. In fact, if you own a hotel (for example), you may want to hide any perceived flaws it might have. Try flaunting them instead, because often times we’re going to be drawn to a place that has its own character. We don’t always want perfect. We want real.

Keep it Informal

You may or may not have noticed that millennials tend to be a little more direct and friendly in our approach and we expect the same from you. Even while reading this blog, you can tell from the way that I am writing that it is more conversational in tone. 

We don’t think within Business-to-Business (B2B) terms or Business-to-Consumer (B2C) terms. We operate on a Human-to-Human basis. As in, you are a human who is having a conversation with another human. Outside of your sales job, how do you speak to people? Are you taking over the conversation? Do you push your opinions on them? Or, are you friendly and listen as much as you speak? The latter will get you a lot further with us.

Interact With Us

If there’s one thing millennials hate, it’s being told what to do. We prefer to make our own decisions, regardless of the amount of backlash we get about our choices. If we want to spend our money on pumpkin spiced lattes, then we will. When you make fun of us, we’ll make a meme out of you. 

Trying to sell a product or service to us is no different. Instead of instructing us what to buy and from who, try having a conversation with us first. Find out what we’re interested in, what our budget is, and respect when we decline an offer. Marketing to millennials should be a conversation, not a pitch.

Make selling a two-way street and you’ll get much further with us. We could even help you make your business or offers better if you’d ask our opinion. (We do love to share it.) Better yet, include us in your marketing efforts by providing useful and relevant information.

 We get bombarded every day with useless, time wasting, garbage everywhere we go. You’ll get a lot more sales when you give us all the information we need, and allow us to come to you. 

An added bonus for marketing to millennials is that when we love something you make, or a blog post you wrote, you better believe we will share it with others. Authenticity and accurate information is a gold mine for us. Which for you, turns into free marketing.

Be Sensitive to Our Budget

We grew up during a recession. Please remember that. Most of us are carrying a ridiculous amount of debt from school loans or credit cards and are just trying to survive. So we’re careful with our money. 

Cost is a major player in our decision making. If we’re going to be spending hundreds or thousands of dollars for a vacation, you better believe we’ve thought it through. If you have good deals or incentives you’ll grab our attention. 

Don’t get me wrong. We don’t expect dirt cheap deals (although that would be awesome.) Try to get creative with your offers. Instead of trying to sell us on a 5-star hotel, you can offer a room upgrade or access to more amenities. 

Having a loyalty program is a great option too. We will gladly give you our money if we know it’ll be worth it in the long run.

Make it Fast

You may not know this, but official mental health statistics show that distress, mental disorder, and feelings of depression among millennials are at an all-time high, more than the last few years.

Almost every millennial I know, myself included, loathe talking on the phone. Even if it’s just to order a pizza. We prefer to do everything online, especially when it comes to purchasing. Partly to do with social anxiety, and partly to do with avoiding a sales person trying to upsell us. We want what we want, we’ve looked at all the options, and we just want to pay for it without talking to anyone about it. 

Marketing to millennials with services like having the ability to book and pay for items through an app or website will make all the difference in the world. Kiosk check-ins at hotels are also amazing.

Sell the Experience

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again. Millennials love experiences. This is another side effect of growing up during a recession. When you don’t have money, you have to find ways to have fun and make memories cheaply. 

Collecting experiences is now a part of who we are. We love freedom, we value others, and we live to experience life. Traveling plays a key role in our values. It gives us the change to experience something/somewhere completely new and exciting. Traveling provides us with stories and memories to share, it creates a bond between us and our travel companions. 

You can take advantage of this by selling us on inspiration, rather than hotel features, because odds are, we won’t be in the room much. (Unless of course it’s awesome enough to post on Instagram.)

Connect With A Cause

With technology comes knowledge, for better or for worse. Turn on any screen and you’ll see quickly that the world is chaotic. Climate change, mass shootings, poverty, the list goes on. Technology makes the world smaller. We can no longer live blindly to only what’s happening around us within our day-to-day lives. There’s also only so much we can do, and change happens slowly. 

We love helping out causes, especially if it also benefits us. A great example is Tom’s Shoes. Their shoes are sub-par, but they didn’t market the quality of the shoes. Instead, they promoted that for every pair of shoes they sell, they’ll donate a pair to a child in need. Who wouldn’t get onboard with that? Then they took it a step further by showing their results so we can all see that they were in fact, donating. Which built trust. 

We like to see the same aspect when it comes to traveling. Show us about your cause, show us how we can help make a difference. Whatever it is that sets you apart, sell us on that.

Want to learn more about marketing to millennials? Learn about content strategy here!

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