The millennial traveler is changing the hospitality industry by redefining expectations. Over 70 percent of millennials from the US, UK and Canada said that travel is an important part of who they are as a person, according to a November report by Airbnb. Thanks in part to younger consumers, the US travel market is estimated to reach $381 billion by the end of this year, according to Deloitte.
Travel and hospitality brands are catering to the millennial traveler by appealing to their digital, social and experience-driven priorities. The idea is to create more memories for less money. Convenience is another driver—Google found that 41 percent of millennial travelers have used a smartphone to shop for flights, and 27 percent have shopped for hotels this way.
Air France has launched a new airline called Joon aimed at millennials whose lifestyles revolve around digital technology.
“The airline has been designed to meet the expectations of a new generation of travelers,” says Air France on its official website. “On the schedule—flexibility, a personalized and tailor-made travel experience. Joon is for anyone who is looking for a new travel experience.”
Joon will offer access to in-flight entertainment that streams directly onto travelers’ smartphones, tablets and laptops. All seats will be equipped with USB ports for the charging of electronic devices. Joon will begin offering flights out of Paris in December.
Airbnb says that roughly 60 percent of all guests who have ever booked through its service have been millennials. When young consumers can just as easily crash at a stranger’s house than book a luxury hotel, hospitality brands are feeling the pressure.
Marriott also created its own millennial-focused brand in 2014 called Moxy Hotels. A boutique hotel with the “social heart of a hostel,” Moxy offers free WiFi and social experiences.
“[Moxy is] a brand that was created strictly for the millennial traveler,” Catherine Leitner, senior director of buzz marketing at Marriott International, told AListDaily. “It’s led by a young, fresh, female executive who really has her finger on the pulse of what that traveler is looking for—from hotel and room designs to public spaces—and the price point makes it reasonable and attainable.”
The youth-focused hotel chain utilizes social influencers and branded content to foster its image of having fun away from home.
Cruise line Royal Caribbean has funded a guided tour company called GoBe that takes exploration beyond just port of calls. The offshoot is an answer to the idea that 80 percent of guided tour bookings are made offline, creating an opportunity to build a brand for those who don’t.
Using slogans like “GoBe adventurous” and “GoBe romantic,” the brand is able to cater to the world traveler market across age groups.
For the millennial traveler, GoBe is launching a mobile app, plans to work with social influencers as well as travel and tourism personalities and has adjusted its booking availability to meet last-minute demands.
“Millennials plan things out with much shorter notice,” GoBe managing director Billy Campbell told AListDaily. “You can go on the site and get something booked for tomorrow or the next day, but [millennials] want to be able to book a tour today.”