Tom Bastek | March 11, 2015 1:00 PM ET
Millennials Aren't Changing Travel, Technology Is
So this past year I turned forty. I did not want a big party, don’t suddenly feel like I am over the hill, and certainly didn’t go through a mid-life crisis. I keep friends of all ages and I am proud to say that I can “hang” with the best of the older and young. So more and more frequently, when I read about how a company is changing the way it does business to better serve the millennial generation, I start to dig around to find out what the millennial traveler wants out of their travel.
One of the first things that everyone is quick to say about millennials is that they are technology driven and that they want their Wi-Fi (as well as other things) to be fast and free.
Well who doesn’t? The business traveler and most leisure travelers regardless of age have been moaning and groaning about terrible internet access in hotels (wireless or otherwise) for over 15 years, and we paid through the nose for it.
Millennials want convenience to include quick check-in, security screenings, and avoidance of lines as much as possible. Again, I challenge you to find me anyone who actually wants to wait at security, or who would prefer to wait for the 20 people ahead of them at check-in just to talk to an actual human being instead of sipping piña coladas at the pool.
Millennials apparently hate to be herded like cattle and would prefer more personalized trips, dining experiences, and tours or better yet, be able to explore on their own. Again, who actually likes being treated like a number?
I could laundry list you with “millennial desires” of behind the scenes and adventure tours, culinary experiences and design element importance. Corporate transparency, organic and free range food, all of which goes from farm to table and is as locally sourced as possible. Companies that care about the environment, embrace sustainability and care about work/life balance. I know that some of those things were not around as much when we were younger, but as we heard about them, we were certainly on the bandwagon.
So the question here is why the companies are suddenly listening to this demographic more than they ever have before? One word: Technology.
Because back in the day, word of mouth could maybe put a dent in local restaurant’s business that gave poor service or bad food, but it couldn’t take down a big resort halfway across the country. Nowadays, every single person that walks in the door is a critic, a reviewer, and a potential raving fan.
And the millennials are the generation most associated with social media. They are not the only ones with an online voice, using it to scream from the rafters about how well or poorly they were treated.
To me, the millennials are the lucky benefactors, accepting the credit for the travel business having to join us in the technology-driven world that has evolved over the last 15 years. To which I will say, “It is about time.” So if I am embracing this technology and sharing in the beliefs and desires of the millennials and they take all of the credit, “So be it,” I say!
I feel younger already!
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