For as long as I can remember, my generation – generically referred to as “Millennials”- have been at odds with my father’s generation; the Baby-Boomers (my mom is actually Gen X). As Millennials, we are called entitled, lazy, self-absorbed, blah, blah blah…
The truth is, every generation is criticized in some way, shape, or form; and we all have our own hurdles to get through. The thing is, the Boomer generation and Millennials actually have one big thing in common: desire to experience and travel.
As of now, there has been a shift of focus coming from major travel brands. They are taking attention away from my dad’s generation, and focusing on us: Millennials.
There is a simple reason for this: my generation is the most global and hyper-connected in history. Wecrave experiences. We prioritize “experiential affluence.” Now, I know that this is not true for everyone but it is a major shift on how the world has operated thus far.
But guess what? We inherited this immense curiosity of the world through our parents: the Baby-Boomers. Surprised? I would be, if it wasn’t for the fact that I acquired my hunger for travel through my dad’s desire to turn us into a nomadic family at least twice a year. So far, I have visited 20+ countries, and that’s a smaller number than some of my peers. The truth is, Boomers, compared to older generations, are more self-empowered and individualistic.
As Millennials, we are more time constrained than many Baby-Boomers who have gotten to the point in their lives of time affluence. At least in the US, people who are over 50 have 70% of the country’s disposable income. They are also a lot more experienced and sophisticated buyers. And because they know they are running out of time to try new things, they have an increasing appetite for experience. Millennials, we are time constrained, yes, but we are also time expansive. Primary reason luxury travel brands are now turning to us. We have a whole lot of time ahead of us.
Why does this relate to luxury travel?
Well, as I mentioned, Boomers are wealthy and time affluent. Travel brands should not be taking their attention away from this generation. At the same time, Millennials, even though some more willing to stay in youth hostels, are also interested in traveling in style. Plenty of them will forgo owning a home for being able to freely move through the world. In fact, only in the United States, there are 5 million millionaire Millennials (try saying that 5 times fast), that is 1 million more millionaires than Gen X. And that number is only bound to keep growing as Millennials get older. What do you think they will spend their money on? Safety? Or experiences? I would bet on the latter.
The thing is, the old ways of travel advising need to change. It’s happening with companies like Airbnb that now provide the option of purchasing an “experience.” But we no longer want a travel agent to book a ticket for us. We can do that ourselves. We want a personalized experiences, and agencies who know how to make that happen. Otherwise, we’ll figure it out ourselves – we also happen to be the DIY generation (we can learn almost anything through the internet). Boomers, though not necessarily inclined to turn to Youtube to learn new skills, are also fiercely looking for new experiences and ways to grow. Some of them also want a personalized experience. I have gone on plenty of trips that our family’s travel agency planned for us. My parents stick with them because they cater to their tastes and needs. As millennials we are more connected to social media, and we turn to our peers to imagine our dream travel destination and journey, but in truth, it might be time for a business to provide us with some “dream advisors.”
We want to engage with the brands, we want to see the humanity behind them. We know how to find CityGuides and the best rated restaurant on Yelp. We don’t want a travel guide. If travel brands can figure out a way to connect with us in a more personal level. You got us.
Thoughts? Questions? Emojis? I would love to hear your thoughts! Don’t hesitate to comment below, or even contact me!