Millennial Traveler trends: off the beaten path
Millennial travelers are passionate about vacations, viewing them as a birthright

Millennials are reinventing the travel industry. That means everything from the destinations they visit to the way they share information about their trips.

As the industry caters to their influential preferences, everyone else is going along for the ride, too. Discover the five Millennial traveler trends that are changing the way everyone takes trips.

Millennial Traveler Trend #1: Their Clout

While no one agrees exactly on how old Millenials are, many studies place them as being born between 1980 and 2000. What we do know is how influential they are.

Today, according to gamification company Badgeville, millennials make up 27 percent of the U.S. population and 25 percent of the labor force. Skift says by 2020, they’ll be nearly half the workforce. By 2030, they’re predicted to outspend baby boomers. And they’re taking that spending power and putting it behind one of their passions: travel.

Millennial Traveler Trend #2: Their Love of Travel

Millennials view travel as a birthright. They’re more inclined to spend money on it than possessions. They see value in travel, particularly international journeys. And they spread their excitement about travel to other generations, including their parents.

Millennial traveler trends: reinventing the industry
The United Nations estimates that 20 percent of all international tourists, or nearly 200 million travelers, are young people

The World Youth Student and Educational Travel Confederation projects that by 2020, young travelers will take 320 million international trips. That’s a huge 47% increase from 217 million in 2013.

Millennials travel the most of any age group, according to travel market research firm PhoCusWright:

  • More than 70% of Millennials took at least one leisure trip in 2013
  • A number take four or five trips a year
  • 66% of Millennials consider travel a very important part of their life
  • 71% of Millennials took short getaways of three nights or less, but were also twice as likely as older travelers to take trips of 14 or more days

Boston Consulting Group says Millennials are more interested in travel than other demographics by 23 percentage points. And travel marketing consultants MMGY Global says 10% of Millennials plan to travel more in the future – the only demographic on the rise.

Millennial Traveler Trend #3: Their Preferences

Millennials march to a different drummer than older generations. They believe passionately in work-life balance and take all the vacation time they can. Millennial travelers aren’t doing the typical sun-and-sand vacations or visiting well-touristed cities. Instead, they’re adventurous, looking for more remote destinations.

Millennial traveler trends: always connected
Virtually all Millennials post on social networks and share their experiences while traveling

Millennials are children of the computer era, so they expect everything to be available anywhere, anytime. They’re all about convenience and personalization. They make fast decisions and expect fast service. Many Millennials research and book trips online, often using their smartphones.

Millennial travelers are more likely than older ones to review their experiences after returning from a trip. And they find reviews to be important sources of information. The World Youth Student and Educational Travel Confederation says that 80% of Millennials surveyed feel reviews have an impact on their decisions.

When Millennial travelers book accommodations, according to a survey by Chase Card Services, they want to stay near public transportation (older travelers care more about proximity to landmarks or the airport). And they’re more likely to indulge in hotel services such as dry cleaning and spa treatments. They’re also more interested in pet-friendly accommodations.

The Chase Card Services survey also found that:

  • Millennials are more likely (57 percent) than others to want to meet other people staying at their hotel
  • Millennials are more likely (44 percent) to ask for travel opinions on social media
  • Virtually all Millennials (97 percent) post on social networks and share experiences with friends while traveling
  • Almost three in four Millennials (73 percent) post to social media at least once a day when traveling
Millennial traveler trends: vacation spending
The amount of money Millennials spend on travel is growing, and so is their use of travel advisors

Millennial Travel Trend #4: Their Spending

Millennials are willing to spend money on travel, and the amount they’re spending is increasing. Millennial travelers spent 20% more on trips than the previous year, according to MMGY Global’s survey, 2014 Portrait of American Travelers. This was higher than the 12% growth of all U.S. households.

Today Millennial travelers spend less than older people on leisure trips: PhoCusWright says older travelers spend an average of $3,381, while millennials spend $3,217. But they’re not in their peak earning years yet, so look for that number to grow.

Millennial Travel Trend #5: Their Use of Advisors

MMGY Global says Millennials are increasing their use of travel advisors more than any other generation. It found that 18% of Millennials surveyed booked trips with an advisor in the preceding year. That’s up a strong 50% from the previous year, when 12% booked with an advisor.

What’s more, a greater percentage of Millennials are booking with advisors than any other generation. And that’s just going to grow. When asked if they plan to use an advisor in the next two years, 30% of Millennials said yes – more than any other demographic.

Why do Millennial travelers work with advisors?

  • 80% mentioned advisors’ knowledge of destinations and suppliers
  • 78% mentioned advisors’ ability to make travel more hassle-free
  • 77% said advisors, because of their experience, will book a better trip than the Millennial could
  • 75% said the advisor’s ability to help if something goes wrong

Millennials (or anyone else) looking for a travel advisor for their next journey can find one at virtuoso.com. It’s easy to find advisors by specialty there, including those who specialize in niches of interest to Millennials including adventure travel and nightlife.