How The Travel Industry Can More Effectively Market Towards Millennials

Let’s get one thing straight: I love the experience of travelling, from packing my bags and heading out the door to adventuring and exploring new and exciting locations. So in most cases, if you approach me and say “let’s go on vacation,” I’ll probably agree on the spot.

shutterstock_234823648Getting me to follow through with the process, on the other hand, is like pulling teeth.

Allow me to explain why.

First, a bit about myself: I’m 28 years old (that’s right, I’m a millennial), have two dogs to look after, a full time job, financial obligations, and a tight schedule.

So while it always sounds great to plan a vacation, it’s difficult for me to actually make it happen. I say this from experience; right now my girlfriend and I are trying to plan a trip to Denmark. It’s just not easy. We can’t up and leave on a whim, even when we see amazing travel deals.

But alas, you say! Aren’t all millennials freewheelers like the ones the mainstream media likes to portray?

The truth is that a large chunk of us are not. In fact, according to the “2015 Resonance Report: Portrait of the U.S. Millennial Traveler,” many millennials are just as pinned down as I am. In fact, 54 percent already have children, and 57 percent are married.  So when we see billboards with people on beaches inviting us to “just get away,” it’s more irritating than effective–especially when it’s on a cold winter day.

So, wherever you fall in the travel ecosystem—be it a marketer for a travel agency, resort, tourism committee or air line—keep this disconnection in mind when targeting millennials and understand that in many cases, it’s going to take something more than a billboard if you want us to actually make travel arrangements.

What, then, will do the trick?

First and foremost, you need to think creatively when targeting millennials. It wasn’t until I saw a street scene of Copenhagen on YouTube, for instance, that Denmark became captivating to me. It sparked my interest, and got me motivated enough to put the wheels in motion for a trip.

Of course, online video is just one tool you can use to market towards people like me. Blog posts are also great, as it affords the ability to intertwine many different types of media in one place. And social content is important, too. Don’t underestimate the power of a cleverly-worded 140-character tweet, or a Facebook post that finds its way into my news feed.

The key takeaway here is that convincing millennials to go on vacation is tough, but certainly not impossible. As the Resonance points out, after all, millennials are travelling; they make up one-fifth of global tourists, and generate about $180 billion in tourism-related revenue.

The trick is to use targeted, integrated marketing to convince millennials to visit your particular area.

Want  to learn more about the benefits of integrated marketing? Join us for our open house on October 29, where we’ll walk you through the process.