5 ways millennials are transforming the travel industry: Gaurav Dewan, COO & Business Head, Travel Food Services
Millennials’ need for efficient and hassle-free but enriching experiences has led every aspect of the travel industry from booking to F&B to undergo significant transformation writes Gaurav Dewan.
With their constant search of novel experiences and extensive information about faraway lands due to the digital revolution, the millennial generation is a vital demographic that is today transforming the travel industry. Millennials’ need for efficient and hassle-free but enriching experiences has led every aspect of the travel industry from booking to F&B to undergo significant transformation. To understand the changes in the industry, it is important to take into consideration certain basic characteristics of the millennial generation that may be the root cause for the changes.
#1 – Millennials like to take the offbeat road
The millennial generation is known to be more adventurous and open to new cultures. There is a heightened level of cultural awareness owing to the sea of information they have at their disposal. While typical tourist places are always popular, smaller destinations like Croatia, Budapest, Israel, etc. are also trending as the new favourites. With 57% millennial aspiring to see the world, travelling is the top ambition for this generation ranking well above traditional ambitions like starting a family or buying a home. Therefore, players in the travel industry have had to explore beyond the typical tourist destinations to welcome this change in preferences.
#2 – The millennial life is about convenience
With the growth of technology and overuse of smartphones, the millennial generation is used to having every information and decision at their fingertips. Attracting millennial customers is about providing them with the highest efficiency and convenience possible. Travel companies today have expanded their operations to provide online services to cater to this growing population’s need for easy accessibility. Airlines and hotels today are listed in a variety of portals to reach their customers more efficiently. Even the way they consume food during their travel has evolved with introduction of technologies like Food@Gate which allows travellers to have their food delivered at their terminal itself.
#3 – Millennials believe in budgeting right
The common belief is that the millennials are compulsive shoppers, who spend excessively on lavish and unnecessary items. However, this generation is as budget minded as the Gen Z’s and has a clear picture of their likes and dislikes. While the older generations saved for the future, millennials believe in saving for the future while also enriching their present. Their budgeting style is not about the amount spent but about the value the amount will bring. Thus, millennial often spend on luxury features like spas even at airports because of the value the experience brings to them. This characteristic has led to the growth of travel retail with leading brands today, setting up presence in travel hubs like airports and railway stations.
#4 – Millennials enjoy authentic immersive experiences
With the digital revolution that has happened over the past few years, millennials have been exposed to cultures from across the world. They therefore, are more open to immerse themselves in new cultures and possess a more globalized mind-set. Millennials are looking to explore new
cultures which lead them to expect authentic experiences in every aspect of their travel, especially in terms of food. This experience begins from the very start of the journey, the airport itself. Airports today house a wide range of culinary experiences that serve across cuisines from local to international flavours to cater to this kind of travellers.
#5 – Millennials value innovation over quality
Millennials are a generation which is constantly in the search for next trend or the next new experience. They are known to value innovation more than brand name or reputation. They are generally intelligent shoppers who wouldn’t mind paying more if they are exposed to something new. Brands, especially in industries like travel and F&B have had to constantly bring in new technologies and ideas to bring incorporate innovation into their business and keep themselves relevant to this evolving customer group.
To summarise, the generation is a ‘woke’ one which enjoys genuine experiences at every moment of their travel experience. This has opened to doors to many new businesses at every point of contact that travellers have with the economy from the airline through in-flight entertainment to food retail outlets at the airport. The transformation hasn’t just been about the way these businesses function but about the very core of their beliefs which today prioritise customer satisfaction and requirements more than the brands’.
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