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How to Target Millennial Travelers Seeking More Than a Destination

Millennials are eager to strike out on their own. One way they demonstrate their independence and “find themselves” is through travel.

Cision’s report, “Planning Travel: What Drives Travel Decisions,” analyzed social media posts from millennials, as well as other key travel audiences, to determine what factors influence their travel decisions.

In their social media posts, millennials (adults currently between the ages of 18 and 34) frequently describe independent travel as a rite of passage. The destinations they discuss vary greatly, from broad discussion of a region, such as “backpacking Europe,” to more refined mentions of a specific country, such as “visit Argentina,” down to an in-depth tour of a specific city, such as Tokyo.

It makes sense for travel providers to target U.S. millennials because they have $1.3 trillion in annual buying power, according to a May 2015 report by Sujan Patel. Millennials are also a diverse group: nearly 43 percent are non-white and about 25 percent speak a language other than English at home.

So what are the best ways for travel providers to target millennials? Here are three of the top factors influencing millennials’ travel decisions:

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1. Safety Concerns

While millennials are interested in traveling alone, some have concerns about safety when doing so. They want to make friends and connect with other travelers, but are concerned about these encounters leading to robbery or assault.

Other concerns include traveling to a country where they do not speak the language and not having private rooms in hostels.

According to Cision’s report, business travelers are also concerned about safety when traveling alone, especially in terms of hotel location.

2. Mobile Technology

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Being technology savvy helps to reassure millennials concerned about safety, since they indicate they would text or email with friends and family to confirm their safety and provide status updates.

As might be expected, marketing to U.S. millennials through mobile devices is vital because 85 percent own smartphones, according to Patel. Many travelers also now expect mobile technology as part of their travel experience, such as Wi-Fi while traveling and in hotel rooms.

3. Word-of-Mouth

More than other groups, millennials are intently focused on online research, and brands that can help solve problems quickly and simply are likely to be favored.

Cision found that millennials are most likely to read reviews before they traveled in order to identify the must-see attractions and locations.

Patel confirms Cision’s research findings: word-of-mouth is vital. About 95 percent of millennials say that friends are the most credible source of product information, he wrote.

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Images: Moyan Brennfaungg’s photos (Creative Commons)

About Michelle Vangel

Michelle Vangel is an Insights Vice President within the Cision Global Insights (CGI) group. Michelle has nearly 20 years of experience helping global Fortune 500 enterprise clients derive actionable insight from media intelligence. She started her career in traditional media research, and then moved into helping clients leverage the power of social intelligence to achieve business results. Michelle has led innovative global programs helping clients make data-based business decisions.

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