Travel agents shouldn’t fear millennial travelers
TRAVEL agents run the risk of losing precious customers from the millennial generation if they don’t keep up with the demands of the modern traveler.
As the millennial generation grows up, their disposable income expands as they enter the working world. According to MMGY Global’s study on the American traveler, members of this generation are happy to spend a substantial amount of their disposable income on travel, as the report recorded a 16 percent growth between 2016-2017 of millennials expecting to take a vacation.
With advancements in technology taking over traditional industries, the travel sector certainly hasn’t been forgotten. Millennials are choosing to book their trips through a series of online platforms, from the comfort of their own homes, in a few simple clicks. But where does this leave travel agents?
A recent study from Signature Travel Network and The Center for Generational Kinetics reported 69 percent of American leisure travelers take their first step toward researching travel online. However, the aim of the report is to understand how travel consultants can put themselves on the front of vacation planning.
The study found travel agents should be swamping social media to gain the attention of prospective travelers.
“Travelers love to get good deals, and knowing that this is possible will convince more than half of them to contact a travel consultant for more information,” states the study.
“Social media ads are the number-one way to catch the attention of millennial travelers thinking about taking a leisure trip.”
The assumption is that millennials will always opt for digital booking over visiting travel agents, but the study found one-third of millennials prefer to make an appointment to sit down and talk to a travel consultant as their initial contact.
“Millennials prefer, by a wide margin, to sit down and talk with the consultant. Additionally, while most prefer to receive updates through email, Millennials are much more likely than those of other generations to say they would like a phone call,” the study explained.
But travel agents must get on board with the fact millennial travelers do not want to stick out like a sore thumb. Being touristy doesn’t allow travelers to immerse themselves in surrounding cultures, and this is one of the most important elements for millennial travelers, according to the study.
Travel agents need to assure millennials they can facilitate their desire to experience local cultures, “coupled with messaging around the fact that leisure trips don’t have to be ‘touristy’ will influence the nearly half of millennials who list these two factors among their top concerns,” the study added.
Ultimately, as their current clientele ages and ceases to travel as much as they did 20 years ago, travel agents need to embrace the age of social media. Creating unique, culturally immersive itineraries will certainly entice millennial travelers to use travel agents. And if they can match or beat the prices of the online platforms, travel consultants will be on to a winning formula.