Travel is an industry that’s proven sensitive to customer wants and needs. And with every new generation comes a new way of doing business, doing research, and doing travel.
The millennials are one of the generations that are truly reshaping the way in which the travel industry operates; adding new dimensions, locations and considerations for eCommerce businesses to take to heart.
When considering the fact that this is a generation that is, not only the most ‘plugged in’ in terms of using social media and researching travel sites. And, compared to any other age group, they travel 23% more – making them the group to pay attention to.
Here’s how they’re changing the game of online travel for companies across the world.
Millennials: Mostly Stressed, Bigger Spenders
Compared with any other generation, Millennials are the most likely to suffer burnout. Borrowing from the same Deloitte survey from earlier: 84% of millennials have suffered from some kind of workplace burnout at their previous or current jobs.
Why is this important? Because, as a reverse to this disproportionately high level of burnout, it’s a generation of big spenders when it comes to eCommerce and wellness travel online.
On average, millennials will take 4-5 trips a year and spend over $5,700 on those same trips compared to the $3,300 that Baby Boomers would spend on their vacations. The only generation to actually outspend millennials would be Gen X; which spends more than $2,300 per trip and travel 3-4 times annually.
The Take-Off and Cruising of Wellness Travel
For many people, vacations can be a much-needed way to unplug from all the acute stress and strains of life. It doesn’t matter if it’s an adventure, explorative, rest and relaxation one, they all accomplish the same goal in the end. Steadily emerging from the broader ‘pack’ that is the Travel Industry is the impressively booming habit of ‘Wellness Travel.’
Of course, it’s not so much a fledgeling segment or passing trend. According to the Global Wellness Institute back in 2017, it was a $639 billion industry and has all the potential to surge to $919bn by 2022.
Even then, this forecasted growth of $280bn only reflects the changes to wellness travel, while the entire wellness industry – which is valued at $4.2 trillion.
What accounts for this robust rate of growth? Workplace burnout is among them. While it was previously thought of as a millennial phenomenon; with young professionals throwing themselves into and subsequently becoming mentally and physically drained with work. In 2015, Deloitte found that 77% of people suffered from workplace burnout at some point in their lives.
The rapid growth of what we now call ‘Wellness Travel’ is an impressive display of just how consumers are looking to self-heal with travel being a good remedy to workplace stress.
That doesn’t come as too much of a surprise either, 17 million Americans, for example, consider themselves ‘health and wellbeing’ focused. With many of the same planning on taking holidays with both of those in mind, 40%, of them, in fact.
One thing is for certain, though: those going on a wellness holiday will spend anything from 53 to 178% more, depending on whether it’s domestic or international.
That’s impressive on its own, but if we also factor in that Millennials are more likely to face burnout, will prioritise wellness travel and spend more annually than any other generation – they become a domineering force for this industry segment.
Business and Pleasure
The common question to be asked at immigration desks: business or pleasure? But for millennial travellers, it’s becoming a question more often answered with just ‘yes.’
Compared to any other generation, millennials are taking more business trips than any other. 7.7 of them in a year. So with so many extra air-miles, millennials are taking pleasure opportunities wherever they can.
Combining both business and pleasure is having an interesting impact on how long they spend overseas too. While the average length of ‘Bleisure’ travel tends to be more or less one week, digital nomads can go for much longer.
The best advice for eCommerce Businesses is simple – follow along with traveller behaviour and build their holiday around capturing their attention.
Having a site that’s set up to provide these keen-eyed consumers with a way to add on 1-3 day holiday incursions or experiences to their trip is a great way to earn customer loyalty.
Travellers are Switched on, but Businesses Are Switched Off
So, bigger spenders? Check, more likely to mix business with pleasure? Check. This gets us onto the matter of what this means for businesses in this sector.
Some of the first things that people will think when they hear the word ‘Millennial’ is social media, and if those two terms don’t fit, then there’s a problem. When researching, putting together and paying for a holiday, 66-74% of millennials do this online, either through a smartphone, laptop, or a combination of the two.
It makes perfect sense though: this readily accessible way of doing research cuts down on time and helps millennials find the best prices from the most trusted companies. So it stands to reason then that any eCommerce business that boasts effective on-site information and AI can really reap the benefits.
So how are businesses doing in keeping up with this shift in researching and buying? Not great. Out of thousands surveyed for how companies did in terms of online support – 86% reported negative experiences when attempting to research or make purchases online.
To the credit of businesses, to whom going mobile is a relatively new phenomenon, the bad experiences are primarily because their stores aren’t set up for mobile users. eCommerce businesses need to be able to handle the way in which millennials do business.
On average, the amount of time spent researching a holiday ranges from 1-5 hours, not including just where they take inspiration from; which includes social media. Scale and useability are key things to take into consideration.
One interesting take-away is this: Millennials are not only big spenders, but they’re also risky ones. Compared with any other generation, they’re more likely to spend themselves into debt for vacations. One of the best solutions would be to provide more sustainable ways of financing their wanderlust.
New Experiences, New Destinations
Millennials aren’t looking for an escape, as we tend to think of holidays. Instead, they’re interested in being challenged or immersed in something and somewhere wholly unique. 86% of Millennials want this to be the focal point of their holiday-making.
Locations like Paris, Rome and Tokyo have been replaced with Bora Bora, Aspen and Indonesia among a wide variety of unique destinations.
Along with new experiences, millennials are looking for the truly authentic, wherever they go. It’s no longer about partying, it’s about finding out as much as they can about the local culture, festivals, markets and life.
While the Pacific and S.E.Asia are on the cards for travel, it stands to reason that, among the top regions are Latin America, Asia and even Africa. 86% of these vacationers shape their travel around these experiences, this same figure reflects just where they get their inspiration from – social media.
This newfound need for immersing in the ‘new’ has knock-on effects for local businesses. With upwardly mobile millennials seeking out new destinations and experiences and coming from Europe, the US, and more often from China, businesses need to be prepared to cater to this dynamic group.
Millennials are flying out in all directions, so it’s important for businesses across the world to get ready to really embrace these dynamic, plugged in travellers.
Did you know that 81.1% of carts are abandoned in the travel sector? For the average business, that’s a disaster. Get ahead of the curve and bring that rate crashing down by checking out our insights on eCommerce and Travel right here.