The New Young Consumer: Marketing to Generation Y and Millennials

Second joint webinar from TravelAge West and ASTA’s Young Professionals Society reveals tips for tapping into the millennial market By: Kelly Rosenfeld
ASTA’s Young Professionals Society and TravelAge West host a technology-based webinar with leading tech experts. // © 2013 Jacob Wackerhausen
ASTA’s Young Professionals Society and TravelAge West host a technology-based webinar with leading tech experts. // © 2013 Jacob Wackerhausen

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TravelAge West and ASTA’s Young Professionals Society (YPS) recently joined together to present their second co-branded webinar, “The New Young Consumer: Marketing to Generation Y and Millennials.” The webinar channeled the insights of four top industry professionals with valuable knowledge of this travel consumer group.

Moderated by Janeen Christoff, TravelAge West’s Managing Editor, the webinar’s panelists included Molly McCoy, communications manager for Atlas Travel; Ryan Fitzpatrick, vice president of marketing for Whet Travel/The Groove Cruise; Steve Lima, U.S. marketing manager for G Adventures; and Michelle Murray, director of sales and marketing for Contiki.

The webinar’s discussion covered some of the travel behaviors of Millennials and Gen Y and revealed insights into the best practices for marketing to this group. See below for a summary of the conversation, or scroll down to the bottom of this article to listen to the webinar in its entirety.

Who Are Millennials and Gen Y?

• Consumers ages 18-34
• Represent more than one third (37 percent) of the U.S. adult traveling population, according to the recently released PhoCusWright study, U.S. Consumer Travel Report: Fifth Edition
•Have a relatively high incidence of travel compared to older age groups, at 66 percent
•Are most likely to travel with one other adult or as a couple, but are also extremely likely to travel alone

Best Practices for Marketing to Millennials

• Millennials tend to be resistant to advertising. This group seems to want to develop a relationship or have a conversation with a brand, presenting an opportunity for travel agents
• Recognize your audience and tailor your brand to them on different social media sites
• Mobile devices are very important to this group – make your brand technologically accessible through email, texting, tweeting, etc., to speak with them through their preferred method of communication
• Engage directly with this demographic through social media
• Ability for mobile referrals from this group can prove beneficial for your business
• This group is looking for culture and experience; travel can be an integral part of that growth
Word of mouth and connecting with others is important to this demographic

Social Media

• Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, Google+, Tumblr, YouTube
• Not about shoving a message down this generation’s throats; more about showing that you are the expert. Social media allows for this through stories, videos, testimonials, etc.
• Useful for personally connecting to travelers and gaining their trust

Tips and Tricks for Reaching Millennials

• Video seems influential with this demographic
• This group focuses on research and reviews of products and desires a personal touch
• Authenticity is critical to millennials; they tend to see through conversion tactics
• Blogs are a good source for learning the language of this generation

Millennial Travel Trends

- Where Do Millennials Want to Go?

• Multi-country tours, particularly in Europe
• Rise in Asia and Latin America markets
• Adventure travel and exotic destinations provide opportunity for agents, as millennials want to take these trips but want someone to turn to in case anything goes wrong

- Cruising

• Appeal for millennials varies across brands, depending on line’s specific offerings
• Products starting to target this age range

Marketing to Millennial Travel Agents

• Identify yourself as a specialist in the area
• Become an expert in the local events, activities, etc. that will appeal to this demographic
• Easily repurposed and readily accessible materials appeal to agents

This webinar, “The New Young Consumer: Marketing to Generation Y and Millennials,” was the second in a series of webinars presented by TravelAge West and ASTA’s YPS. The series will continue on June 11 at 11 a.m. with the next co-branded webinar, “Best Practices in Turning Social Networking Into Profit.”

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