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Millennial & boomer travel experiences: Key similarities, differences

By Brett Zabel, Connexions Loyalty Senior Director of Supplier Management

Millennials and baby boomers make up almost 50 percent of the U.S. population. Although vastly different in some respects, they share a common passion: travel. Combine the earning power of millennials with the saved funds of boomers, and these two groups represent an enormous cache of discretionary income paired with the ability and desire to spend it on travel.

 But only brands that truly understand each group’s individual motivations, habits, needs and wants will be able to offer the authentic value that earns genuine brand loyalty.

 Millennials want new, unique experiences.

It’s no surprise that millennials prefer adventurous vacations and exotic locations. They’re looking for non-standard trips: they want to be the ones determining the next hot spot.

They crave international travel to experience new places and cultures. So much so that by 2020, 320 million international trips are expected to be made by young travelers each year — a staggering 47 percent increase from 2013 according to David Chapman, director general at the World Youth Student and Educational Travel Confederation.

Millennials want to share these unique travel experience with friends and family in an instant. They’re plugged in and logged on throughout their entire travel process — from research to booking to landing and exploring. They’re sharing photos and videos in real time to showcase their trip throughout their entire travel experience.

 Boomers want experiences, too.

Boomers’ number one leisure activity is travel with America’s boomers spending more than $120 billion annually on leisure travel. Proof that, like millennials, boomers put a high premium on creating unique travel experiences.

However the experiences they’re after are a little different.

Boomers appreciate more traditional leisure ideas: relaxing vacations and trips with the family. Expect to find boomers planning multi-generational travel. They want their children and grandchildren to enjoy the experience with them. And while boomers do travel internationally, they’re much less likely to leave stateside than millennials. You’re more likely to find them relaxing on a beach in Florida, visiting the Grand Canyon or taking a cross-country road trip.

Marketing travel rewards to millennials vs. boomers

Understanding key similarities and differences in travel preferences is essential to selecting and marketing the right travel rewards to each of these highly sought-after audiences. Marketing and sales strategies should focus on each segment differently based on their rewards channel preference, appeal, and perceived value.

Below is a list of key differentiators, such as trip booking types and destination preferences, to get started segmenting and marketing select travel reward offerings.

 Types of travel rewards

 Millennials:

  • Solo and group trips
  • Custom/create-your-own travel options – like unique experiences to international destinations
  • High adventure – like skydiving, rock climbing
  • Discovery – think cultural immersion, unique dining experiences and excursions
Boomers:
  • Couple and multigenerational trips
  • Traditional leisure ideas – like cruises and relaxing beach vacations
  • Light adventure – like canoeing or sightseeing
  • Relaxation, rejuvenation – think Grand Canyon, common “bucket list” destinations

Key takeaways

As travel rewards providers, it’s our job to stay ahead of trends in the travel and loyalty space. We work with clients to ensure they understand which rewards are the best fit for each customer segment.

Brands with travel rewards programs must be both nimble and flexible. They must be agile enough to stay ahead of customers, make changes to adhere to shifting travel trends, and be flexible enough to allow for travelers to create their own unique travel experience.

Focus on your customers. Ensure your rewards speak to their wants and needs and that your platform and technology keep up with their demands.

 

Download the Millennial Report

Tags: Customer experience, Loyalty, Airline travel, travel rewards

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