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Millennials: 8 ways travel agents can sell to them better
Get the most from the world's largest generation
Millennials are now the biggest generation in history. Generally classed between the age of 20-36, by 2020 they will have a total buying power of $1.4 trillion... yes, that’s a lot of zeros!
Millennials do things very differently from the generations that have come before them. Especially when it comes to travel.
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1. GET REAL
Forget marketing methods like magazine ads, direct mail campaigns and radio ads. In the eyes of millennials these methods are impersonal, void of any real substance and have only been created with the contents of their wallets in mind.
Millennials want to feel connected and involved when it comes to their purchases. The average millennial spends an average of 25 hours per week online and the majority of that is viewing content-driven media.
They’re on the constant hunt for content through websites, blogs, and social media because they feel empowered by the information they find. And the good news for travel agents is that 80% of millennials say they are regularly looking at travel articles and photos online, while two-thirds of them are watching travel related videos… you know what that means don’t you? Opportunity!
Use your social media channels to share content that is informative and helpful with the readers interests in mind. A blog post should focus on educating customers on various destinations, travel planning, and other relevant content. This will help you build strong customer relationships as they will appreciate your honesty.
2. SHOW THEM YOUR EXPERTISE
Millennials don’t use travel agents. You’ve heard that before right?
Yet, data shows this is nothing more than a myth. Of those who have used a travel agent in the last 5 years, a whopping 92.4% said it enhanced their travel experience and nearly 60% were willing to pay the extra for an agents expertise. Can I get a high five?
Let’s face it; customer service from big brands isn’t what it was in the good old days and millennials are frustrated by this. They put a high value on a personalized and quality service. Demonstrate to them your value by showing them your expertise can make their travel experience a memorable one and they’ll reward your for it.
How do you do that you ask? We already told you in point 1!
3. BE MOBILE FRIENDLY
Millennials are the first generation to grow up with technology at their fingertips and as a result are used to always being connected to multiple tech devices at the same time, with smartphones their main weapon choice. 49% of millennials use smartphones when planning travel and 35% of them use it to book their travel.
You need to make sure all your digital outlets, from your website to your blog to your social media posts, are all optimised for mobile. You have a very small window to grab their attention -12 seconds to be exact- and if they get frustrated because something doesn’t work properly, they’ll be gone and you will have lost them forever.
4. GIVE THEM EXPERIENCE, EXPERIENCE, AND MORE EXPERIENCE
Millennials are the most open minded generation to date and like to think they are the next great explorers of the free world. They want to fully immerse themselves into new cultures, feast on local cuisine and have wild off the beaten track adventures.
They desire authentic, meaningful experiences, preferably the ones they can tell everyone about on Facebook!
When looking at online travel content, 74% are looking at destination content and 64% at travel content compared with 60% at accommodation and 51% at deals. Your content should show them destination experiences that will appeal to the most and satisfy their adventurer nature like white water rafting or eating noodles street side in Vietnam.
5. ENCOURAGE REFERRALS
76% of Millennials say that friends’ recommendations are top influencers for travel and 80% feel travel reviews have a strong influence on their decisions.
How can travel agents use this to their advantage?
Your existing customers will have an influence over their friends’ and family members’ travel plans. Encourage and offer incentives to document and share their amazing experiences. Ask them to write reviews, post photos and videos and in turn share it through your channels. They’ll trust these relevant and authentic reviews more than anything you can shout about.
6. USE TOOLS TO TARGET THE RIGHT PEOPLE
Social media platforms and Google have some powerful targeting tools. This means once you have crafted some killer content, you can promote it via these tools to make sure the right people are engaging with it.
They give you multiple options like location, age, gender, interests and more so that you make your audience as broad or as narrow as you like. There is also an option to promote to your followers AND their friends, useful for those amazing reviews. Clever hey?
Yes it’s a real word… well, kind of.
Millennials like to blend their business with pleasure, and is increasingly popular for them to extend their business trips a few extra days for a mini holiday - this cleverly called “Bleisure”.
A study found that 62% of millennials are more likely to extend their business trips than their older peers. Make this easy for them and you'll find a great way to bring in some extra revenue.
They also like to use their business downtime wisely, using it for an activity or to go on the hunt for some local culture. Sounds a good opportunity for you to cross-sell an unforgettable experience!
8. ENGAGE WITH THEM ON THEIR TERMS
The 9-5 lifestyle is dead. Millennials are always connected and you’ll need to be also. They aren’t just looking to social media to enjoy pictures and stories about exotic locations. They’re using it to determine where to go, when to go, and what to do when they are there. You’ll need to be on hand to answer these questions. Answering queries either publicly or through private messages is a great way to show you are a real travel pro! Build a relationship of trust with them and they will soon be a customer.
Millennials have grown up with rich media at their fingertips and the travel agents that understand they need to connect with them on their terms through honest, informative and empowering content will be the ones that win the day with this superpower generation. Use these 8 ways as a guide to learn what they respond to and what matters the most to them, it could be the breakthrough your business is looking for.
 Source: Skidmore Studio
 Source: Hubspot
 Source: Insight for Travel
[4,5] Source: American Express
[6,7,8,9,10,11,12,13,14] Source: Insight for Travel