How to reach a younger holiday audience

Written by David Smith, marketing director, Cruise Line

Today’s younger generations are such a valuable audience for travel agents and organisers. Research has shown that the current 16-34 year old age group is open to a wider range of different destinations, transport options and experiences than before – but what can travel companies do to capitalise on such changing trends?

Here, David Smith, marketing director at Cruise Line with over 10 years of travel marketing experience with Regent Seven Seas, Hurtigruten and Star Clippers, explores what younger holidaymakers are looking for when they book trips away and how you can make the most of their varied interests.

Destinations

David Smith, Cruise Line

Millennial and Generation Z holidaymakers are looking for a variety of different destinations, but travel costs are generally a major factor.

Many younger travellers will track prices of their dream destinations on apps like Hopper, waiting to find the cheapest ways to get where they want to go rather than booking on a whim regardless of the cost.

However, these dream destinations themselves range from nearby capitals such as Dublin to the exotic Caribbean islands of St Lucia to distant cities like Tokyo. With this in mind, if you can find the right price, younger travellers will often jump at the opportunity to make the trip of a lifetime.

Todays generations aren’t generally starting families as young as their parents, so family friendly destinations and resorts won’t always be important – in fact, it may be the opposite, with holidaymakers wanting kid-free vacations and to explore locations with other people in their age bracket.

Adventure holidays are particularly popular with millennial and gen Z’s, as they offer once in a lifetime experiences whilst also being (mostly) free of families.

Getting online

It’s important to consider the influence of social media, as destinations with typically Instagrammable sights will be popular with younger travellers and they may choose such locations based on what they’ve seen online.

When it comes to choosing hospitality or transportation, Wi-Fi access will typically be an important factor for millennial and gen Z holidaymakers, particularly outside of the EU where data roaming is free.

Transport

Cruising has long been seen as a holiday option for the older generations – however, recent research from Mintel found that 16-34 year olds now make up the largest proportion of people interested in taking an ocean cruise.

The range of activities available on board has become an attractive selling point for younger holidaymakers, whilst the opportunity to see so many destination in one go makes it more worthwhile, and the advent of adventure cruises also appeals to those wanting to take on some more exciting activities and experience more unique destinations.

Budget flights will always be appealing to holidaymakers looking to get away without breaking the bank. Destinations served by such airlines typically cover Europe, but with many companies pushing for more distant locations with cheaper fares, younger holidaymakers are looking to venture to further lands for a lower cost.

Cheap weekend breaks within Europe are consistently popular though, and younger holidaymakers always want to spend a few days in Venice, Barcelona, Prague or Ibiza, so don’t neglect cheap and cheerful holidays as valuable vacation options.

Dates and durations

Many young travellers book gap year trips, or vacations before entering full-time employment. For travel organisers, this is a perfect opportunity to push further destinations, as bigger trips will justify a longer flight and higher expense.

Destinations like New Zealand, Thailand and Brazil are always popular with younger travellers, but there are many more countries across Asia, South America and Africa that also offer unique getaways, so consider suggesting options that might better suit a tight budget or allow for some exciting new experiences.

For more information regarding The Cruise Line, visit cruiseline.co.uk.

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