What Tour Operators Need to Know About the Millennial Mindset

What Tour Operators Need to Know About the Millennial Mindset

You know who they are. They have Facebook with their morning coffee and are constantly connected to their mobile devices. They are the Millenial Generation.

Born into the digital era (between 1980 and 1999), these tech-savvy individuals are now growing up and spending more, making them an increasingly important slice of the market for tour operators.

Here’s what you need to know about them to get into their demanding little heads. Thanks to HVS’ report, the Millennial mindset should be crystal clear to you by the end of this post.

1. Millennials want it now

This generation is notorious for being impatient, especially when it comes to internet speed. They have a low tolerance for anything slower than lightning fast, and who can blame them? Growing up surrounded by technology that makes information retrieval instantaneous will do that to you.

So Milliennials have high expectations of your websites. They expect it to:

  • load fast
  • be easy to navigate
  • contain comprehensive material that answers all the questions they have about your tour or activity
  • let them secure a booking online

If you don’t satisfy the above requirements, they’ll head back to Google or the review site that brought them to you.

According to HVS, “this capability to obtain data will not necessarily propel you ahead, but lacking it will definitely leave you behind.”

2. Millennials are scared of missing out

HVS identifies a phenomenon called “FOMO” (fear of missing out), which is “born from the Millennial Generation and >social media, and stems from a deep-seated concern that your friends or the person sitting next to you is having more fun.”

This is probably why 58% of Millennials (20% more than older generations) prefer to travel with friends – they can’t bear the feeling of having missed out!

Tour operators can use this to their advantage:

  • Stick real time photos of happy customers up on your website and social networks to trigger this eagerness to experience your tour or activity.
  • Make sure that you have booking software in place so they lock it in before that moment passes.

Remember that this generation is comfortable making last minute plans based on informal decisions, so give that emotional heartstring a tug and hope for the best.

3. Millennials want online bookings

Like we said before, expectations are high. They expect instanteity from start to finish. After they know what kind of tour you are, what packages you offer, and how much it costs, they want to lock in a date, pay for it, and receive instant email confirmation that their booking has gone through.

HVS reports that Millennials are “fluent and comfortable with booking travel plans online, as well as on mobile and tablet devices.”

They’re looking for tour operators with websites that are

  • Mobile-friendly
  • Easy to navigate and book through
  • Full of high quality content

Tour operators that don’t yet have this booking capability need to adapt fast. After all, it’s a win-win situation! You spend less time managing bookings because customers self-serve. It’s all taken care of by your online reservation system.

4. Millennials want authentic local experiences

While traveling, this generation demands to be integrated in culture with an athentic local experience. In fact, 70% indicated they expect special places to offer immersive experiences that are interactive and hands on.

They want to see the main attraction and then some. For example, they’ll look at the Mona Lisa, then sample some wine from an underground bar with a secret entrance that only true locals know about – all the while snapping a few photos for Facebook and Instagram.

Tour operators should offer these types of shareworthy experiences, bundling it all into one package. That way you’re doing the thinking for them.

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CNN also created a great video about this if you’re interested to keep learning about millennials.


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