There’s no denying that the millennial generation has changed the world in a myriad of ways these past few decades, with the travel industry being one of the most heavily impacted. Millennials are traveling more than any other generation before them, and hold a strong emphasis on a healthy work/life balance. They account for over $180 billion dollars in tourism revenue annually!
Because of this (and their adeptness with technology), a multitude of apps, programs, and websites have been created to reduce pain points within the traveling process. And thanks to the instant gratification nature of the millennial generation, they’ve made travel information instantly available at the swipe of a screen, and the entire traveling process (from researching a destination to your ride home from the airport) cheaper, safer and more efficient.
My, how things have changed
Booking a trip now is vastly different than booking a trip 20 years ago. When your mom wanted to take you to Disney World when you were a child, she had to call her travel agent who would discuss options via phone or in person. She was unable to head to Skyscanner to find the best deals based on a variety of different algorithms. She had to trust her travel agent to know the best deal for her situation. The lodging choices would be limited to a few hotels based off of brochure pictures and recommendations from friends. She couldn’t head over to TripAdvisor and scroll through hundreds of user-submitted photos to get a true-to-life depiction of a hotel. Back in 1990, there was no researching a destination ahead of time. You had to be there to find out what it was like or what was going on.
Now you can research everything from the type of linens a hotel uses to nearby jet-ski rentals before you even book your trip and from the comfort of your own home. You can read reviews and research places, learn from other’s mistakes and get tips to create a better vacation. Options are not only cheaper but more varied thanks to sites like Airbnb. And, you can do it all yourself without a middleman involved. Even the traveling process itself has improved thanks to new technology. You no longer have to stand in long lines at the airport to check-in. You can do that all online. And by printing your own boarding pass too, you can breeze through check-points with zero frustration.
How millennials have changed the landscape
Younger generations take traveling very seriously, so it’s no surprise that they’ve driven this surge in travel technology. Thanks to them, we now have the ability to use our computers while we’re soaring 35,000 feet in the sky and we have unlimited choices when it comes to how to travel. Millennials love the variety that their technology has provided and use it to their advantage by crowd-sourcing authentic travel experiences. Gone are the days of vacationing by relaxing by the pool or on a public beach.
Younger generations want unique places that cross off “bucket list items”; essentially, they want bragging rights to an experience and lots of selfie opportunities. They prefer to research a lesser-known locale that offers something unique and then book a private rental that is affordable yet envy-inducing among other travelers. While they’re on vacation, they tend to follow what the locals do, not the big crowds of tourists fighting to see the same iconic sights. Many more millennials also travel globally quite inexpensively by backpacking or visiting safe and well-reviewed hostels along the way. It’s a whole new world of travel out there now; one where anything goes with the newer generation.
What about everyone else?
What may be most surprising is that these new technologies are not just benefiting the generation that spawned them. Older generations are jumping on the technological bandwagon, as well. Many Gen Xers and Baby Boomers are seeing the savings to be had on these platforms and envying the curated experiences that some of these new apps can provide. It’s a new day and age of do-it-yourself vacation building and that has appealed to everyone who has internet access, regardless of age. Older generations have accrued plenty of vacation time and money, and want to make the most of it by creating their own custom vacations with their own special touches.
And with extra time on their hands to research online, baby boomers are enjoying booking their own travel experiences more now than they ever did before. They are also taking advantage of online check-in processes and anything else that saves them time and aggravation, contrary to the popular belief that older generations don’t want to learn new technology. And those that aren’t using these new advances to travel are still reaping the rewards in their own way. Surprisingly, a good chunk of people over 40 are using these new platforms as a way to earn a second income. Older couples are renting out vacation homes via Airbnb or using their free time to drive for Uber. All of this new technology has been a tremendous boon to the travel industry, making us wonder what the next 20 years will bring!