Internet Travel Monitor - Marketing, Research & Tech

August 16, 2017

Thank Millennials for Saving the Travel Industry
I’ll admit: Sometimes, it hurts.

As a millennial, it seems like my generation is always getting blamed for everything.

It all started with overwrought think-pieces that blamed us for not getting well-paying jobs and still living with our parents without really admitting young people had nothing to do with the financial crisis thrust upon us.

Then, the conversation devolved into the kind of “kids these days” and “get off my lawn” nonsense that every generation thinks and writes about the generations that come after it.

Lately, the pearl clutching has centered around blaming millennials for various failing industries—golf, retail, chain restaurants, movie theaters, even napkins! For some reason, the conversation never seems to be centered around why “Big Napkin” isn’t changing to meet the times, but why millennials can’t just suck it up and live the exact same lives as the generations before…even though that is not a thing that has ever happened.

That brings us to travel, which is in a serious love affair with millennials right now.

Whether it’s the fact that most millennials are still priced out of homes or the allure of social media that creates some serious FOMO (that’s “fear of missing out” or “wanderlust" for millennials), young people are increasingly deciding to spend their money on travel rather than what traditionally served as status symbols for building a life: cars, homes, “stuff” in general.

Travel agents, in particular, are learning to love millennials as well.

Yes, the generation that very literally grew up online and helped launch the sharing economy is also helping the travel agent resurgence that we’re currently experiencing.

It makes sense because millennials love cruising and love big international vacations. Most of all, millennials really love having someone else plan things for us—especially if we can save money in the process.

Trust me when I say this trend isn’t going to change as millennials become a larger and larger share of the U.S. economy with a larger portion of its wealth.

Understand: Millennials are, at our core, experiential.

The same values that keep millennials away from Chili’s and TGIFridays in favor of “that new Thai place that just opened up,” are what make that same age group decide to just pick up and go to Thailand—because it’s something new and they can.

Sometimes it’s thrill seeking, but it can also just be the narcissist desire to show your Instagram crowd the perfect selfie from a new location. (Oh, and baby boomers, don’t pretend that’s any different than all the slide shows and Polaroids you used to haul out at family gatherings.)

Millennials also grew up in a world that is much smaller than what our parents know. Social media makes it possible both to make real connections and have real travel goals a world away. Places that previous generations only read about in books are now literally at our finger tips, shared by people our age who went there rather than just wanting to go there, “one day.”

Expediency in the travel industry has made it all the easier to just pick up and go. Plus, we grew up with a bunch of baby boomer ad execs telling us to “Just Do It.”

So, sometimes we just do it because we want to do it.

Maybe we millennials do follow directions.

Copyright 2017 travAlliancemedia™. All rights reserved. From By Michael Schottey.
To view the Internet Travel Monitor Archive, click