Advances in ICT have enabled tourists to access reliable and accurate information about potential travel destinations and make reservations using a fraction of the time, cost and inconvenience required by traditional methods. In fact, travel information search and booking is one of the most popular activities conducted in today’s online environment.
The rapidly changing context of the modern tourism industry, responding to the needs of increasingly demanding consumers, combined with advances in internet and online retailing have revolutionized supply and demand sides of tourism industries. Social media also plays an increasingly important role in attracting potential customers, engaging them, building relationships and capturing loyalty. But that’s not all, social media has created an environment where consumers have become both brand ambassadors and consumer activists as travel shoppers increasingly bypass traditional sources and turn to other travellers and peers in social networks for information and advice.
*Find out more with EY’s ‘Global Hospitality Insights – Top Thoughts for 2014′
Preparing for the Future – Millennials Market Growth:
In recent years there’s been a tremendous growth of international arrivals by young travellers (aged 18-30), known as ‘Generation Y’ (a.k.a. ‘Millennials’ ). Arrivals of Millennial travellers have been growing by 9% annually compared to 2% for the general population. While Millennials have limited discretionary income and are more affected by adverse economic conditions than non-Millennials, their spending is expected to increase as they move into their prime earning and spending years over the next decade.
Watch Text100’s video on how travellers in different regions are getting inspiration, making decisions, conducting purchases, and sharing their vacation experiences:
Millennials – the most web-savvy generation of travellers:
It’s clear that the internet and social media play an important role in creating engagement, receiving feedback and gaining customer loyalty for all tourism markets. However, nowhere is this more pronounced than with the Millennial market. Millennials are the most web-savvy generation of travellers to date. ‘Traveling with Millennials’, examines the Millennial generation and its approach to business and leisure travel. The series highlights the growing influence of Millennial consumers including findings on their interaction with brands, as well as factors that shape their habits and preferences. According to the report,
Millennials are twice as likely as non-Millennials to use their mobile phones to show travel pictures to friends, share travel photos on social media, blog or recount travel experiences online, and post travel reviews. Millennial females, in particular, are the most active travel sharers: far more of them upload photos to social networks than Millennial males (42% vs. 25 %). These generational tendencies have implications for digital strategies… marketers, customer service organizations, and advocacy and social-media strategy and tactics.
Millennial travellers are also more likely to post critical feedback online rather than face an issue during their stay. Since modern tourists prefer researching a hotel online through crowd-sourced review sites and social media before booking a stay, travel and tourism operators need to identify potential hazards before they happen and implement strategies to deal with both negative and positive reviews.
In order to prepare for the next phase of Millennial travel, travel and tourism operators must embrace new technology by incorporating websites, social media and online applications. Millennials are already engaging with brands, forming perceptions and developing travel habits and preference which will solidify as their generation ages. As such, marketing strategies must increasingly shift towards more user-generated content with a strong focus on facilitating communications, relationship building and creating brand loyalty amongst the Millennium consumer group.