Portrait of the Millennial Traveler 2016: A Study in Contradictions

by Jeremy Kressmann + Skift Team - Dec 2015

Skift Research Take

Millennial travelers represent a lucrative source of spending for travel brands but also a confusing web of contradictory habits than can be difficult to unravel. What deeper insights are really driving millennial travel habits, and how are marketers adapting their strategies to cater this surging age group?

Report Overview

Millennial travelers, the generation now between the ages of 18 and 34, represent a huge opportunity for the industry, but also a huge question mark. Now more than 83 million members strong according to the 2014 U.S. Census, and accounting for between $200 and $300 billion in annual spending worldwide, their numbers are simply too large to ignore. But despite the fact travel marketers have generated a tidal wave of reports, surveys and articles attempting to explain this important age group, understanding their travel habits, and how to craft effective strategies to reach them, is often a challenge.

At the heart of this challenge is the inherent contradiction of millennial travel habits, which don’t adhere to consistent standards. When it comes to millennials’ use of social media, their travel spending, their brand loyalty and their preference for the so-called “sharing economy,” what they tell marketers they want frequently doesn’t match with their actions. This disconnect has led many travel marketers to implement millennial strategies that, while effective in theory, ultimately don’t work out in practice.

Skift’s Portrait of the Millennial Traveler reviews some of the prevailing myths and contradictions at the heart of millennial travel habits today, uncovering the deeper insights driving these inconsistencies, and providing tips marketers across various sectors of the industry are using to successfully attract millennial customers.