Gaining lifetime experiences

WHEN it comes to travel, the Millennials – or Generation Y – take this activity as an integral part of their life, unlike the older generations who look at travel as a year-end treat after they have taken care of the ‘important’ things in their lives.

But for Millennials (those born between 1982 and 1999) who are entering the prime spending stage of their lives, they prefer to hold back on such life decisions as marriage and mortgage to invest instead in travel experiences.

To a certain extent, this is expected since they grew up immersed in the internet.

The use of social media have also helped them develop a deeper connection to the rest of the world, which in turn, fuels their desire to enrich their lives through travel.

To further understand this group that’s fast becoming the largest market in the travel segment, Expedia.com.my conducted a global study on 21,000 surveyors across 21 markets to get an insight into the key factors that determine holiday plans.

“The [travel] industry is the last to go down when there is a crisis, because no matter what, you will still try to have a break,” said Simon Fiquet, the general manager for Expedia Southeast Asia and India, at a recent media event to disclose the findings of the 2017 Expedia Millennial Travel Report.

“Even with the ringgit going down, there is [still] a lot of domestic travel, [so] we see people really stretching their budget as much as they can, [just] to travel

“I guess if you don’t have to buy a car or an apartment, where do you put your money? You will put it in [entertainment], food, or travel.”

According to the report, the expectations of Millennials towards the travel industry is influenced by their priority for travel experiences that encompasses authenticity, personalisation, convenience, and safety.

To a Millennial, authentic travel experiences include cultural appreciation, ‘living like a local’, independence, and originality.

Results show that a majority of Asia-Pacific (Apac) travellers and 72% of Malaysian respondents put experiencing the authentic culture of a place as the most important aspect of their holiday abroad.

Figures for western travellers are surprisingly much lower.

In addition, travellers of this generation are demanding for more personalised travel services.

And while many are interested in a service that could provide personalised travel recommendations based on their budget, the report states a large number are willing to stretch their budget if they have to for such a service.

With their technology-solves-all mentality, it’s also no surprise that Millennials expect convenience at all touch-points.
Results show that 75% of Malaysians expressed interest in having a wearable technology that allows them to control the hotel room temperature based on an individual’s own body temperature.

However, such an innovative feature doesn’t seem to appeal to western travellers.

Concern for personal safety is also much higher in Apac travellers compared to western travellers, with at least 60% of Malaysians agreeing that it influences their decision when planning for a holiday.

But risk-aversion extends beyond just bodily safety, and Fiquet added that Millennials “fear more for making the wrong decision” and having a “beautiful experience that they cannot share on social media”.

More interestingly, the results show that at least 30% of Millennials found that sharing images online, which represented their lifestyle, was very valuable to their overall entertainment.

In the same way, 44% agreed that holiday photos posted on social media is a strong source of inspiration for making travel plans.

But ultimately, the final choice is influenced also by the advice from family and friends, online travel agents as well as peer-led reviews.
In conclusion, Fiquet said: “Perhaps the most valuable insight we have gained from this report is that by tailoring experiences for Millennial travellers, we stand to gain their trust for years to come.

This could be seen in the importance Millennials place on the opinion of their peers whom they trust and find relatable, he added.