I know what you’re thinking, “Not another Millennial article!” but whether you love ‘em or hate ‘em, millennials are shaping the way we do business.
Before you click away, consider this piece of good news: according to a 2017- 2018 study by the travel and hospitality marketing firm MMGY Global, 33 percent of millennials are looking to hire travel agents in the next two years. They’re also the generation most likely to travel and consider travel to be part of their self-development
It’s great news that millennials are eager to work with travel agents but it will take more than an initial phone interview to convince them to work with your agency (especially because they hate phone calls).
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Stick to these tips and you’ll be sure to increase your millennial business!
Provide Transparent Pricing
Millennials are savvy. Within 10 seconds, they will figure out your proposal pricing doesn’t match what they find online. Transparency and trust are key to keeping a millennial happy.
There are a few strategies to build transparent pricing into your proposal. You can either find a supplier that is fine with line item breakouts, book the hotels direct and book activities separately, or be very upfront about your pricing structure. Make it clear that your services are not the cheapest on the market and you will not bargain hunt but at the same time, explain how much value you add. If you use NET rates, explain that you will be adding a percentage on top of the rates as part of your service fee, which may account for any discrepancy in pricing.
Stay Ahead of Trends
You don’t have to know every current piece of pop culture, but you need to be aware of trending topics and places that millennials will likely bring up during the planning process. They mostly consume content through Facebook, Instagram and TV streaming platforms. This means that any popular shows that feature travel (Chef’s Table, Outlander, and of course, Game of Thrones) will inspire millennials to include the featured sites and restaurants in their itinerary.
Other trends to be aware of include #selfcare wellness travel, Instagram inspired travel, and sustainable/ethical travel.
Respond Quickly and Make Things Simple
This generation has grown up with computers (remember those Oregon Trail playing days?) so they expect immediate answers and easy websites they can navigate on their phones. Believe it or not, this can be a life or death situation for your business. I won’t lie to you, as a millennial, there are times where I have picked another business because they didn’t let me schedule something online and that’s the reality of the buyer’s decision-making process these days.
Don’t be afraid to engage with your millennial clients through Instagram and Facebook comments, but there is one trap you should avoid. As tempting as it is to text your millennial clients (and trust me, they will push for it), don’t do it! Some of you may disagree with me but it is a lot harder to track text conversations than it is to track emails. While you need to be responsive, timely and flexible with your communications, you also need to avoid any situations that potentially make you liable.
Sell the Transformational Experiences, Not the Product
Millennials, probably more than any generation, prefer experiences to tour guides. In order to compete with the likes of Airbnb Experiences, you need to show that you can provide out of the box, fun, Instagrammable moments that will transform the way they travel. They want the hole in the wall restaurant, the evening learning how to dance with locals and the vintage car ride through the countryside.
Keep in mind that millennials are the “Burnout Generation,” and their stress levels are high. With such limited vacation time, they really are looking to relax and live without a schedule. The last thing they want is to have their days jam-packed with history lessons and activities.
That being said, there are a few things universally millennials seem to love—immersive food experiences, experiences that have a “wow” factor for photos and something active like a hike or bike ride. Throw in conversations with locals and Instagrammable hotels and you’ve designed the perfect trip for a millennial.
Create a Unique Brand
Branding is everything for millennials. Seriously, think about the companies these days that have rebranded everything from mattresses (Casper) to jeans (Madewell). In both examples, these companies are selling the same basic product every generation has always purchased but they skyrocketed in popularity due to their fun, relatable and consistent branding.
At the end of the day, you are not selling the hotel, the destination, the packages, or the activities—you are selling you. Millennials will research everything before committing to your agency, including other agents. The one distinguishing factor that sets you apart is your unique personality and branding. Share your vulnerabilities, your passion, your story and you’ll be hard to forget!
Have you built a business with mostly millennial clients? What has worked for you?
Share a tip in the comments below.