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Roberta Esposito

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Everyone is talking about Millennials today and nearly every tourism marketer is making them a priority – or at least trying to understand what characterises this generational group. But why is that? It’s because we’re all fascinated with them and of course we want to find the holy grail to reach them!

First of all, who are millennials? They are those people born between 1980 and 2000, which are now between 20 and 35 years old. But is age enough to distinguish this generation? Obviously not. What matters about Millennials is that they strongly differ from any generation before them.

Why are millennials so important for the tourism industry? Because they consider travelling as a birthright and according to Phocuswright, they travel the most of any age group. They are expected to spend incrementally more on travel services than any other age cohort during the next 12 months and by 2020, this generation will represent half of all travel spend worldwide. Millennials don’t look for fancy brands or expensive cars, they look for experiences, for something intangible that can enrich their life. Statistics show that 6 in 10 of them would rather spend their money on experiences rather than material things.

So, now the question comes naturally, how should we market to millennials?

In my opinion, 4 things characterise the millennials generation:

Authenticity
Millennials no longer want to feel like tourists, they are travellers looking for authentic and local experiences

Experience
They want to touch, smell, feel and appreciate the uniqueness of every experience. They value new challenges, new environments and are always looking for something different, for the experience of a lifetime

Personalisation
Old school travel packages do not appeal to millennials. They prefer self-service options when planning a trip to create a highly customised experience that aligns with their individual identity

Online Engagement
Millennials are connected 24/7 and they document everything on social media, especially their travels. They want to share their stories online in real-time.

Discover Los Angeles' newest tourism campaign is aimed at targeting exactly these millennial travellers by portraying the city as a hipster paradise.

The new campaign Get Lost in L.A. bets on the great moments Los Angeles is having in the culinary, fashion, culture and creative spheres to harness millennials’ desire to travel. Instagram influencers and local chefs make appearances in the main video, which include also a Shazam element embedded in, to invite viewers to use the app to enter a contest for a trip for four to L.A.

The Get Lost in L.A. content video is way distant from the typical glamorised Hollywood version of Los Angeles. The video is full of unique and shareable experiences that attract the millennial traveller and the embedded Shazam element helps to drive online engagement.

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Overall, the video doesn’t feel as designed as other Millennial-targeted campaigns, yet authentic and unique.

As I already said, Millennial travellers don’t want to handle a mass of other tourists for a glimpse of The Great Wall or Times Square. This willingness to discover the authentic and experience the local is well reflected in Airbnb's latest and largest marketing campaign: “Live There”.

According to the company, 86% of AirBnb users use the platform because they want to live more like a local. Consequently, the new AirBnb video content advises: "Don't go to Paris. Don't tour Paris, and please don't do Paris” but instead "Live in Paris.” This represents a well-presented answer to an increasingly growing demand for experiences that are not like the typical tourist experiences but that actually reflect more what it's like to live in local places.

Beside the 60-second video, Airbnb also presented three new features for its app, all aimed at helping travellers to integrate into the local culture.

• Guidebooks: million of host tips on the very best that the city has to offer. Different from other competitors such as TripAdvisor, this guide is filled by locals not tourists. This allows visitors to get a taste of what life is like for people who actually live in the destination
• Matching: another feature that aims at connecting people with the perfect host and the perfect home
• Neighbourhoods: a matching system that allows you to book in an area that fits your preferences

In this way, AirBnb gets even closer in addressing the needs of the Millennial travellers, providing them with personalisation and authentic experience.

So my tip to reach the millennial generation? Be authentic, be extraordinary  different, make it personal and interact with them!

How do you market your destination or business to millennials? Share your thoughts and experiences in the comments section below!

 

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