The Baby Boomer generation is retiring and the new millennials are taking over the market, soon to be replaced by the Generation Z. Their needs and expectations are strikingly different from those of their predecessors. Gradually climbing the income ladder, these two generations have become the potential customer group targeted by businesses including the travel agencies around the world. The rising popularity of travel software development companies can be cited as one of the many reasons why the travel agencies are evolving to adapt to the changing expectations of the new generation business owners, buyers and workers.
What is changing?
Gone are the days when flashy office spaces sporting a world map push-pinned into the wall, clocks showing the time differences in Tokyo, Paris, and London, as well as a family snapshot enjoying a cool beach vacation adorning the empty spaces of a typical brick-and-mortar travel agency inspired the hidden traveller in every visitor.
Even though digitalization did very little to completely do away with these middlemen, the expectations of the new age travellers have undergone a rapid change. It is true the new millennials are approaching the travel agents to plan their vacation, but they are also looking for more of expert guidance and one-stop solution to plan and book their travel itineraries conveniently.
Successfully aligning to the modern travellers’ whims and desires is the secret code of success for these many travel agencies romping the Internet today. Likewise, the employees of similar agencies are no more interested in sticking to their desks catering to clerical tasks all day long. They want to grow and engage in more value-added work than mere answering queries and carrying out hefty paperwork.
This particular change has encouraged travel software development companies to expand their businesses, also lending their helping hands to support these agencies, catering to their changing requirements.
Before entering the travel and tourism ecosystem, it is, therefore, highly imperative for any startups to truly understand the market and their target customers as well as potential recruits.
A Few Interesting Statistics – New Millennials and Generation Z
A few interesting statistics will paint a clear picture of what they do want and what they don’t want –
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts that millennials will make 75% of the US workforce by 2030. So, we can expect them to dominate the travel industry greatly. In fact, a report by Business Insider shows Millennials travel more, spending 35 days a year. Generation Z falls right behind them.
And, these tech-savvy generations prefer smart workplaces. In fact, a study conducted by Microsoft partnered with SurveyMonkey said 93% of millennials surveyed cited that modern and up-to-date technology is one of the important aspects of their ideal workplace.
Internet and smartphone technology have empowered the new generation with ample knowledge to make wise decisions, either pertaining to their career choices or planning their vacation. A report says, Millennials research a lot more than non-millennials before planning their vacation. And, nearly 74% of them use smartphones to search for plausible places to plan their holidays. Wherein, 52% of millennials turn to friends, family and other social media contacts for travel information.
But, they expect travel agencies to guide them through the process, right from planning a location to booking travel itineraries online. They want travel advisors in the guise of travel agents, as reflected in the annual study titled the ‘2019-2020 Portrait of American Travelers’ which says that 24% of millennial travellers plan to consult a travel agent when planning their vacation.
And, when 23% of millennials are more likely to travel than their predecessors, according to the recent research conducted by the Boston Consulting Group, travel agencies should evolve to match up to the potential traveller’s expectations greatly.
What are their expectations – New Millennials and Generation Z?
Besides the fact that millennials are ruling the travel industry, a new cohort of travellers is fast coming of age and their influence will be more lucrative than that of their predecessors.
Now, 78% of millennials prefer spending more on gaining new experiences than purchasing something they desire, according to the recent study by Harris Poll. Out of this figure, nearly 69% of them believe attending live experiences help them to connect better with the outside world. And, this is where the travel pioneers can cash on – give them what they need.
But, the question is HOW???
1. Understanding their multi-device mindset
Millennials are tech-savvy but Gen Zers are savvier. The latter is the first true native of the multi-screen world and are more connected with the connecting devices. This multi-tasking generation keeps switching frequently between devices and expects a consistent as well as a relevant digital travel experience whenever they turn from their smartphones to their laptops or vice-versa. If seamless interaction with brands using certain devices is hindered, they are left feeling frustrated. So, travel companies simply cannot ignore this factor if they have to survive the market dominated by this generation.
2. Experience is all that matters
Young millennials and to a great extent, the Gen Zers want more meaningful experiences than spending unnecessarily on expensive possessions. They enjoy living and thinking like locals, learn about their day-to-day routine and try adrenaline-pumped activities, instead of staying locked up in the luxury of fancy resorts. There are travel agencies that have started catering to these specific interests of new-age travellers.
How is your travel agency different from your peers?
3. Bite-sized content for greater engagement
Short, bite-sized content, micro-updates and notifications are more preferred than lengthy texts. The ultra-busy and mobile-savvy generation have shorter attention spans and bounce between 3 screens at a time. Relevant and visually appealing bite-sized push messages or 9.5 seconds video ads work best in creating greater engagement with these new generation viewers than the usual 25 seconds spots.
4. Quick responses and self-services are desired
Growing up in the era of mobile convenience and self-service, these two generations expect to have complete control over their travel itineraries via their smart hand-devices, right from researching to booking, check-in and reviewing. They expect the new travel agencies to be their one-stop solution and travel advisor as well. Successfully meeting their autonomous needs will decide the future of your travel businesses. Online booking engine for travel agents can prove to be quite handy in keeping up with this dynamic demands of the new-age travellers.
Also, instant response to the customer queries can be an icing on the cake. The new generation prefers instant messaging to phone calls and emails. And, trust me when I say, they hate when kept waiting!
5. More personalized than ever
Personalized services have long been in-demand and the new generation likes it when travel agencies offer unique travel ideas via testimonial videos, catchy snapshots, and helpful articles that fit their interests. And, destination images which are Insta-worthy appeals to them more. After all, this new generation is all about making big appearances in social media platforms.
And, what are the employers and employees saying about travel agencies?
Like the travellers, the recruits and recruiters falling within the same age-group mostly have similar expectations. As mentioned earlier, they prefer to indulge themselves in value-added services than mundane data-entry work. The backend, front-end, and the middle blocks of travel companies involve quite a few paperwork/data-entry tasks which are time-consuming and prone to human errors as well. Travel agency back-office software such as My HUB Lite can streamline administrative work and eliminate errors if any.
So you see, attracting new-age customers and employees for your travel business is not that difficult, only if you evolve with time to align your services with their expectations.