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Marketing to the Wanderlust Generation

How travel brands are creating adventurous, wish-fulfilling, social campaigns to interest a generation of travel-junkies.

When we researched Millennial spending, we found that more than half of employed Millennials are saving up for something special, and a trip/travel was at the top of their savings list. Millennials have major wanderlust, and their expectations for traveling are not like the generations before them. From social impact vacations to an interest in non-tourist experiences they’re approaching their adventures differently. According to group travel service Topdeck Travel, when asked why they travel, 86% of 18-24-year-olds said experiencing new culture, and 69% said eating local foods. Almost eight in ten 18-30-year-olds stated they select where to travel based on their friend’s recommendations.

In response, the travel industry is racing to shake things up and appeal to young travelers’ mindsets. The New York Times recently reported on the ways traditional hotel chains are targeting young travelers through “customized experiences, digital convenience, and relevant information on social media.” Apart from offering free Wi-Fi, hotels are offering emoji room service, local craft beverage events, and music-related loyalty programs. Of course, with 44% of Millennials booking hotels through their phones, mobile capabilities are key.

While updating the experience at hotels is vital, updating travel marketing to appeal to Millennial travelers is just as key—and many brands are stepping outside the box to create creative campaigns that appeal to young consumers’ desire for adventure, shareable moments, and social experiences. Here are three to know:

HomeAway’s Eiffel Tower All Yours Contest

When we asked Millennials and teens to tell us their number one dream travel destination, Paris was in their top five—and HomeAway found a way to make that dream come true in a huge way for one lucky traveler. Their Eiffel Tower Apartment contest, which ran this May, offered up the chance for one participant to win a stay in a VIP apartment on the first floor of the Eiffel Tower itself, with five friends or family members. In honor of the UEFA EURO 2016 tournament, which the brand sponsored, they built a temporary luxury rental inside the iconic landmark for fans to spend the night—and watch the matches in a high-tech TV viewing space. To win the once-in-a-lifetime trip, participants tweeted what they would do if they had the apartment for the night. The over 150,000 entries received included marriage proposals and family reunions.

St Pancras Hotel London Hashtag Kiosk

Sharing vacation photos on Instagram has become the norm for Millennials, who see their travel experiences as social currency. But having actual physical photos of the trip is more rare than ever—enter the hashtag kiosk. The St Pancras Hotel London has introduced the Hashtag kiosk as a permanent fixture to both entice social sharing and reward visitors. Travelers who use the hashtag #StPancrasHotel to post a photo of their visit on Instagram can visit the kiosk to receive an analog print out of their memory. According to the Hashtag Kiosk brand, “Analytics have already shown that there was a 25,000% increase in social media reach and 3,000% increase in social posts since installing the kiosk.”




W Hotels + Baron Von Fancy Pride Snapchat Filters

To celebrate Pride Month, and show off their social savvy, W hotels has launched a series of Snapchat geofilters designed by artist Baron Von Fancy, celebrating and supporting LGBTQ community. The colorful filters add messages like “I Am What I Am,” “Love Won,” and “The road to equality has never been straight” over users’ photos in an around W Hotels, and each time a filter is used, $1 is donated to the Human Rights Campaign. Snapchat with a charitable twist—that’s doubling down on appealing to young consumers. This isn’t the first Snapchat filter campaign for the brand—W Hotels was actually the first travel brand to create a national geofilter in October of last year. Their global marketing strategist told Skift, “Our guests love to share the view from their room, the view from the pool, and what they’re eating and drinking on their social feeds. We thought this was the perfect opportunity to help our guests to humblebrag better than ever.” Helping Millennials humblebrag in style is clearly a tactic they’re sticking with.