Travel Meets Tech: How the Industry Is Digitally Catering to Young Travelers

To cater to the next generation of travelers, the travel industry is tapping into the latest tech advancements…

Millennials want to get away. When we asked 18-34-year-olds the kinds of entertainment they spend on in an average month, 41% said travel/vacations, and we consistently see that when given the choice between travel and physical belongings, the majority will pick the escape. A recent study by Airbnb revealed that 56% of 18-35-year-olds from the U.S. are spending more on travel this year than last, and even placed getting away above purchasing a home in their list of priorities. Our holiday wishlist roundup also echoes their desire, with travel coming in second after money as the one item 13-34-year-olds wanted most for the gift-giving season.

Their wanderlust has been increasingly pushing the travel industry into high gear to cater to this next generation of travelers—something we’ve kept tabs on for years. We’ve seen chains remodel their locations, begin to focus on incorporating local culture, create social experience marketing, offer exclusive events, create Millennialized spin-off brands, and more. But now that free WiFi and touchscreen check-in are par for the course, we’re seeing travel brands experiment with more and more advanced technology to impress Millennial travelers. Convenience is always key for young consumers, and there probably isn’t an experience more in need of seamless solutions than travel, which is why, according to New York Times, traditional hotel chains are targeting young travelers through “customized experiences, digital convenience, and relevant information on social media.” Digital also plays a role in hooking in Millennial travelers before they even book their tickets: creative agency Blitz revealed that 84% plan trips based on someone else’s…

 
 

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The Newsfeed

“There are alleys with street art that I've walked out of my way to take pictures of to share on Snapchat/Facebook.”
—Female, 32, IL

Mattel’s new toy franchise Enchantimals is inspired by Instagram and Snapchat filters. The new line of 14 dolls are all half-animal—think the bunny and deer filters—and each “shares a ritual trait with her animal friend.” Their origin and the YouTube series starring the girls are no doubt a part of Mattel’s “five-pillar strategic plan” to be a more digital brand. Appealing to Millennial parents and their kids has been a tough sell for Mattel, but they’re making moves like changing up Barbie’s body type and asking kids to pick the next big toy on TV to keep up with the next generation. (Kidscreen)

Harry Potter fans, raise your butterbeers up, because this franchise and its fandom will never die. Two more books from the Harry Potter universe are hitting shelves this fall—though they aren’t actually written by J.K. Rowling. Harry Potter: A History of Magic and Harry Potter: A Journey Through A History of Magic are instead both written by the British Library, to coincide with an exhibition dedicated to celebrating the twentieth anniversary of the first book. The two new works will include “exclusive manuscripts, sketches and illustrations from the Harry Potter archive,” to delight serious fans of the series. (USA Today, New York Times)

Restaurants are being designed with Instagrammability in mind. From unicorn foods to neon signs and tile floors with hidden messages, restaurateurs aren’t just tolerating Instagrammers, they’re intentionally acting as “Instagram bait” to earn some free press. And it doesn’t end at Instagrammable design touches. Many restaurants stress having perfect lighting, and one even provides “Instagram packs” at customer request, consisting of “a portable LED light, multi-device charger, clip-on wide-angle lens, tripod, and a selfie stick.” (The Verge, Grub Street)

Some student loan debt is getting “wiped away” in court because of missing paperwork. Students defaulting on their private loans are getting taken to court by aggressive creditors, but as it turns out, many don’t have the required documents to make them pay up. National Collegiate is at the center of many of these trials—one lawyer in Iowa represented 30 cases brought on by them, and 27 were dismissed because of “critical omissions or flaws” in the paperwork. Some Millennials prioritizing paying back debt might just catch a lucky break. (New York Times)

Millennials want older generations to know why they stand by political correctness. While some may despair the overly PC state of the world, many young consumers see political correctness as protection from prejudice, and a show of respect. What some may view as an over-sensitivity epidemic, many Millennials see as “being morally minded.” Ypulse’s PC Police trend tackled this topic, and found half of 13-33-year-olds would describe political correctness as treating others with respect, and 66% agree that political correctness is one way to make culture kinder and more inclusive. (Business Insider)

 “I’m too lazy to exercise on purpose. Too much work…If I can't get it with my dog, my job, or my nightlife, it ain't happening.”
—Female, 23, CA

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