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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“I eat [Pizza Hut] least two times per month; it's one of my favorite places to go to eat pizza.”—Male, 35, VA

More Millennials are asking for cash wedding registries, and it’s bad news for stores like Bed Bath & Beyond and Williams Sonoma. Increasingly, young couples are asking guests to contribute towards their nest egg, travel, or anything they feel like buying themselves. Companies like Zola and Honeypot have boomed in popularity, offering a personalized platform for their cash registries. However, their success with wedding registries is taking “a key customer acquisition tool” away from home décor stores. (Insider)

The beauty industry is catering to Customization Nation, as more companies crop up to blend unique beauty products for each customer. But can the trend scale? Truly personalized products, like the ones offered by hair care start-up Function of Beauty and makeup company Bite Beauty, take time and resources. But companies that offer base products with just a personalized element or two could be the future of the industry. And big-name brands are getting their feet wet too: Lancôme and CoverGirl have both offered custom-made foundations. (Glossy)

Nordstrom is taking risks to survive retail’s big shifts. Instead of shuttering stores, they’re opening experimental retail locations, revamping their department stores, and making their mark in Manhattan with their first store openings. The long-standing brand also bought ecommerce site HauteLook and the subscription service Trunk Club. So far, their risk-taking hasn’t proved to be a boon to their bottom line—but only time will tell. (WSJ)

Hollister is teaming up with AwesomenessTV to reach Gen Z with a YouTube series. “The Carpe Life” will be a part of a broader campaign, which includes influencer marketingand appeals to young consumers’ love for active, adventurous lifestyles. "The Carpe Life" follows Hollister's first YouTube series, “This is Summer” which “boosted key brand metrics by double digits,” adding on to their overall positive impact on Abercrombie & Fitch’s rising bottom line. (Marketing Dive)

Netflix is switching its strategy, putting less money into “prestige films” for the Post-TV Gen. Instead, they’re churning out more direct-to-video releases. Last year, they bought ten titles at Sundance while this year they had none. While they continue to create original content like the recent The Cloverfield Paradox, they’re betting on less-than-award-worthy films to maintain their hold on Millennial viewers. (The Atlantic)

“Basically if I found out any brand was supporting causes I do not support and actively oppose, I will avoid buying their products.”—Female, 27, CA

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