Taking the stage in Lucille’s at B.B. King, Lynn Bader, VP North America for ADARA, explained the topic of her talk: Marketing to the Millennial Traveler, courting that prized demographic.
ADARA, as she stated, “transforms loyalty, search and booking data into actionable insights allowing companies to better understand, reach and engage customers.” They’re a market research powerhouse that takes a focused look at the travel sector – a sector that’s both a proxy and a complement to others, Bader explained.
A person’s travel data, for instance, is an indicator of their wealth and affluence. If they travel a lot, they obviously have the money to do so. That data provides good insight for targeting. But, when they book a room, upon their arrival and throughout their journey, they’re also in the market for other travel-related goods. Suddenly, a person’s travel data becomes a valuable tool for marketers of headphones, toothbrushes and toiletries.
ADARA has done market research studies on many aspects of the travel sector. Just this year, they concluded one on the Millennial traveller. But why did they pick Millennials?
Before welcoming her colleague Michelle Madansky to the stage to explain the findings of that study, Bader explained that Millennials are incredibly different from their older, 35-plus, counterparts. The research was born from the realization that one way the millennial market differs is that travel is a “passion point” of theirs.
Madansky took the stage at Lucille’s to outline the key findings of the study, conducted with a combination of surveys and focus groups.
First, as Bader mentioned, Millennials love to travel. That love, Madansky found, was more deeply rooted in a lust for new experiences, new places and things. Millennials love to travel so much more than the 35-plus market that they plan better for it too – they aren’t richer, they’re more resourceful. One interviewee used and cross-referenced 21 phone apps to find the best deals on flights and lodging. As a market, Millennials use more digital sources (apps and websites like Kayak and TripAdvisor) for travel planning than their 35 and over counterparts who use more traditional sources like travel magazines and local newspapers. They search for deals earlier too.
The average Millennial searches for 13 days before booking a flight. Compare that to the 35-plus market, which searches for only nine. Marketers have four extra days to reach Millennials with a message. But there are two sides to that coin: Millennials are not loyal. Madansky said 39 percent of Millennials say that loyalty programs aren’t worth signing up for. Essentially, if the price is right, they’ll take their business anywhere. Marketers have to earn their business every time.
That Millennials are incredibly tech-savvy, price-sensitive and travel-loving is no secret outside of marketing. Madansky explained that 73 percent of Millennials are go-to travel planners for their families. In that way, they are an incredibly influential demographic.
With that insight, it becomes obvious that Millennials have a purchasing power that far surpasses their own. Capture the Millennial traveler and you capture the whole travel market.