Not All Millennials Are Alike

Don’t expect “Millennial mania” to end any time soon. It’s an emerging generation that represents the future of your clientele. But one thing we need to start assessing is the different segments of the Millennial market so that as an industry we’re not all just blindly vying for the business of those between the ages of 18 and 35. After all, there are 80 million of them out there; there must be some nuances of difference among them.

Millennials With Money: You’ll want to start with these first, young professionals with a penchant to travel just about anywhere since they’ve grown up with the Travel Channel and the Internet. Besides, Millennials without money are no fun and those in the 18 to 22 age range are probably traveling on college programs or spending semesters abroad.

See? We’ve narrowed the 80 million down considerably, giving you a much more reasonably sized group to deal with.

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Millennials Who Haven’t Traveled: If yours is an affluent clientele, the younger folks you’ve met are likely your clients’ children who have spent a college semester, say, in Madrid, living with a Spanish family, learning how to perfect their Castilian accent. But some Millennials have managed to slip through their teens without immersing themselves in a foreign culture. (I know, right?) Here’s a simple target audience for you that’s ripe for a good old-fashioned 14-day tour of the capitals of Europe. Select an operator that emphasizes “living like a local” experiences and stresses that their travelers will never feel like tourists, which is a true Millennial pet peeve. And be absolutely sure the word “group” doesn’t get tossed around in the trip description; that’s a four-letter word to Millennials, unless you’re talking about food groups, group therapy or “Meetups.”

Older Millennials: Let’s narrow it down some more. This generation skews into its 30s, an age group even more likely to be established with a steady source of income and paid vacations than those in their 20s.

Their checkered youth includes coming of age during boom economic times, then seeing it go to pieces with the Great Recession. That scared the heck out of a lot of them and spurred them into becoming super fiscally responsible. Bottom line? They won’t want to overextend themselves on credit.

"Some Millennials are ripe for a grand tour of Europe. Just don't use the word "tour.""

YOLOS: The counterpart to thrifty 30ish Millennials are those who have not an iota of hope for an economically stable retirement (social security, anyone?), so they’ve decided to spend it all now. We call this the YOLO factor (You only live once). YOLOs will want to know about the iconic hotels and destinations and do not expect to wait until they’re 65 to go there. Keep your antenna up for YOLOs; they could be fun while the money lasts.

Jetset Millennials: Here’s a potential source of steady business but they’ll expect you to act quickly when they decide to dash off for a long weekend with hours to spare. We’re talking crazy quick, as in, if you don’t move fast enough, they’ll book it themselves. Expect texts from them late at night asking, “Are you there?” because they want to ask you about a destination they’re curious about. If you can bear any of this, the payoff could be sweet as Jetset Millennials tend to dash off with other Jetset Millennials often. They're yours for the taking.

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