Millennials are fast becoming the target market for almost every industry worldwide – and luxury travel is no exception.
A survey by the American Society of Travel Agents shows that Millennials took 32% more vacations than travellers aged 40 to 51, and 44% more than those in the 52-70 age group.
If you’re interested in hospitality online marketing and want to find out how to keep up with the changing trends in marketing your luxury lodge to this globe-trotting generation, then read on.
Who Are The Millennials?
Depending on which hospitality internet marketing ‘guru’ you ask, there are several descriptions of Millennials and their age grouping. For purposes of marketing, however, the term refers to those in the 20 to 39 year-old age bracket.
The common denominator among Millennials is their reliance on technology for communication, information and relating to the world.
If you don’t have an internet presence and social media following, you don’t exist to Millennials.
What Millennials Want and How Your Luxury Lodge Can Give it To Them
In their touch screen-oriented existence, Millennials are used to getting what they want at the flick of a finger. Your marketing efforts need to match that.
Although flexibility is key, tour operators are not out of the picture. Millennials have discovered that getting an expert to do the research is more effective and guided tours are more interesting than DIY. As long they can choose when to participate.
Colonial-style luxury safaris are too hoity-toity for this band of explorers. Authenticity is key to capturing their attention.
Africa has unique wildlife experiences, thrilling activities and picturesque natural assets in abundance. It’s your job to package it up for them.
Millennials crave novelty and excitement. They do want early morning game drives, but not every morning. Consider a hot air balloon safari at sunrise to pique their interest instead, or a trip to see what the lodge is doing to help the local community.
They will forego the top quality sheets and butler service in favour of tracking a rhino or chatting to the game guard for 10 minutes.
While you can’t turn your back on your regular upmarket clientele, look at where you can adjust your activities, meal times, and schedule to offer a more bespoke experience.
Millennials are seldom bound to traditional peak time bookings and could be the key to filling up those empty beds in the off-season.
Millennials insist on connecting with the world. They want to immerse themselves in every experience they can. Not for them the standard township tour, they would rather take part first-hand in your endeavours to improve your community.
Environmental-awareness is second nature to Millennials, they want to know that their money is being used for positive conservation and community efforts. Show them what you are doing in the local community and give them a chance to help out.
Likewise, mealtimes are best kept to the basics. Take the chance to show off interesting local cuisine and awesome dining experiences and don’t forget to communicate that your produce is grown locally and is organic AND helps with community upliftment.
Think picnics and boma braais, instead of all-you-can-eat buffets. One glance at Instagram will show you that food is a top contender for social media sharing and nobody dresses for dinner.
On the same topic, vegan and vegetarian options should be available for health- and morally-conscious diners.
Millennials like to travel in groups so they can share their activities with significant others. Exclusivity and service are still desired, but in an unobtrusive manner. Be there for them, but not in-their-face.
They also crave connection with the outside world while they enjoy their remote holiday. Wi-Fi access is key. Millennials need to refresh their social media profiles with up-to-the-minute commentary, images and videos of their adventures.
If it’s not worth sharing on social media, it’s not worth doing, which makes hospitality online marketing very active.
Reaching Out to Millennials
The way to a Millennial’s heart is through their smartphone. All your communications should be mobile-friendly, and online bookings are a must.
Stay active on social media, keep your website brimming with blogs, reviews and interesting snippets. Above all, remain in touch with the latest trends in travel, Millennials are notoriously fickle.
Maybe you’re not ready to aim for the millennial market yet, and nobody will blame you – but if you need some guidance then get a hospitality online marketing team which understands the game lodge industry specifically, to make sure you get the most out of this new, emerging sector. Contact us today!