THE millennials are coming. Or rather, they are traveling. The United Nations estimates that 20 percent of all international tourists these days are young people. This translates to 200 million travelers.
Younger travelers are looking for—and getting—new types of travel, and they’re making big changes. Here’s how:
1. They’re committed to travel. According to a survey published by Expedia, those 30 and under report taking an average of 4.2 leisure trips a year, more than any other age group. This has led some younger travelers to purchase vacation ownership, or timeshare, an industry that is seeing a surge in younger buyers. In fact, new timeshare owners are nearly 10 years younger than traditional timeshare owners have been, according to a study by the American Resort Development Association (ARDA).
2. They don’t visit destinations. They experience places. Younger travelers are less interested in “the traditional sun, sea and sand holidays” than previous generations were, according to the World Youth Student and Educational Travel Confederation.
Young travelers want to immerse themselves in local culture and live unique experiences. They believe that life is too short to not go skydiving in New Zealand or hike the Grand Canyon.
3. They don’t place as much value on ownership. Millennials also place more value on access than on whole ownership. This could contribute to the surge in their purchasing timeshares, which offers access to a condo or resort without the full investment of a second home. Through vacation exchange brands such as RCI, a timeshare purchase can give travelers access to accommodations all over the world, making this type of investment all the more enticing to younger generations.
4. They do their research. Before making a purchase, nearly three-fourths of millennials re- search the product online, accord- ing to The Intelligence Group. They also like to try out a product before they purchase it. According to ARDA, 42 percent of new timeshare owners experienced the product firsthand by renting through sites such as EndlessVacationRentals.com before making the purchase.
5. They’re mobile. Naturally, the early adopters of mobile technology are some of its most prolific users. Younger groups are more likely to book and research their travel online and through mobile devices. Only 18 percent of those under 30 have not used a smartphone for travel, according to an Expedia survey.
The younger generation has unique characteristics and expectations that are changing the world of travel as they voyage far and often on their mission to experience as much of the world as possible. North American Precis Syndicate