A lot of people are still talking about millennials as if they’re a young group, but they actually aren’t; the oldest millennial will be 39 this year. They belong to a demographic that’s extremely difficult to sell to because the majority have moved from having more time and less money – a trait usually associated with the youth – to having significantly less time but more disposable income.
This group is looking for convenience; they’re overwhelmed with information and don’t want to spend 20 hours deliberating over their next purchase. For example, if everyone on my Instagram feed is going to Finland and staying at a specific hotel, then that’s what I am probably going to do because, clearly, it must be good. Even if it may not be the best option, do I want to put in the time and effort (which I’m no longer used to doing) to find something else that may or may not be better? The risk-versus-reward ratio is quite severely imbalanced, and very biased towards ease now.
“[We millennials have] turned to micro-luxuries we are able to afford. Travel falls into this category.”
Millennials are also the on-demand generation, consistently consuming through platforms that allow for instant gratification – from food deliveries to transportation. So when you have a group that is used to this process, then you’re talking about people who have been well-primed to use this system in whatever else they buy, especially when it comes to travel experiences.
It’s not all cyber-cynical though; millennials are also extremely empowered. While there’s a lot of talk about how we can’t save as much as baby boomers, we’ve turned to micro-luxuries we are able to afford. Travel falls into this category. Just because you can’t afford to own a home doesn’t mean you can’t go to Bali a few times a year. Being able to make these decisions helps us assert control over our situation. It’s a very different mindset to how the older generation felt about holidays, which were typically annual week-long tours. But millennials ask, “Why do I have to do this just once a year?”
And the world has evolved to accommodate this. Budget travel was not something that existed before this generation, and homestays – which are a dime a dozen now – were much more rare. The disintermediation that’s happened in the travel industry has opened the gateway to new travel habits, entitlements, expectations and lifestyles. Embracing experiences instead of actual material things has also challenged cultural trends in a positive way, namely around sustainability and unhealthy and consumptive attitudes.
By studying the chat groups that made up our old product Wander (which aimed to connect singles in cities around the world), we learned that people in this region want real experiences, but that at the same time, they were more comfortable meeting up over a clear transactional purpose where there are defined roles, like organiser and guest, buyer and seller, et cetera.
That’s what we’re hoping to do with our new platform, Tickle, which connects people looking to learn or experience new things offline – whether that’s building moss gardens, doing calligraphy or cooking Moroccan cuisine. It’s empowering for both the host and the guest.
This article was originally published in the March 2019 issue of SilverKris magazine