The 18- to 34-year-old crowd of 2009 travels for different reasons than their parents—and generally to different destinations, according to several new studies. The key finding: Younger travelers want to bring back more from their journeys than just souvenirs.
Language acquisition, work experience and volunteering opportunities ranked highest, according to a recent World Youth, Student and Educational Travel Confederation (WYSE) survey.
Not only does the new generation of travelers seek different experiences than their parents, but they also have different travel purchasing habits than consumers in older age brackets.
Here are 5 things every travel professional should know about today’s youth traveler.
1. Young travelers want more than a lounge chair and an ocean view.
A whopping 70% of respondents to the WYSE study “travel with a purpose,” whether it’s learning a new language or a physically-challenging adventure tour. So when you’re discussing a potential vacation with a younger customer, make off-the-beaten track experiences part of the complete travel experience you’re pitching. Don’t just give them the best fares to Bangkok—suggest adding a guided elephant tour of Thailand’s national parks to their itinerary using Amadeus Activities & Entertainment. For Europe-bound travelers, the London Sightseeing Pass offers entry to more than 50 must-see attractions and historical sites, ranging from the Tower of London to Windsor Castle, while the Paris Sightseeing Pass gets customers into 60 attractions as well as “fast pass” line-skipping privileges. With a few clicks of a mouse, you’ll be able to add amazing—and high-commission—adventures certain to satisfy any Gen-Yer’s wanderlust.
2. Travel on the cheap? Not necessarily.
Today’s young travelers stay longer and spend more money overall, mainly due to the length of their trips, according to the WYSE study. But even when they’re just booking a weekend trip, a recent PhoCusWright study found that second only to retirees, 18- to 34-year-olds are the biggest spenders on short getaways. The recession has dampened spending among travelers of all ages (down an average of 2% among this segment since December 2008), but experts predict young travel consumers will continue to expect “high quality and more services” over the coming years. They still want the best fares, and you can find them using Amadeus All Fares—which allows you to simultaneously search Amadeus and other air fares, including low-cost carriers and consolidator fares.
3. Have passport, will travel.
Youth travel represents approximately 20% of all international arrivals and is one of the tourism industry’s fastest growing sectors, the WYSE reports. So look beyond the US and Canada when counseling younger customers and brush up on your expertise of international destinations, particularly in Eastern Europe, which is this age group’s biggest growth market. The great news is that you can find customers bargain international fares with Amadeus Consolidator Shopper—and pass up as much or as little of the discount as you want using this product’s flexible mark-up feature.
4. Get on point with trends, tastes.
Gen-Yers demand a travel experience that is reflective of their modern lifestyle, including current and eco-friendly hotels, airlines and transportation. With Amadeus Hotels, you can book a bevy of hip hotels and showcase your suggestions with e-mailed photos. Amadeus Cars houses 25 car rental companies offering a variety of hybrid or eco-friendly vehicles, and Amadeus Rail provides high-speed and highly-efficient rail options across the globe. You can also now book Virgin America, a hip, yet affordable airline offering onboard ‘mood lighting’ and virtual ‘flirt rooms,’ via Amadeus. Want to score major points with Gen-Yers? Go green at your agency.
5. The ‘Net’s a necessity.
The majority of younger travelers book online—which is great news if you have a Web site for your travel business. To spread the word about your online presence, network on a social networking site like Facebook.com or MySpace.com, so you can share your expertise with online “friends.” Giving your customers the option to book online is easy and affordable with Amadeus Agency Internet Engine. We will set-up the booking engine and help you add it to your Web site. Your customers will be able to book air, car and hotel in a few clicks, get their travel itineraries e-mailed to them—and much, much more.
“Appealing to the tastes and buying preferences of younger travelers is key to remaining strong in a competitive market,” advises Joff Romoff
Vice President, Sales, Amadeus North America. “Not only does this segment wield considerable purchasing power, but they are the future of the travel industry—and therefore the future for our businesses.”
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