Technology-savvy Millennials are seen by many in the travel and tourism industry as the new key segment to generate much of the targeted growth in the coming years. And, those 1.8 billion people worldwide do display particular characteristics that will heavily influence the future. According to recent data, Millennials are more optimistic and plan to travel more frequently and spend more on travel than boomers in the next five years. This global generation seeks authenticity and is very adaptable yet also has come of age with a built-in expectation of having control of their activities. They want to experience new cultures, blend experiences across different types of trips, encounter and engage with local people and have authentic experiences.

The most notorious myth that Millennials won’t use a travel agent has become redundant as over 90% of those who have used a travel agent in the past five years reported it enhanced their travel experience. Additionally, nearly 60% of Millennials agree they would pay more for an agent’s expertise. There’s an assumption that Millennials have different travel needs than their parents, but in many cases, the data suggests that they may be more similar than they like to admit. In fact, whilst the sharing economy is on a rise, according to American Express Travel, both generations prefer to stay in a traditional hotel and agree that enhanced in-room technology is the most appealing hotel trend.

There’s a dichotomy when it comes to Millennials’ travel planning habits. On one hand, the data shows that customization is king, with nearly 70% of Millennials saying they would put in the effort to plan a personalized travel experience vs. purchasing a pre-packaged trip, yet 60% of Millennials report that they would choose a package if it were less expensive. Price was not the only consideration when it came to customization. By more than 25 percentage points when compared to Boomers, technology-savvy Millennials are happy for their personal data to be used in order to create more personalised travel experiences, such as through mobile apps offering, specific personalised access and services. Millennials seek seamless travel experiences by using technology to simplify and streamline how they enjoy the destination's offerings and experiences. 

While three-quarters of Millennials claim to prefer to live in the moment while traveling and not view experiences through the lens of their phone, the fact is the pressure to post on social media for this group is real. Despite having a desire to unplug when staying at a hotel, nearly all millennial travelers post on social networks and share experiences with friends while traveling (97%). Three in four millennial travelers post to social networks at least once a day while traveling (73%).