Let’s get this out of the way right now – Millennials aren’t what their stereotypes lead you to believe. And when it comes to travel, Millennials tend to fly in the face of their biggest stereotypes.
NB This is a viewpoint co-written by Skyroam‘s Eric Plam, vice president and general manager and Cory Jones, its vice president of global marketing and product.
The stereotypes are all wrong. The first step to understanding these travellers, and in turn to understand how to market to them, is to understand a term we like to call “avocado travel.”
What is “avocado travel”?
Avocado travel references the latest trend of putting avocado on everything and anything. Avocados tend to be expensive fruits (I know, it’s weird, but they are fruit), but Millennials will still put them in burritos, on toast, and even use them to hold lattes.
Some think this blatant disregard to the use of an expensive piece of produce proves Millennials don’t have fiscal responsibility, and they should drop the oily green delicacy in order to buy a house.
These people don’t understand a very basic element of the avocado generation – they prefer to spend what little money they have on the experience, to relish each as much as possible.
You’ve all read Millennials are “killing” multiple industries, including lunch, cars, diamonds, and department stores. But Millennials aren’t frugal with their money when it comes to non-essential day-to-day costs and are willing to spend on new experiences, or on re-experiencing something they enjoy. So they will pay to get some avocado on toast because it’s what they enjoy.
With that in mind, these creative, adventure seekers should be the ideal traveller. Travelling is all about creating new memories and experiencing new things, and there are specific things travel firms can focus on in order to attract even more of the avocado eaters.
From avocado toast to avocado pizza – what makes you unique
The first thing you should focus on is the kind of experiences you provide. According to Expedia, 86% of Millennials will travel in order to experience a new culture. This means you have to accentuate the quirkiness and specialness of any destination you want to market to Millennials, even when promoting familiar destinations – the jazz in New Orleans, the graffiti in Berlin, the street vendors in Tokyo’s fish market.
And Millennials not only want to go somewhere special, they want to do something special when they get there.
Airbnb created a whole new feature called “Experiences” to help users find special, cool, and quirky things to do, guided by real locals with unique interests. Local graffiti artists can take you on a graffiti tour, and maybe even teach you how to make some street art. A sushi chef can show you how to make the best sushi in Tokyo. A street drummer can show you how to make music with buckets. It’s important to make the avocado traveller feel like they’re experiencing somewhere special.
An avocado is only as good as its colour
But how should you showcase this culture? Through advertising? Not really, or at least, not in the more traditional sense. 84% of the avocado-loving generation said that they are more likely to choose a destination according to user generated content, rather than advertisements.
This means the most important thing is to create a compelling and photogenic cultural experience, one that will look good on Instagram and with the location filters on SnapChat, as 97% of Millennials post to social media while travelling.
But how can brands and/or destinations ensure they are part of the sharing mindset? Here is where advertising has a role, but it needs to be authentic. Very few people can avoid advertising in its broadest sense and those who claim not be influenced actually mean that they can see through the BS.
For advertising to engage with Millennials, it needs to be authentic – so brands and destination should use authentic user genuine content, from real travellers sharing genuine experiences backed by honest testimonials.
Offer a little more avocado
Millennials love rewards. 68% of them will stay loyal to the brands that give them the most rewards and freebies. So why not give upgrades and freebies to those who post exciting content about you on social media? This will create more compelling marketing for your brand than you in-house or agency teams ever could, ensuring that Millennials who are already your customers will return.
We call this entire process “the avocado loop”.
You showcase your destination or brand’s cultural experience. Then you create incentive programs for Millennials to share these experiences with their friends. They create content on Facebook and Instagram, in real time during the trip, as very few Millennials allow themselves to travel with no WiFi connectivity This user generated content brings in even more business, more effectively, and creates loyal customers.
You sit back with your avocado toast and see a real profit off of the largest generation in history.
NB2: Image by BigStock