by Isabel Conway –
Unlike us baby boomers who like to think of ourselves as self- appointed travel experts scrolling the internet, checking in with trip advisor, kayak, Expedia and so on, latest research out of the US shows time pressed Millennials are discovering and also embracing the services of (real life!) travel advisors.
The high street travel bureaux with dog eared global maps, time difference clocks and walls of bulky brochures, offering much of the same have increasingly been replaced by the new agency experts whose comprehensive websites carry a wealth of relevant information and countless testimonies on Instagram endorsed far off destinations.
A transformative travel mantra that your vacation is ‘a life changing experience’ is one Millennials find increasingly appealing. Ready to purchase ‘transformative travel’ package deals, the chance to have experiences off the beaten path with one to one services from expert advisors, is now only a few clicks away.
The American Society of Travel Agents, now rebranded as thet American Society of Travel Advisors found in a recent survey that 55 per cent of millennials are more likely than baby boomers to say that hiring a travel expert, rather than arranging their own faraway travels, was worth it, compared with 42 per cent and 28 per cent of Gen Xers and boomers.
And according to a study last year by a leading global hospitality marketing firm a large percentage of millennials will increasingly hire these new look travel experts to take care of planning their trip. Convenience has perpetuated the trend plus the desire for a personalized trip, be it joining a local music jam session in Port Elizabeth, cooking pasta with a real Italian mama in Emilia Romagno or a visit to a neighbourhood tribal textile outside Zambia’s capital Lusaka.
“Millennials don’t want to relax and forget life, they want to learn how to live a more fulfilling one” says Beth McGroarty of Global Wellness Institute . By talking through the expectations and interests of trips with clients the travel expert can prioritize their interests and find engage local guides to realize a transformative travel experience.
Virtuoso, a popular US travel network that matches clients with travel advisors, says millennials are increasingly likely to cultivate a relationship with a travel expert much as they would with their personal trainer, wedding planner or nutritionist.
Even those working at the high end of IT with lots of money to spend are less interested nowadays in status related expensive destinations than for an exclusive and exotic one. In times past a 5 star luxury safari lodge or beach resort in the Indian ocean was the preserve of the wealthy.
Today’s millennials have replaced that dream with one of taking a walking or horse riding safari to get ever closer to wildlife and their habitat, book a picnic you can only reach at the top of a mountain by helicopter, or a champagne breakfast after a balloon landing in Queensland’s outback.
Unlike baby boomers who cherish a paper itinerary and armfuls of brochures millennials deal in e mails and apps and above all, research shows, they don’t want a rigid itinerary that plans their trip in minute detail. Instead they want time to relax, explore on their own, experience customs, culture and have a transformative travel trip.