More than 70% of the millennial market is keen to travel before the end of the year and is looking for experience-led outdoor product, according to youth specialists.
Research conducted by youth adventure operator Contiki revealed significant demand for travel in 2020, while a further survey by Ibiza Rocks Group also found that of the 9,000 customers it questioned, three-quarters had “no problem” boarding an aircraft.
Speaking on a Travel Weekly Webcast, Andy McKay, co-founder and chief executive of Ibiza Rocks Group, said: “Ultimately, 80% of our customers are very keen to come to Ibiza, and three-quarters of our customers have no problem getting on an aircraft – 50% of them don’t even have conditions attached to that, while about a quarter of them are asking for simple things like face masks.
“It’s interesting that the younger the customer is, the harder they found lockdown mentally.
“Everybody’s talking about the older generation and the trouble they’ve got but I think there’s a bit of a lack of thought about the effect on the very young, and let’s face it, this is the generation that is physically going to pay for this lockdown over many decades.
“We also found in terms of the experience of going abroad – yes, Ibiza was popular and yes, they’re ready to travel, but there was a real desire for outdoors. The vast majority of people were very happy to get involved in outdoor activities, whereas less than half of them were interested in the idea of being inside in a nightclub. So we’re seeing a really different dynamic of what tourism during this Covid phase is, but I think the appetite is incredibly strong with the younger market.”
Contiki’s Donna Jeavons said demand for gap year travel could rise given uncertainty in the jobs market and customers deferring university places amid the switch to virtual teaching methods.
She said: “We’ve also surveyed our travellers and we’re seeing over 70% of them would travel by the end of the year, so the demand is there.
“We’re starting to see more of a trend towards multi-person travel, whereas previously, we did about 60%-70% solo travel, but we’re definitely seeing more friends and couples wanting to travel with us to restart those relationships after having to have them via Zoom for the last couple of months.
“Experience is definitely the buzzword for millennials and Gen Z. That’s what the youth customer is looking for these days. From our perspective, it’s about local authentic experiences getting under the skin of a country.”
Demand for in-destination experiences is also key for customers of Party Hard Travel, which primarily targets Gen Z travellers between 17 and 22, according to Nathan Cable. He said: “The experience-based side of things is definitely coming out. Maybe 10 years ago, someone might have said I’m going to go to Zante for a party holiday and just think of the sun and drinking, whereas now it’s much more about events and the content that’s happening in these destinations, so that’s a massive factor in how people are booking now.”
Party Hard Travel has developed a new app to reduce social contact in bars and restaurants, while Ibiza Rocks has introduced a cashless bar and plans to retain contact details in case required for tracing.
Jeavons added that social media marketing was crucial in reaching younger travellers. She said: “A great and fairly easy way to target this audience is through existing customers. Maybe most of your customers are 40-plus but they have kids and grandkids within our market that you can target, and they’re looking to their agent, who they trust, to recommend a product that’s right for their children or grandkids through a trusted relationship. So there’s an opportunity there to go out to your existing database and think about who you could target.”