Travel suppliers need to rip their marketing playbooks to create brand loyalty among Millennials

19 January, 2018

Travel companies aiming to influence millennials must master the art of user generated content in order to remain relevant among an age group that is now larger than the Baby Boomer generation in the United States of America (USA).

Recent research conducted by consultancy Resonance shows 31% of Millennials it surveyed across North America look at online ratings and peer reviews while on vacation. Additionally, Millennials use social media to determine where to go and what to do once they arrive at a destination. The company's findings are based on surveys conducted across North America in Mar-2017 of more than 1,500 respondents aged 20 to 36.

"Brands today need to embrace the power of UGC (user-generated content) over traditional advertising if they want to connect with this generation [Millennials]", Resonance stated.

The company singled out Turkish Airlines for its efforts in using UGC to capture the attention of Millennials. The airline has collaborated with high-profile YouTubers on a campaign that connected its brand with 40 million people.

Another brand that's excelling in UGC is Starwood's Aloft. Resonance concluded everything about Aloft is designed with the goal of appealing to Millennials, including live music, and pool tables in hotel lobbys that encourage guest interaction, and the ever-important free WiFi. "Aloft guests aren't just likely to hang out at the hotel but also share their photos and experiences across social media throughout their stay," Resonance concluded.

Resonance believes relevancy comes easier for brands that don't interrupt the Millennial traveller in the hopes of getting noticed, but co-create and empower "this elusive target market".

Royal Caribbean set the bar for empowering Millennials in 2017 with the creation of its "SeeSeekers" campaign, Resonance concluded. The campaign entails a Scuba mask with Snapchat Spectacles the cruise line hopes to start renting out this year. "By embedding shareability in the equipment rental that would happen anyway, Royal Caribbean has essentially reverse-engineered a platform-specific user-generated campaign," Resonance stated.

The bottom line is that for the "always-connected Millennial generation, the Internet and social media are the new travel agent," Resonance concluded. And in many instances, travel companies may need to throw out their old marketing playbooks to ultimately drive revenue from Millennials.