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4 Ways Millennials Are Changing The Face Of Travel

From a surge in bleisure travel to an increase in hostel like hotels, it's clear Millennials are having a huge impact on the travel industry. Whether it's taking a foreign bus out of the city center to taste homemade pasta, or taking a pay cut to travel more often for work, Millennials are a truly different breed of travelers.
06/17/2016 06:21pm ET | Updated June 18, 2017
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In today's digital age, travel is not viewed as a luxury but instead a necessity. With pictures of exotic destinations and adventurous excursions flooding the social feeds of Millennials, it's no surprise that travel has become a top priority for this generation. In fact, Millennials are 23 percent more likely to travel abroad than their older counterparts. They are also willing to budget more for trips, with Millennials on track to spend $1.4 trillion on travel each year by 2020. Given these figures, it's evident this generation has become essential to the travel industry. So, let's take a look at the various ways Millennials are continuing to change the face of travel.

Cultural experiences reign over partying
The "experience economy", a term deemed by businesses to create memorable events for their customers, is consuming the travel industry with 72 percent of Millennials choosing to spend more money on experiences than material items. According to internal research from our company, Topdeck Travel, more than three quarters (86%) of Millennials would rather experience a new culture compared to 44 percent who prefer to party or 28 percent who prefer to shop. While baby boomers tend to seek the safety and convenience of an overcrowded touristy restaurant near a major attraction, Millennials are taking a step outside their comfort zone to experience that sought after authentic meal. In fact, just under half of Millennials said they would pick a destination because they want to experience a particular culture, and 78 percent want to learn something new while they travel.

A surge in "bleisure" travel
For past generations, business travel was merely an added benefit of the job, but today, we're seeing Millennials base their entire career decisions around the ability to travel generating a completely new concept- bleisure travel. Mixing business with leisure, "Bleisure" travel is more popular than ever amongst Millennials. According to Expedia, employees under 30 are traveling 4.7 times per year on business compared to 3.6 times for those above 30 years old. Millennials are taking advantage of having fewer responsibilities at home, such as children or families, and therefore have the opportunity to extend business trips more often than previous generations. In fact, 62 percent are more likely to extend their business vacations to gain cultural experience and see more of the world, all while on their company's dime.

Group travel is on the rise
Despite the idea that solo travel can be "dangerous," 37 percent of Millennials reported their intention to take at least one overnight trip unaccompanied in the next six months. But, going solo doesn't have to mean going alone. In fact, solo travel is becoming increasingly attractive, safe and easy when planned with a group tour operator. Traveling solo but with a group gives Millennials the freedom to explore alone while also having the safety net of a larger group should something go awry.

Hostels are becoming more appealing

Millennials are currently the fastest-growing age segment in terms of money spent on travel, so it's no surprise that they also make up a whopping 70 percent of hostel guests. This high concentration of young travelers looking for affordable options is making hostels a more appealing choice when searching for accommodations. Hostels are typically low in cost, placed in convenient locations and provide more social opportunities for travelers to meet likeminded individuals. Due to the uptick in bookings, hostels around the world are reinventing themselves with private rooms (which 9 out of 10 hostels now offer) and private bathrooms, movie theaters, bars, pools and even spas. We're even seeing big name hotel brands hop on board, like Hilton, by exploring new lines of hostel-like accommodations in order meet demands of the young Millennial traveler.

From a surge in bleisure travel to an increase in hostel like hotels, it's clear Millennials are having a huge impact on the travel industry. Whether it's taking a foreign bus out of the city center to taste homemade pasta, or taking a pay cut to travel more often for work, Millennials are a truly different breed of travelers.