Why millennials are crucial to the recovery of travel in 2021

Nicole Tj
March 16, 2021

Getting the wanderlust generation of 370 million millennial travellers globally to start travel planning again might just be the key to the recovery of the travel industry. Perspectives and insights by travel startup Travis.

It’s almost like we’re starting to see the light at the end of the COVID tunnel. Rate of new cases are dipping in most parts of the world, almost 10 million people around the world are receiving their vaccinations everyday. Everyday life is very slowly, but surely, inching closer to the promise of ‘normal’ — no doubt with a few changes. Travel and tourism, the industry which was first to be thrown into turmoil with the biggest shakeups in recent history, is now seeing early signs of recovery. Where to from here, is anyone’s best guess.

So, one year on, how has COVID changed how we now travel, or think about travel?

  1. We’re travelling closer. Australia closing our international and interstate borders in 2020 meant that we had to start looking much closer to home, and even within the state, for unique experiences and getaway inspiration. Swopping Paris for Port Douglas and Greece for the Great Ocean Road has given us a chance to realise just how lucky we are in Australia to be able to drive a couple of hours out of a major city and enjoy a beautiful getaway. Contiki’s survey found that 77% of 1200 travellers aged 18–35 plan to travel domestically this year. Qantas released mystery flights to Aussie destinations in March-May 2021 that were booked out in under 15 minutes. Airbnb reported in Sept 2020 a 35% year over year increase in domestic Gross Booking Value.
  2. We’re travelling shorter, smaller trips. For many, it’s the day trip, (long) weekend getaway, or week-long ‘I need a break from work’ trip. For some it might even be a ‘Let me move into an Airbnb down the coast and work remotely for a week’ trip. Six-week European bonanzas are now a thing of the past (though hopefully-soon-to-return future).
  3. We’re travelling more frequently. Because trips are now closer and shorter, this also means that they’re happening in shorter planning cycles, and smaller budgets. But this also means that it’s much easier to fit in multiple short getaways, a little escape from city life to experience somewhere new — monthly or bi-monthly.

There’s a long road ahead, with varying behaviours and restrictions across different countries and demographics, but it’s a start to recovery nonetheless.

And we think millennials are crucial to the recovery of travel in the next 12 months — here’s 5 reasons why.

  1. Travel is an inherent part of our life and lifestyle. Deloitte’s survey of 13,416  millennials and Gen Zs found that ‘seeing/travelling the world’ is the number 1 aspiration — ahead of buying homes and starting families.
  2. We millennials are now the largest generation, making up 31.5% of the population. Globally, the UNWTO has estimated that there are 370 million millennial travellers around the world, spending $400 billion globally (pre-COVID).
  3. We are always on, always dreaming. As a digitally-savvy generation, we are quick to turn to our websites and apps for every single part of our lives, despite our best intents for a #digitaldetox or to keep under 5 hours of screen time daily. When it comes to travel, we’re more likely to be dreaming about and consuming #travelsinspo through social media and friends, whether or not we’re actually planning for a trip.
  4. We’re all about blending work and travel. Just as much as millennials had spearheaded the bleisure (business + leisure) trend pre-COVID, millennials are much better positioned with a digital workspace set up to be able to combine work and travel effortlessly — especially now that #WFHlife and remote working has become a norm.
  5. We’re more likely to be travelling in the shorter term (Tourism Australia’s Travel Sentiment Tracker shows that 51–65% of Australians in 2021 are intending to travel in the next 6 months, with safety and flexibility still at the top of mind. Further studies overseas show that millennials are ready to get travelling sooner than other generations too.

What about you?

Do you relate to the above, or are you thinking differently about travel? We want to hear from you at hello@travistravis:

  • How old are you?
  • Where are you based?
  • Do you have plans to travel within the next 6 months? If yes, where are you going? If no, why not?

At Travis we’re continuously learning from travellers and our users. We’re building a social platform for travel planning, providing an easy and visual way to inspire, discover, plan, and collaborate on your future trips. Sign up now to join 1300+ other travellers for early access!

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