In the 90s, Expedia turned the travel industry on its head by unlocking travel agent information and bringing it to the mass market. The question, as Expedia approaches its 18th Birthday and Expedia Inc.’s business travel company, Egencia, turns 11, how do we meet the needs of these future travellers? How will the generations who grew up in this new travel world plan and book leisure and business travel, and more importantly—how will the two converge?
Whether hailing from developed or emerging markets, Millennials – those currently under 30 years of age – grew up in the world of mobile devices, the internet and social media.
Because the self-service age of digital systems seems innate to this age group, not only do they have higher trust in the internet but also higher expectations about how sites and apps will deliver great personal experiences using that information and the speed at which that should happen. The Millennial generation expect to be in control and make their own decisions.
For Millennials, service doesn’t mean having someone else help you as much as having something help you. For this generation, technology, particularly mobile is their personal assistant, enabling them to stay in touch, ensuring they remember their meetings or friends’ birthdays, telling them when to be where and how to get there.
Millennials are travelling more. Globally, those 30 and under are travelling more for business than those aged 30-45 or 46-65. The under-30s travel 4.7 times per year compared with 3.6 and 4.2 times respectively for the older two age groups.
In the leisure sphere, Millennials travel on average 4.2 times a year compared to 2.9 and 3.2 times per year respectively for the older segments.
And increasingly, the lines between business and leisure are blurring for this age group: Millennials have grown up in a world of working from remote locations and on the move so when it comes to business travel they are equally comfortable with blurred boundaries.
Battling Big Data and the challenges of personalisation
Big Data is not smart data. Somewhere in the morass of amalgamated personal information lies the key to how we can inspire clients with the perfect set of personalised offers. Tim Pritchard of TNS notes that, “technically you need big powerful servers to actually process big data – you need the right information scientists/marketers, brand experts and that’s the issue (running the machinery)… I think the technology is there, I don’t think there are enough big data experts out there.”