The survey by Travelport sound that two-thirds (66%) of millennial Australians rate a good digital experience as a top priority when choosing an airline, ahead of traditional customer programs like frequent flier points (59%).
But according to Travelport the preferences of these milennials are stark in comparison to their parents’ generations, with almost half (46%) of younger Australians doing most of their travel booking and research via mobile phones, compared with one-in-four (28%) Gen X’s and less than one-in-ten (9%) of baby boomers.
“While digital is certainly not unique to younger Australians, it’s clear that when it comes to travel, mobile and digital experiences play a bigger role for them than ever before,” says Sabrina Ricci, Head of Account Management Pacific, Travelport.
Travelport’s study also revealed younger Australians prefer to be well-researched when jetting off, compared to their older counterparts, using a mix of in-person and online techniques. Almost half (48%) almost always rely on traditional review websites like TripAdvisor and flight comparison sites (49%), like Skyscanner, and are experimenting with new technology like voice search (43%) compared to just 28% of Gen X’s and 11% of baby boomers.
And millennials are also the most likely to frequently look for recommendations from travel professionals (79%), like travel agents and tour operators, compared to 72% of older Australians.
“Travel behaviours always change over time as technology develops. While it’s not surprising that digital natives are the first to move to embrace these newer technologies, their focus on preparing for their travels is clear,” said Ricci
“Thanks to changes in models of transport, like budget airlines, Millennials plan to travel more than all other Australians and are investing the energy in being well-prepared. Social media is increasingly playing a role in forming travel decisions, through brands, friends and family, along with cultivating unique, personalised experiences on their holidays that are often captured on social media.”
According to the research, when researching a trip, four-fifths of millennial travellers in Australia (79%) have now viewed videos and photos posted by travel brands on social media and one-in-five (22 per cent) ‘nearly always’ do this.
Facebook is considered the most influential social media platform by millennials in Australia, and this view is shared by Gen X travelers and baby boomers - however, preference of Instagram is on the rise.
“Digital can be a deciding factor when it comes to travel, but the basics are still the most important for all Australians, regardless of age. When it comes to winning customers in the long-run, having a high-quality product on offer along with good customer service and value sets the foundations for a sustainable model,” Ricci says.
“Gimmicky digital add-ons for the sake of reaching younger generations will fail to convert customers long-term. Instead, businesses should focus on extending their customer service offering through digital channels and meeting customers’ needs in the places they engage most, whether that’s mobile and social for younger Australians or traditional avenues and desktop in older generations,” concluded Ricci.