Forget millennials, resonating across generations is key

Forget millennials, resonating across generations is key

Avoiding the word millennial is a seemingly impossible task for today’s luxury travel marketers.

Often putting millennials and baby boomers on opposite ends of a spectrum, the reality is not so simple. During a recent Virtuoso conference, expert on ageing Ken Dychtwald and his millennial son Zak presented; The New Language of Leisure: A Boomer Millennial Smackdown, arguing that there is an unfounded and “overwhelming amount of attention on millennials.”

Ken Dychtwald urges luxury marketers to re-set their focus back to the 50-plus set, citing statistics to back up his argument:

“People who are 50-plus have 70 percent of the country’s disposable income and own 76 percent of the total net worth.” The combination of this concentration of wealth, plus a surfeit of time affluence makes boomers “the ideal candidates for luxury travel.”

Read the article here  

We asked ILTM movers and shakers how marketing to millennials is impacting the way we sell luxury.

News Views

Travel Brand View

"Do I think luxury marketers have favoured the millennials in their strategies recently? Painting in broad strokes, in general, no, I do not. The luxury sector recognizes the value of targeting multiple audiences, rather than favouring one over the other. 

Generally speaking, marketing to any one specific audience will ultimately alienate all other audiences. At Crystal, we find that millennials and baby boomers, as well as the multi-generational families that bring the two together, value travel and exploration and global discoveries equally. And we respect them enough to speak to them equally."

Media View

"To be honest, I feel like luxury brands have been speaking a lot about millennials lately, doing everything to reach them (and forgetting about other segments) but very few have been successful. Believing you can “understand” a generation in the making is their mistake, I think. Millennials are far too young right now. Also, a fundamental trait of the millennial is this feeling of living in a world far worse off than previous decades. The industry has therefore been focusing on a 20-something kid, with little money and poor mental wellbeing. So yes, I think it has been a mistake to think so much about millennials, I think we should start to think about specific interests instead of generations, and especially when it comes to luxury industries, where money is not a problem.

Thinking in segments and generations is useful when you’re trying to explain major trends, but when it comes to luxury things are far too exclusive, far too unique. Labelling people doesn’t work when it comes to luxury because you are not working with the masses; you are working with the niche. So, instead of thinking of millennials, and baby boomers, or generation x, I would think about how individual people want to travel and the different interests they have."

ILTM View

"Most of us in travel sales and marketing have experienced what I call 'millennial fatigue'. I actually banned the term from our events before reluctantly letting it back in when it couldn't be avoided! It’s not that millennials aren't a valid segment – on the contrary – 72% of Chinese millennials will use a travel advisor to plan their trips next year compared to 58%, generally - what tends to annoy me is when I see a brand’s overt focus on the segment because of what they think an association with young people or ‘experiential’ travel will do for their brand positioning.

Luxury travel experiences, be they experiential, transformational, adventurous, or educational, are enjoyed equally by people of all generations. What’s more, I don’t believe millennials want to stay with brands that have a very narrow cross section or demographic of guest. All my best travel experiences involve meeting people of different ages, faiths, and nationalities; that's the essence of luxury travel."

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