Millennials have been in the spotlight for their preferences and behaviors for a long time now. For one of the few times, they have gained a ‘good’ reputation for their tendency to value experiences over products. They would much rather spend money on experiences rather than material items. The media romanticizes the generation’s wanderlust passion and their ability to prioritize travel even though they’re deep in debt.
When it comes to travel, millennials are looking to have unforgettable adventures that will make them talk about their experience — non-stop — when they come back home. They are also more socially conscious having grown up in a time of profound social, political and cultural confusion. From economic recessions, to terrorism threats to recent issues about climate change and sustainability, millennials are becoming more socially aware and are caring about various causes around the world, more than their parents did. They are looking for shorter breaks, learning about new cultures, meeting new people and fulfilling a purpose when they’re on vacation. These experiences can be anything from taking cooking classes to engaging with locals and doing something unusual.
So, how do they do it?
Even if they are extensive travel researchers, reading blogs, designing a plan and getting to know the city weeks before getting on the plane, sometimes it may be exorbitant or difficult to find authentic local experiences involving food, music or culture.
This is when AirBnB comes in handy; not only did the company become the number one site for vacation rentals since 2008, it also expanded its offerings with new platforms called AirBnB Experiences and AirBnB Adventures. The app is creating a new way to travel, to personalize and cater to personal preferences in terms of budget and travel likes & dislikes and to become an end-to-end travel seller.
To dig deeper into the AirBnB Experiences, launched in 2016, the platform displays a wide range of options to choose from such as classes, walking or biking tours, hikes, food and museum tours and much more lasting a few hours. Not only is the company showing you where to stay, they are also showing you what to do based on your preferences and budget.
Millennials like to tick things off their bucket list and do things that might seem banal to other generations but are super exciting to them. Things like taking a surfing class in Sydney and cooking pasta with an Italian grandma in Rome.
According to the company’s website the most popular experiences are the ones that are uniquely unusual in the world’s most popular cities. These included tapas on a boat in Barcelona, yoga with goats in Oregon and a tour around the Louvre with a comedian.
This is a two-way road for AirBnB: it also encourages locals to do what they love and get paid for it. It gives the hosts a chance to turn their passion into profit by showing off their skills, their city and their culture. It also gives a voice to the cause the hosts care about such as leading a hike to walk dogs or raising awareness for sustainability through hosting a beach clean-up. All things that make the world a better place while providing experiences and something to remember when coming back home.
In addition to the experiences, the company has newly launched AirBnB Adventures in June 2019. It’s mostly an expansion of the Experiences. It’s a multi-day overnight trips from 2 to 10 days, for up to 12 guests, led by locals. Everything is planned — including accommodation, meals and itinerary. It’s basically a tour. But AirBnB being AirBnB is launching this in a different way. Most millennials look at tours as something older people would do. They imagine a bus going from one place to another with a group of seniors and limited time and freedom to explore the city.
The concept launched takes a different approach. The company wants to sell adventure tourism and make it as accessible as possible without it being perceived as a risky experience. The hosts are either local residents or experts from the area who give the travelers authentic experiences, teaching them about new cultures. Some Adventures are located in destinations that travelers might not have even imagined going to. It allows them to ditch the tourist trails and go deeper with wildly unique adventures. They can choose from 200 adventure options spread across six different continents: from a luxury camping trip in Wyoming, to diving with sharks and meeting penguins in South Africa to a jungle trek in the Amazon, all they have to do is show up.
I am getting the urge to pack my bags just thinking about this!
While it is true that tours are already popular and there’s no shortage of providers around the world, travelers are demanding more authentic-feeling experiences with small groups emphasizing their need for a peer-to-peer interaction. For a millennial, it is much more convenient to do it through an inclusive app that provides stays, experiences and adventures with one click, and with a cashless payment.
Besides, the company knows exactly how to attract travelers, specially millennials who look for experiences. So, let’s see what the company will launch next that millennials will go crazy about.
I was wondering what travel will be like after the coronavirus pandemic is over.
Travelers would probably prefer domestic travel over the international one, or maybe even go for staycations, as they’ll prefer staying close to home. And they would most probably make it a quick trip.
After doing some research, I found that despite the challenges, it won’t be this way forever, especially that travel and tourism is a resilient industry that comes back again and again. After all, if the borders open up, the destinations will happily welcome tourists. But that is a big ‘if’.