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The millennial generation shows great restlessness when it comes to traveling and discovering new places. In fact, the vast majority of young people between eighteen and thirty years old have traveled at least once. In addition, a characteristic that defines this group is the ability to be constantly connected, as they search and learn on the Internet. Most of them rely on their smartphone to obtain information in their daily lives. A third feature that identifies them is their interest in discovering different enclaves and experiences when traveling, they are always looking for unique alternatives.
Hotels have been benefiting positively from this new generation and their desire to travel for many years. The problem has recently appeared: competition. Staying in a hotel is no longer the only option that travelers have when they visit a new site, now there is also Airbnb, an online site where millions of owners of houses or apartments can rent their properties at a cheaper price, offering travelers that stay at their places much more than a place to sleep.
The objective of this research is to understand the generation of millennials, their traveling habits, and their accommodation choices. The following questions will be the ones to guide this research:
Review of Literature
In order to collect and review research and data concerning the millennial generation, their traveling habits, accommodation choices, and effect on hotels, I have viewed many different sources. Articles, journals, research studies, books, and internet sites have been my main sources, all found through the search engine Google Scholar.
The key words and phrases that I found helpful during this research are the following: millennial generation, millennial traveling habits, Airbnb and its impact on hotels, traveling culture, accommodation search engines.
I have been able to find information on this new generation and their preferences when traveling, as well as a better understanding of the company Airbnb and the competition they have with hotels all over the world.
The Millennial Generation
A study done by Future Corporation commissioned by Expedia.com analyzes the behavior of this peculiar group, its influences when choosing a trip, as well as their preferences and their fears. The work reflects the opinion of a thousand young people from eight countries of the five continents.
One of the main conclusions of the study reinforces the idea that millennials are passionate about travel (Morrison, 2016). They are individuals born and raised in a world where technology and, by extension, the internet and social networks have put the world at their feet, and the interest in exploring it has made them demanding travelers.
When traveling, they pull the collaborative economy, choose what is best for them. But especially what makes them special is that they have learned to assimilate the concept of “low cost” as a form of travel. The determining factor when deciding the reservation is the price. They do not have as many economic resources as the previous generation, but they want to see the world, yes, for less money.
One of the things that millennials value the most when traveling is the hospitality of the people of the place of destination, excursions and tours, and accommodation. They also value, although to a lesser extent, the feeling of security, that the destination is comfortable to visit, that it has good public transport, cultural diversity and tourist information centers, as well as a wide gastronomic and leisure offer (Garikapati et al., 2016)
Traveling and New Technologies
ICTs (information and communication technologies) are part of their lifestyle. They are digital natives and their world has always been surrounded by new technologies. They have not had to adapt (like previous generations). For them, everything technological is natural.
Millennials have grown up in a world where the flow of information is constant, a world in which holiday photos that they see on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, contacts and influencers determine their next destination. Millennials are also guided by the reviews that their possible destinations have. According to a study done for the Tourism Management magazine, online reviews written by other travelers are very useful for future travelers when choosing their next travel destination as well as a place to stay (Ayeh et al., 2013)
Going to a travel agency and letting them plan everything for their trip is not something millennials enjoy. They prefer to sit with their computer and investigate. Millennials are experts in finding offers, while organizing their visits based on what they see on social networks and specialized blogs (Mackay et al., 2012). In the same way, the accommodation reservation also takes place through the Internet. Now there are many pages that compare prices of different accommodations, making it much easier to search for the best place to stay.
Airbnb and its Impact on Hotels
The Airbnb company has become a benchmark for travel and stay for the millennial generation. Jonathan Mildenhall, Airbnb’s chief marketing officer, comments in an interview for a Magazine that “Airbnb’s strategy is based on the insight that millennials travelers seek different ways to travel very different from their parents. They want different, local experiences. They prefer to stay in neighborhoods, in the Center, in houses. They want to go out and have fun with the locals, eat where they eat” (Beer, 2017). This is why more and more millennials are choosing to stay at Airbnb places instead of hotels: it has more to offer.
Peer-to-peer platforms such as Airbnb, Uber, and Lyft are very popular amongst this generation, many studies have shown how these platforms have grown rapidly because of their technologic innovations and flexibility (Byers et al.,2013). Being able to find everything they need when it comes to finding an accommodation online is a very attractive feature for millennials, and Airbnb is the perfect place for them to search for a place to stay.
Millennials are a generation of young people eager to travel and discover the world, but in their own way. They are creating a new way of traveling, thanks to their knowledge in the new communication technologies and their interest in the different and unique when they travel. More and more millennials prefer Airbnb before hotels, Airbnb is affecting the hotel business, and the more users of the platform are satisfied with their experience, the demand for hotel rooms is more likely to decrease.
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