Many researchers are spending large amounts of time studying the differences between generation Y (millennials) and generation Z (centennials), but in certain situations for example travel experience, both generations have more in common than you may expect.
While the age gap between the two generations can be large, with the oldest millennial being around 35 to 40 years old and the oldest centennial being around 17 to 22 years old, the two generations have more in common regarding travel than was once realized. The millennial generation isn’t now necessarily more experienced with travel, as many centennials are becoming independent travelers despite their inexperience.
Similar attitudes and behaviors can apply to both generations, and some behaviors can remain or are even amplified over the years. Due to technology, and ever-changing definitions and stereotypes, it can be difficult to group people into each generation as there is more often than not a mix between generations and sub generations or mini generations.
Increased Prioritization of Travel Within People’s Lifestyles
Today both generations have an increased interest in travel as well as more options available to them. Previous generations didn’t have as easy access to low-cost airlines, budget travel, hostels, weekend trips away or even just access to information about destinations and advice on saving money. Travel has become a high priority in many Millennials and Centennial lifestyles with many choosing travel over starting a family and renting over buying houses or cars. Gone are the days of “a normal” lifestyle of which previous generations included strict expectations about education, work, family etc. Both millennials and centennials are deciding to spend money on experiences and the knowledge and discovery that travel brings instead of purchasing material items or expensive things.
Mobile and Smart Touch Bookings are “the Norm”
Choosing a travel destination was once a simple process for the older generations as there were only a few destinations to choose from and very few travel options. For both Millennials and Centennials the world is small and there are very few places that are undiscovered or unexplored. Having access to the world brings with it complex and varied ideas about holiday planning. The days when a holiday was searched for by a travel agent or on a desktop computer and chosen based solely on price are fading away for both generations.
Mobile devices, applications and metasearch comparison websites have allowed both generations to compare prices and suitability instantly at the touch of a button. Millennials and Centennials, unlike their older counterparts, are focusing on the overall travel experience; they read reviews and make decisions based on locations and subsequent activities (for example shopping, restaurants and bars, activities, events etc.)
Both generations know what they desire in a destination and know where to find that information to make more cost-effective and smarter decisions. They connect and discover what they want from every booking in a simple way.
The Desire for Local Experiences in an Instant
Both generations increased mobile usage requires the need for a fast, reliable and speedy travel booking process. Both generations want to visit a destination and through meeting local people, and doing local things experience the place in a more authentic way. They want to search for friends on the road, meet new people and have new experiences. This increase in the desire for localized experiences has brought with it many applications and companies, for example HelloScout, which connects travelers to locals to exchange experiences and subsequently allows users to see the location from a locals point of view. New travelers want what they want, when they want it: they want access to all the information at that exact moment.
This is unlike their older counterparts who had to purchase books or wait for them to be published to find out information. Arrivedo also connects travel writers to individuals to create local experiences (they work with locals to write about and discover local experiences). This helps them to discover what they want in a location, what they want to do and gives them access to local recommendations from neighborhood guides of hotels and local hosts.
Centennials aim to achieve a more true to life experience and to share and discover new things and have new experiences, whereas millennials tend to want to have a specific plan and a step by step process that they can share with others or return to at a later date.
Both millennials and centennials are relatively simple to understand if we are open to the idea of new things and technological behavior. Technology is at the forefront of the future; new technology will bring increased simplicity and greater travel experiences. Being open to new technology, learning how to use it and understanding how fast things move along is what both generations are embracing. So let’s stop thinking about their differences, start building new dreams and wait to see what the future of these generations brings to the world.
Travel writer, journalist, editor and blogger. Anny has travelled to 28 countries, worked in Greece, France, America and Colombia. She created her blog Anny’s Adventures to help people discover the beauty of Colombia and other countries around the world.