Millennial travelers are sick of social media influencers

Millennials will visit a destination that has had recent turmoils (terror attack, political or social uprising, natural disasters, etc) – but don’t ask them to share their personal information with you.
PHOTO: REUTERS

Millennial travellers know better than to trust pretty Instagram photos. A recent survey revealed that social media influencers barely have any influence over young holidaygoers' decisions when it comes to travelling.

When asked who has the most influence over their travel planning, millennials ranked celebrities and social media influencers right at the bottom - even lower than brochures!

The Journey Of Me Insights: What Asia Pacific Millennial Travelers Want study by Amadeus revealed that family, friends and travel reviews provide more reliant travel recommendations.

Amadeus general manager (Malaysia) Miro Blazevic said the millennial generation is beginning to grow wary of social media influencers.

"While millennials may still look to influencers to curate trends, ideas and inspiration, I believe they are also becoming more sophisticated in how they evaluate them," he said.

Part of this jadedness is the result of a perceived loss of credibility among influencers.

"With so many influencers becoming brands unto themselves, some of the authenticity that made them so appealing in the first place starts to get lost. 'Real' is more important than 'perfect', and that is an important lesson for the industry to understand," he said.

Prized privacy

The study, conducted across 14 markets in Asia Pacific, also revealed a few other interesting travel patterns.

Millennials will visit a destination that has had recent turmoils (terror attack, political or social uprising, natural disasters, etc) - but don't ask them to share their personal information with you.

The research finds that millennials are less open than older travellers to sharing their personal information with travel providers, in return for more relevant offers or personalised services. This caution may be due to millennials being tech-savvy digital natives, and therefore more likely to be aware of security and privacy issues.

Read also: Millennial travellers: What's trending in 2018

While 68 per cent baby boomers and 66 per cent Generation X travellers say they are open to sharing their information, only 62 per cent of all APAC millennials say likewise.

The research further finds that Taiwanese (76 per cent) and Indonesian (75 per cent) millennials are the most open, while Japanese (33 per cent) and New Zealand millennials (45 per cent) were the least open.

Meanwhile, more than half of Malaysian millennials (54 per cent) are somewhat or very open to sharing personal information - that percentage is lower than Generation X (66 per cent) and baby boomers (56 per cent).

Tech me there

Perhaps not surprising is millennials' openness to technology in satiating their wanderlust. In Malaysia, 34 per cent of millennials say they often use ride-sharing apps when they travel, while 32 per cent say they frequently use sharing economy services for trip accommodation.

The study suggests that travel providers should target millennials' desire for new experiences through technology.

The research found that after recommendations that help them save money (37 per cent), millennials are most interested in recommendations that expose them to new experiences (27 per cent). They are also open to travel providers sending them these recommendations or updates through alternative platforms.

In Malaysia, 42 per cent of millennials say they prefer to be contacted via e-mail, followed by social media (25 per cent). However, in countries like Thailand and Indonesia, social media comes up as the top choice for millennials, chosen by 50 per cent and 34 per cent of them respectively.

Blazevic said the Millennial generation is indeed an extremely interesting generation.

"They grew up with the Internet, and technology is second skin to them. They have an openness to new experiences and a willingness to rattle the status quo.

"They want different experiences in travel, so the industry must serve them differently. Travel providers will need to adopt new technology, new strategies, and above all, new mindsets if they want to secure millennial mind and market share," he concluded.

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