Comment: Transformational travel? It’s the new buzzword

Comment: Transformational travel? It’s the new buzzword

Millennials are at forefront of this emerging holiday experience, says Sharon Munro, chief executive of Barrhead Travel

There has been much written about the millennial generation and their quest for transformational travel. Indeed, transformational travel appears to be the new buzzword, replacing experiential travel. We are also told that this sector is the most important consumer generation for the travel industry.

I would agree that they are an important sector for many reasons, but in a retailing environment, while transformational travel is still in its infancy, it deserves a closer look.

It is true that many people in their 20s and 30s do have a different outlook on life compared with the generations before them. They want more than a simple visit to a new destination or days spent on a beach.

The travel they’re seeking is an experience of the world that goes deep – one that changes them in ways they may not even be aware of. They are known for placing a high value on being unique, and a major part of that is growing their identity through culturally-rich experiences and exploration of the unknown – both of which travel provides in full. This means millennials’ travel experiences aren’t the same as those of their predecessors, but involve more adventure and the desire for more customisation.

Millennials have money

And transformational travel does not come cheap. But then, who said millennials cannot afford to spend money on travel? Indeed, one of the growth sectors we have observed is the rise in private tailor-made adventure tours – and the main participants are millennials. So, lesson number one is to banish the preconceived notion that millennials do not have money.

Once we accept that they not only have money but are also demanding fabulous private tailor-made itineraries that can be transformational, then they become an interesting target market. For an experienced travel consultant specialising in tailor-made itineraries, putting together this sort of tour is an exciting challenge.

Time to brush up

We have noticed an increase in these types of tours being booked through our homeworkers. Many connect with high-net-worth individuals and these customers can, in fact, be millennials. These customers are not just demanding a concierge-style service, but needing help to fulfil their travel aspirations in 
all respects.

Many of our consultants and homeworkers came into the industry because they love travel and travelling. The lure of exciting travel experiences, whether creating them for their customers or doing it themselves, is what makes them tick.

While putting together private tailor-made travel experiences for monied millennials is indeed already happening today, it is also an exciting and motivating challenge for a consultant to brush up on their product knowledge of destinations and authentic experiences that can be truly transformational for customers.

So, I am watching the millennial market with piqued interest. When transformational travel develops from infancy to maturity, it will be the most exciting and rewarding sector to be in.

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