Travel brands often target potential customers via social media advertising.

On the other hand, with 97% of millennials reportedly posting their travel photos on social, an increasing number are banking on customers doing the advertising on their behalf.

Younger generations aren’t just looking for shareable experiences, of course, and with an increasing percentage of ‘Generation Z’ influencing travel decisions, millennials aren’t the only demographic worth engaging.

As brands tap into a desire for authenticity, digital convenience and customisation, here are a few examples of how many are tailoring travel experiences to the young.

Utilising design and technology

While companies like Airbnb have capitalised on millennial travel sensibilities - promoting a sense of local authenticity and flexibility – hotels are beginning to figure out how to do the same.

Aloft, part of the Starwood group, is one example of this. Described as a hotel for ‘global travellers who love open spaces, open thinking and open expression’ – everything is designed to appeal to younger generations. 

Communal pool tables and live music encourage social interaction, while free Wi-Fi and keyless entry cater to a desire for seamless and sophisticated technology. 

In turn, this encourages visitors to take photographs of all their surroundings, with the hope that they will then post about it on social media.

Appealing to ‘experience-based’ interests

Hilton is another hotel chain that has been targeting younger people, partnering with Live Nation to run a series of live music events in various hotels in both the UK and US.

Hilton@Play wasn’t just a marketing ploy, however, but an initiative to foster loyalty. The idea was that only HHonors members with 30,000 to 80,000 points could attend the concerts, creating an exclusive incentive specifically for regular guests.

Featuring popular artists such as Jess Glynne and Nick Jonas, interest from a specific age-bracket was guaranteed.

Meanwhile, the hotel chain also live-streamed the event on Periscope, ensuring that non-attendees would also be able to participate in the fun.

Working with social influencers

When it comes to picking a destination, both millennials and Generation Z are said to place greater trust in online peers rather than travel advertising.

Consequently, brands are able to target potential travellers through collaboration with social influencers.

Just one example of this is Turkish Airlines’ campaign with 10 high-profile YouTubers. With a collective audience of over 40m – over 6m belonging to Casey Neistat alone – the brand was able to reach a large and highly engaged audience.

Similarly, Marriott’s chain of Moxy Hotels (which is a similar concept to the aforementioned Aloft) has also made use of influencers, creating an online series hosted by comedian Taryn Southern and featuring a number of influencers like Mamrie Hart.

Promoting travel as a lifestyle

Lastly, we can also see how travel companies are turning into lifestyle brands, using inspirational content to evoke concepts of exploration and adventure, and capitalising on interest from young travellers.

Take Generator Hostels, for example, whose Instagram account is solely made up of location and experience-based imagery.

There is not a photo of a bed or breakfast table in sight, meaning the company sells itself on the travelling experience above and beyond the actual product (i.e. a place to sleep).

In a twist on this trend, camera brand Leica recently began trying to capitalize on people’s taste for experiences by launching a holiday adventure for photography enthusiasts.

The pricey adventure is limited to 15 participants, offering a chance to be guided around exotic locations by professional photographers. It seems everyone is trying to get in on the craze for unique adventures.

Nikki Gilliland

Published 7 February, 2017 by Nikki Gilliland @ Econsultancy

Nikki is a Writer at Econsultancy. You can follow her on Twitter or connect via LinkedIn.

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