Kenyan Millennials and Their Travel Preferences  8th Aug 2018

One of the elements used in identifying the behaviours and characteristics of travellers is by looking at their generation.

Travel agents need to fully understand changes in demographics in order to target consumers effectively, since the millennials cannot be ignored as they are becoming increasingly dominant.

A study recently done by Ms. Isabelle Wasike, Strathmore University identifies needs and tastes of the millennials, evaluates the millennials changing behaviour and expectations and determines the travel products and services preferred by them.

Pew Research Center considers millennials the generation born between 1981 and 1996 (avg age 21 to 37yrs). They’re highly educated -- almost 50 percent have either attended or are currently attending a higher-education institution. Millennials are also an extremely tech-savvy generation, having grown up during the advent of household computers and the internet.

The respondents were asked to mention what drives them in choosing an agency for travel purposes. The findings showed that 63% are driven by quality products, 29.6% good prices and 7.4% established long term relationship with the company.

The Millennials like to consume unique products. Also known as generation Y, they desire distinctive brands with traits of their own. According to M. Levasseur, this generation has distinct travel needs. It is important for travel suppliers to understand that they cannot be able to meet the demands of the millennials effectively when they are still offering the same products.

The millennials have grown up with digital technologies and the Internet as well as the ability to use and understand the “digital language.” which means they are heavily influenced by technology and the internet.

Patrick Kamanga Managing Director of Deans Travel Center Ltd, Mombasa says this generation are a fascination. One they always are so tech savvy that they are one step ahead of Travel agents If they opt to use your services, they already have done their homework and have all details on finger tips.

Marco Nijhof, CEO of Yoo Hotels & Resorts, stated that “In our hotel rooms there are no desks because the millennial sits on their bum, they have a laptop on their knees.” This shows that the need of connectivity is higher among the millennials as compared to a desk. The millennials have integrated the internet into their entertainment and leisure activities, and they go to the internet first for all their information needs.

Millennials are known to be adventurous, have a fondness of enjoying the moment and quoting “YOLO.” whether it is breaking bread with a local or hiking up a mountain, adventure travel fits that need of the millennials splendidly. Millennials are adventurous and increasingly seek overseas travel experiences. According to AARP Research Center millennials are more likely than other generations to be driven by the desire to “go on an adventure.” This indicates that they will generally be motivated by thrill seeking activities.

With regards to online travel purchases, the study found that 55.4% of the respondents prefer to make their travel bookings through Online Travel Agencies (OTAs), 33.9% would prefer to use both the OTAs and the traditional walk in agencies and 10.7% prefer to only use a traditional walk in agency.

The travel professionals should ensure that they engage in constant product development, make sure that they have Wi-Fi connectivity, engage in price revision, offer discounts and deals, sell their products as packages, update their websites accordingly, use online social media platforms as a marketing tool, allow local people to showcase traditional and or cultural crafts to their clients, and move towards being eco-friendly.

In conclusion, if this generation continues this way even the next will and the travel agency will be side stepped. Mr. Kamanga advises, “It’s up to us as Travel Agents to up our game by introducing online sales, apps etc. that can catch this group.” Travel agents looking to accelerate their client testimonials to reach new clients and encourage more bookings through their agencies may want to develop a strategy to engage their millennial customers through social media, apps and other tech channels.

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