Back in the nineties we had a family friend who was a travel agent with her own agency. At the time, her business was thriving and she took care of planning all aspects of a trip for her customers. I remember her coming back from lengthy vacations, on average once a year, from far flung and exotic destinations. But then along came the internet and travel agencies were on the front line of an internet assault.
Of course, no one can say this was a bad thing since everyone suddenly had access to a travel market that was previously exclusive. We had at our fingertips, the power to search for destinations, flights, and hotels. Travel planners and agencies went out of business and had to find other sources of work – like our family friend did at the time.
Because of work and work-balance lifestyles, Millennials prefer to take a series of mini-vacations, dubbed “Micro-cations”. The definition of a “Micro-cation” is a luxury style trip that is shorter than five days in length. When you compare this to the traditional way of vacationing among our parent’s generation (taking a week or two off once a year) the trend becomes clear. More than half of all Americans choose this kind of travel with 75% of Millennials practicing the “Micro-cation” way of life.
So what are the benefits of taking a “Micro-cation”? More frequent travel without with less worry about too much work piling up – an anxiety inducing thought – is a good place to start. Travel to a faraway destination might not be possible with Micro-cations, but that doesn’t mean you will enjoy it any less. Economically speaking, this could be a boon for domestic locations.
For many Millennials, a lot of it boils down to the fact that it’s easier to organize; taking a day or two off of work and coupled with a weekend is easier than weeks. And then there are those who say they get bored on longer trips (I’ll stay mum on this). Most importantly however, it’s about the finances and finding travel buddies for shorter periods of time.
Something to ponder though is that even though Millennials are less likely to take a vacation in the first place, they prioritize travel over any other age group – with one caveat – they want help planning their trips. Among Millennials, 40 percent say they’re willing to dish out extra dollars in order to avoid research, and 38 would rather pay someone, like a travel agent, to do all the footwork for them. I’ve heard first-hand Millennial friends saying this out loud.
Of course, there are drawbacks to this style of travel as it doesn’t really allow one to immerse themselves in a different culture or mind-set. To truly experience a place, it’s a good idea to give yourself ten days to two-weeks to uncouple your mind from thoughts of home. Seasoned travelers will tell you that in order to completely relax and unhinge yourself you need more time away.
But, apparently, everything is cyclical because it seems like we’re back to square one; If only that family friend from the nineties could have stuck it out for the last twenty-five years, it seems that Millennials might bring back a new golden era for travel and tour operators.