The Millennials Are Coming - Are You Ready?

by Ming Tappin

Thanks to high speed service, Millennials who love their selfies have a way to share them quickly while cruising.

Millennials like to travel and have fun together.

Multi generational families traveling together introduce cruising to the next generation sooner.

Inclusive of meals, accommodations and activities, cruising appeals to the young generation. 

According to Wikipedia, there are no precise dates when the Millennial generation starts and ends but they’re generally defined as having been born between the early ‘80s and the early ‘00s. Also referred to as Generation Y, this group of up-and-comers currently represent about 9 million of Canadians. Not since the Baby Boomers has there been such a large percentage of consumers out there spending money on everything, including travel. Is your agency ready to capture this market?

Thankfully, one trend in cruising is the proliferation of group and multi-generational trips. With affluent Boomer grandparents buying trips for their kids and grand kids, and weddings at sea becoming popular, Millennials are exposed to cruising earlier than they might otherwise be, if at all. Let’s hope that once they get a taste of cruising, they’ll continue to choose this form of vacation.

Cruise lines certainly share the same mentality, by building new ships that wow, offering shorter itineraries with all-inclusive options and providing accelerated connectivity. In addition to who's got the most diverse bars, restaurants and onboard activities, the battle also rages for the fastest internet and broadest bandwidth at sea - something Millennials view as indispensable.

Another attribute of Millennials is social awareness and their desire to give back to the environment and communities, including the ones they visit while travelling. Hence the development of specialized shore excursions, and companies like Canrival's fathom brand - weaving voluntourism and social economic immersion into their itineraries. Surely more cruise lines will follow suit to provide these experiences to attract the next generation.

As Millennials value their hard earned CAD, cruising is the perfect choice; and with the myriad of perks and price points available, it satisfies every income level while offering extraordinary experiences to young and impressionable minds. I think back to my 1 st cruise and remember how amazed I was to be served multi-course meals on sparkling place settings and attentive staff waiting on me hand and foot. Millennials are also more likely to travel in groups and are easily influenced by their peers - another opportunity to generate more income for you.

So as an agency, what can you do to go after this demographic? One of the best ways is to include Millennials on staff. The immediate benefit is that they can help with social media, but more importantly, Millennials can provide agency owners valuable insight into their mentality and buying patterns. Understanding what makes Millennials tick and how to market to those needs will be the key to your success.

Travel school students needing practicum experience, your young nieces or nephews looking for after school work or high school kids looking for extra income are good candidates. Employ them as your Social Media Specialist and engage them to spread the word about cruising.

Keeping abreast of the latest research and staying on top of Millennial lifestyle trends is also important. Statistical and analytical reports are constantly being published by reliable media sources on marketing strategies and retail tips and techniques that can guide you in the right direction.

Millennials may appear to be a different breed, but like all consumers, once you understand their needs and offer them the right product, you will get them onboard (literally) and hopefully cruising will go viral!

Ming Tappin is a cruise veteran with over 20 years’ experience in the industry and has sailed on 36 cruises and counting. Based in Vancouver, Ming is Owner of Your Cruise Coach Consulting.

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