Dear Travel Industry, Be More Authentic, Sincerely, A Millennial Traveler
Jul 13, 2018 - 3 min read
Dear Travel and Hospitality Industry People,
I am a Millennial, and speaking on behalf of a majority of Millennials, I have something to say. In a world filled with Photoshop airbrushing and Instagram filters, something we are all craving for is a bit of authenticity. This is true in everything we consume, but particularly when it comes to travel. We want authenticity when looking through websites when trying to pick and choose our tours and travel destinations. We want authentic food, authentic tour guides, and authentic experiences. We want to feel what it’s really like, not the gimmicky tourist, hand-holding track, but the raw, authentic and local feel.
So what is it that you need to do in order to win us over? Two words: Be Authentic. We don’t want your stock images scraped off the interwebs. We don’t want generic information that we can find on Wikipedia on our own (thanks). We like to see what a place is like, REALLY. My favorite types of no-nonsense images are 360 photos or videos. They don’t lie. They aren’t painstakingly edited to flawless perfection. They show me what’s really there. We like the stories behind the photos too. I mean, looking at a place is great and all, but it’s so much more meaningful when we know the stories, real-life stories, that breathe life into the place. That’s why I like websites like 360Stories, where I get authentic images, videos and stories all in one place.
Here’s another tip. Do you know who influences us the most? Our friends! Surprised? You shouldn’t be. The studies are there, 57% of us make travel plans based on photo or video we saw a friend of ours post on social media. I mean sure, celebrities are interesting and all, but I’m more likely to trust my friend’s experiences than someone I don’t know. Besides, when I travel, I not only like to share my experiences on social media, but I recommend what I really liked to my friends. They scratch my back, I scratch theirs, we scratch yours.
I don’t want to be a tourist, I want to be a traveler. I want to experience life like a local, wherever I go. Local lifestyles, local customs, local culture, local history. I want to get a real sense of what the place is like, not the superficial touristic activities. I want to dig deeper, participate in traditional festivals, learn traditional dances, cook traditional food using local ingredients. I want to do all of this with a local by my side guiding me and telling me what is normal.
So please, if you are a Tourist Agent, an Attractions Operations Manager, or a Director of Sales and Marketing... Don’t give me brochures. Don’t give me Disneyland smiles. Give me connections with local people. Find those genuine and authentic stories. Hook me up with a traditional experience really gives me an idea of what it’s like to LIVE there. Do this, and I’ll be your most loyal customer.
The Traveling Millennial