BY JESS OOSTHUYSE
With free travel sites coming under fire for fake news, respected travel outlets need to cater for a Millennial market more than ever.
Millennials – those between the ages of 18 and 30 – are transforming international travel, ditching the nine-to-five grind in favour of meaningful, self-enriching experiences. They’re also big players in the travel market, constituting up to 20% of all international tourists and generating over $180 billion in tourism revenue every year.
Veteran travel writers should be jumping up and down at the prospect of an uncapped audience and new explorative angles. Instead, they’re still cowering at not-so-new concepts like digital transformation and moping about competition caused by self-proclaimed travel bloggers and Insta influencers.
While some journalists might believe that travel writing it dead, it is obvious that the need for respected travel content is more prevalent than ever.
Writers just need to understand the needs of the Millennial market.
Millennials don’t trust free travel content
Social media might serve to inspire, but it lacks the credible backbone of a professional outlet.
You may have heard about Oobah Butler’s fake eatery becoming London’s top rated restaurant on Tripadvisor, or Instagram influencer Gabie Hannah photoshopping her way into the Coachella Music Festival, highlighting social media’s fragile boundary between fiction and reality.
Millennials might be inspired by Instagram, but they turn to trustworthy content to plan their itineraries.
Cater for this by ensuring your angles are relevant and practical for a Millennial readership. Diversify your content to include narration, high quality photographs and video, ‘off the beaten track’ attractions, and travel tips and tools.
Millennials want to ‘slip into the lives of the locals’ when they travel. Your content should give them the power to do so.
Be responsible and socially engaged
Millennials care about honesty, sustainability and social responsibility, and are more likely to opt for travel options that are tailored to these cultural interests.
“Since the early days, our focus has shifted,” says Justin Fox, editor of the Getaway magazine. “Much of the beauty we’ve encountered is threatened by the multi-pronged assault of commercialisation… and we’ve come to learn that we must be agents of change.”
Take a look at your content with a critical eye. Support sustainable travel, go local, be authentic, and educate both yourself and your readers about the need to save and preserve.
But be careful not to box your readers in with solutions; rather broaden their possibilities for discovery.
Never underestimate a millennial’s intelligence (or attention span)
Contrary to popular belief, Millennials are more bookish than their baby booming counter parts, and enjoy a cleverly written article over the cringy misuse of modern slang. Even more concerning is the misconception that Millennials have short attention spans. According to research, the ability to maintain focus has actually improved over time, particularly in younger generations.
Don’t dumb down your content as a means of connecting with millennials. Write that beautifully crafted prose about that far-flung corner of the world. Millennials will appreciate you all the more for it.
It’s time travel writers capitalise on the needs of the Millennial. They are no longer the audience of tomorrow. They are the audience of today.
About the Author
Jess Oosthuyse is a full-time content developer, part-time journalist and all-the-time millennial. She is technically savvy, obsessed with Game of Thrones and relies on YouTube tutorials to solve life’s problems. But she also reads a ton, listens to Neil Young and drives a manual car. Find her on Instagram @Its.__Jess