Millennials, also referred to as Generation Y, encompassed 73m individuals in the United States in 2017. Further, China’s millennial generation in itself, for example, is bigger than the whole population of the USA. A quarter of the world’s population are millennials. With immense size comes big purchasing power.
But who are millennials? Generation Y describes individuals who were born between 1980 and 1995. The term is often used to define a consumer group with certain habits and preferences. While of course individual consumer behaviours can differ greatly, certain overarching trends can certainly be observed.
Millennials are known for their insatiable thirst for travel and unique experiences. Gone are the heydays for resorts and hotels with copy-and-paste rooms and offerings. Statistics and studies agree that Generation Y has taken a particular liking to Airbnb versus hotels. In 2017, for instance, 36% of American and Europeans who used Airbnb for accommodation were between 25 and 34 years old. The second largest group (23%) were between 35 and 44 years old.
Moreover, millennial travellers are budget-conscious. Vacation rentals offer more value for money in terms of space. Additionally, most rentals are equipped with kitchens making it possible to cook and safe money.
Ultimately, millennials are the consumer group you need to cater for if you want to grow your vacation rental business and successfully attract bookings.
Therefore, it is important to consider what millennials specifically are looking for in short-term rentals and vacation homes. A multitude of studies have investigated the preferences of Generation Y. This helps us to draw below conclusions about what millennials are looking for in vacation rentals.
Positive Online Reputation
Former guests recommending you to friends and family can be an influential offline marketing tool for your vacation rental. Online word-of mouth and your reviews and can be equally powerful. A study of 2,000 British millennials has found that 80% will make a purchasing decision after consulting online reviews first.
Every Airbnb host, of course, strives for positive reviews – by doing their utmost best to provide an enjoyable experience. But are you doing enough to encourage your guests to leave reviews? Most customers will automatically receive a prompt to leave a review from the page they have booked their accommodation with. However, you might still prompt them with a private message or email that you would very much appreciate their feedback. Furthermore, consider looking out for reviews of your business on TripAdvisor or Google. Sometimes guests might have left a review on there. Or they might have created a page for your vacation rental without you even knowing.
Millennials are known to spend a lot of time researching their choices – from what restaurant to go to which accommodation to book for the next family holiday. Hence, they will definitely consult multiple sources of information online. This means they will most likely discover all that is out there about you online as well.
Well-curated Social Media Presence
Besides encouraging and monitoring your online reviews, you also need to take care of your vacation rental’s social media presence. The majority of millennials will take these into account before making a decision. You do not need to have accounts on all channels, but maintain the social media accounts that you have well. Update them regularly, use good quality pictures and provide info valuable to your guests.
Studying millennial purchasing behaviour further, you will find that Generation Y is interested in supporting sustainable organisations that do good for the environment and their communities. They will even pay more for products that support causes they believe in. If you as a vacation rental host employ sustainable practises, advertise these activities on your booking channels. Sustainable practices mean operating in a way that benefits the planet, people while still resulting in profit for you. Do you recycle, support community courses, or use renewable energy? Let potential guests know!
Most vacation rentals will have free WiFi, but do you offer fast WiFi? Millennials are the generation with the most screen time – i.e. the length of time they look at their phones. When staying in a vacation home, millennials will use their smartphones – for example, to research what to do and see, stay in touch with people back home, update their social media and consume online entertainment. Your internet connection needs to support these activities for multiple devices – for example, two people watching Netflix in HD. However, how fast is fast bandwidth? Most sources recommend 25Mbps to ensure fast internet speeds. Ookla provides a reliable speedtest.
Also, speeds can vary largely depending in where the device is in relation to the WiFi router. So when you test upload and download speeds, try it in different locations in your vacation rental.
Safety and Security
Compared to baby boomers, millennials are more concerned about safety and security when travelling. Especially millennial families with children are cautious about selecting destinations which are safe. Another 2017 study found that 29% of millennials have cancelled a trip over security concerns before, compared to only 12 percent of baby boomers. These findings strongly suggest that Generation Y prefers holiday accommodation which is safe and secure as well. Therefore, set up your short-term rental with safety and security in mind – the CertiStay blog offers some great advice. Then tell potential guests about it in great detail on your listings. Pool gates, balcony sensors, extra locks and CO detectors, for example, are all precautions which are worth mentioning on your booking pages.
Further demonstrate to potential guests that your short-term rental is safe and secure by getting it CertiStay certified. How does it work? Read more.