Catering To Millennial And Gen Z Travelers With Digital Innovation

online travel booking

Consumers have always wanted to explore and see the world, but they have had a constant need for comfortable transportation as well as accommodations. However, the methods that explorers use to discover, reserve and pay for their lodging and transportation has evolved over time.

Travel services have to meet the unique payment needs of four different generations of guests, according to the latest PYMNTS Commerce Connected Playbook. Millennials, in one case, comprise 20 percent of travelers around the world, and they especially like mobile apps that make it more seamless to book and pay for travel.

From Domio to Splitty Travel, hospitality providers and online booking services are working to meet the needs of millennial and Gen Z consumers. These are just a few ways that these innovators, among others, are catering to the booking and payment preferences of these guests.

The amount domestic and international leisure travelers spent in 2018 was $762 billion. And travel innovators are working to meet the accommodation needs of millennial leisure travelers, among other guests. Domio, in one case, offers a technology platform focused on servicing apartment hotel accommodations to millennials, group travelers and families. The firm recently notched $100 million in funding to expand both domestically and internationally per a report in December. Domio was to reportedly use the infusion — a combination of $50 million in debt and $50 million in equity — to expand to markets targeting an underserved audience of millennials and families as well as business teams. As of the report, the company was in 12 markets.

The share of Generation X travelers who cite cost effectiveness as their most important travel priority is 80 percent. At the same time, innovative travel platforms are providing travelers with less expensive and more flexible booking options by taking new approaches to hotel reservations. Splitty Travel, for example, allows consumers to combine two rate plans to create one itinerary for their stays. The technology could let travelers save money on their excursions, but the platform isn’t all about the cost savings. The company, for instance, enables splitting and matching between meal plans in addition to cancellation policies. In a prior PYMNTS interview, Co-Founder and CEO Eran Shust said the aim is to bring more options to the table and enable travelers to “choose something not out of the specific package[s] that most of the OTAs [online travel agencies] are offering.”

The portion of U.S. millennials who pay for hotels with debit cards or cash is 59 percent. And financial innovators are rolling out multicurrency debit cards. News surfaced last summer that TransferWise had rolled out a Mastercard debit card along with an accompanying TransferWise Borderless multicurrency account.  The card is said to work without balance limits in over 40 currencies and its conversion fees are said to be in line with current exchange rates. CEO Kristo Käärmann said, according to reports, “Our goal is to offer bank details for every country in the world through one account — the world’s first global account — and we’re starting with five of the world’s top currencies. The 40-currency debit card completes the package, so we’re excited to be releasing the card in the U.S.”

The number of international trips made by Chinese travelers in 2018 was 149.7 million. And travel innovators are enabling international payment options to serve them. Travelzoo, in one case, announced last year that it had made a partnership with UnionPay International to enable a direct-payment experience for members in China. UnionPay, whose network reaches 174 countries and regions, is a global card company and has issued in the neighborhood of 7 billion cards. Members can now pay directly with their UnionPay cards, and Travelzoo perks, such as Getaway Offers and Local Deals, will also be accessible to UnionPay users in China per news at the time. In addition, each time that UnionPay cardholders make a purchase with their cards, they will receive a recommended Travelzoo deal.

The projected share of millennial spend in the personal travel luxury market by 2025 is projected to be 50 percent. At the same time, millennials are far more interested in experiences than buying things — and marketplaces are stepping in to meet that need. IfOnly, in one case, offers a listing of thousands of bookable experiences for its adventuresome users in cities throughout the country. Less expensive options include dinners custom-paired with wine by course, hiking excursions and walking tours. More exotic experiences reportedly include walking the red carpet with Chris Helmsworth and a meet and greet with KISS on their latest farewell tour. The price tag increases with the more genuinely the once-in-a-lifetime experience gets. Still, the user receives the same ease of use and white-gloved experiences in making that purchase no matter what level of package he or she reserves.

From IfOnly to Domio, booking websites and hospitality companies are driving booking innovations that might appeal to millennials as well as Gen Z travelers. And, with mobile wallets expected to represent a sizeable 21 percent share of all global payments by 2021, hospitality services are also looking to support these mobile wallets on their platforms.