fvw Kongress

Millennials want individual travel experiences, not package holidays

Karlheinz Kögel discusses travel market trends with fvw’s Klaus Hildebrandt
Christian Wyrwa
Karlheinz Kögel discusses travel market trends with fvw’s Klaus Hildebrandt

The travel industry needs to offer millennials an individual travel experience with better marketing instead of old-fashioned package holidays, two top managers said at last week’s fvw Kongress.

The organised travel industry has to change its marketing if it wants to win younger customers, according to Karlheinz Kögel, owner of dynamic packaging and ‘white label holidays’ specialist HLX Touristik. “Perhaps we should start saying farewell to the dust-covered term ‘package holiday’,” the experienced tourism entrepreneur told a packed audience of German tourism managers.

But package holidays as a business model still have a future for tour operators and travel agents, he stressed. “After all, a package trip ensures a sufficient margin, because the flight price, for example, can be hidden within the package.” If the travel industry only sold individual products such as flights and hotel accommodation separately, the price pressure would be too high due to their direct comparability, he explained.

Marketing is the key to reaching the younger generation, Kögel underlined. “We have to keep finding new ways to reach people with different interests and emotions.” Technology could be used better to create and promote individual offers, for example with personal messages or video clips.

His comments were reinforced by the findings of an in-depth study on millennials presented by Georg Ziegler, Holidaycheck’s director of brand, content & community. This generation of young adults wants to organise its own travel, visit new destinations for authentic experiences, discover and learn rather than just go on holiday, he said.

In contrast, they view ‘package holidays’ as old-fashioned and inflexible trips, with accommodation in large hotels and lacking privacy, according to the Holidaycheck study. “They see package holidays as a kind of ‘kindergarten for adults’,” Ziegler commented.

The travel industry should therefore offer different kinds of holidays for millennials with a ‘less is more’ approach, he urged. These should include accommodation in smaller hotels, more local experiences, and more flexibility. For example, offers could centre on ‘Beach & More’ holidays, city trips with plenty of extras, and tours with a range of different activities, he suggested.