The travel space in India is witnessing an unprecedented rise of millennials travellers who self-manage their travel research and tailor-make their bookings, rather than rely on the limited range of options provided by restricted tour package providers. A new travel trend has also emerged, called 'B-leisure' or 'Bizcation' which combines business and leisure trip.
According to a report by Expedia, millennials were estimated to spend approximately 35 days a year on travel, whether it be leisure or business.
Living by the mantra of "YOLO" - you only live once, and inspired heavily by social media, millennial travellers are driven by unique travel experiences.
Experiences are the mantra of young India and so instead of sightseeing coach tours, millennials demand different, unique experiences like hiking in Sicily's famous Mt. Etna in Italy, bungee jumping off South Africa's Bloukrans Bridge, island to island zipline on Malaysia's Coral Flyer, rides on the Skyline Luge in Sentosa, non-standard stay experiences such as igloo stays in Finland or Bubble Stays in Khao Yai, Thailand; K-cooking experience in South Korea, anime culture tours in Japan among others.
Thomas Cook India has witnessed a growth in demand of over 50 per cent among India's millennials opting for experiential holidays, reveals Rajeev Kale, President & Country Head - Holidays, MICE, Visa, Thomas Cook (India) Ltd.
Millennials footfall in cruising also saw an increase. The year 2019 saw 86 per cent rise in millennial cruising against 2018. The trend is only going to grow in the future, says Varun Chadha, CEO, TIRUN (Indian representative of Royal Caribbean Cruises).
For work weary millennials and young working professionals, the trend of biz-cations is catching on as they extend an official trip by a few days to explore a destination. In 2018, almost 72 per cent Indians extended their business trips, informs Jaal Shah, Managing Director, Travel Designer Group.
Limited/zero mobile network experiences or digital detox holidays are also popular with experiences such as scuba diving in Andamans and trekking in the Himalayas serving as attractive options.
Even food tours that provide a detailed perspective on a destination's food culture or for adventure tourism that gives one the adrenaline rush, the uptake is skewed towards the less than 30-year age group, say Ashish Dhruva, Vice President, Cleartrip.
Millennials and the GenZ, are known for their desire for travel and so today for the entire travel industry, it has become essential to respond to the wishes of this young savvy traveller, says Nalini Gupta, Managing Director Lotus Destinations, Representative Costa Cruise India.
"Cruises which used to be a preserve for retirees is today becoming an important bucket list travel item, for even the younger audience.
Millennials enjoy the cruise experience, as they get to explore multiple destinations, its hassle free, great value for money and more than anything there is always something new to see or do."
About 60 per cent of young millennials between the age group 19-34, consider business travel an indicator of professional growth and as a status symbol. On an average, the number of days spent on a business trip has also increased due to the younger generations combining their work lives with leisure, says Rakshit Desai - Managing Director, FCM Travel Solutions, Indian Subsidiary of Flight Centre Travel Group.
A recent survey showed that more millennials in India want to take conscious, 'lower-carbon-footprint' holidays than Gen Z travellers. Right from discovery, payments and mobile to stay, adventure, excursion, culinary, rejuvenation, health, well-being and design experiences, this tech and travel savvy millennial generation is infusing a new life and vibrancy to business and leisure travel.
According to a recent report by SOTC, 86 percent of Gen Y Indian travellers' value personalization, flexibility and customization.
"Owing to the enormous requirements from this new age consumer, the travel ecosystem demands for extremely agile and seamless approach," says Shah who launched Affiliate.Travel during the recently-held travel event SATTE.