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Millennials are All About Relationships.

Ethnically and racially diverse, and many from non-traditional families, they are indeed family oriented. In fact, over 42% of Millennials nationwide who have visited attractions in the past three years have children in their households. Millennials are also more likely to travel with friends or to places friends have visited. The female heads of household are clearly the decision makers, more so than in other age groups. They are well traveled, sophisticated, self-aware, and seek places with play areas for the kids.

Perhaps most importantly, Millennials are highly influenced by friends and family in selecting places to visit. Two-thirds of them will visit places recommended by family and friends – significantly more than their older counterparts. Using social media, this recommendation often comes in the form of real-time descriptions of the experience.

Implication: Destinations need to accommodate Millenials’ need to broadcast their experiences – don’t ignore the digital networks!

Millennials Enjoy Traveling with Friends

Nearly six in ten Millennials (58%) say they enjoy traveling for leisure with their friends–nearly 20 points higher than older generations.

70% Don’t

typically travel with friends 41.9%


traveling with friends 58.1%

0% 10% 20% 30% 40% 50% 60%


Enjoy Traveling for Leisure w/ Friends 58.1%



30+ Years

Having a story to tell is important! Millennials stay in constant communication, and the need to share amusing and enlightening tidbits is paramount to their social currency.

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An Appetite for Learning.

Millennials know a lot. According to the Pew Study, Millennials are more highly educated than other generations at comparable ages. More than half of them (54%) have at least some college education during the ages 18-28, as compared to 49% of Gen Xers and 36% of Baby Boomers. Their knowledge ties to an expectation for real and authentic experiences. In 2009, PGAV Destinations explored the “Authenticity Opportunity,” finding that 80% of attractions visitors like to visit places that feature authentic elements. While authenticity was defined in different ways, the theme was for attractions to offer less commercialism and more personally meaningful experiences.

78% of Millennials stated a strong preference for learning something new when they travel. However, they also showed a keen sense for the types of learning experiences they wish to have. Millennials’ stated clear preferences for experiences that are fun and entertaining (78%), immersive (70%), and interactive and hands-on (68%). And in all of these categories, they showed a markedly stronger preference than their older counterparts.

Implication: Not surprisingly, this diverse group wants to learn something new and exhibits a variety of learning styles. Passive experiences will not appeal to Millennials. Use immersive, interactive and entertaining tactics.

Meet the Millennials: Insights for Destinations

Every generation experiences the world in a different way, developing attributes that uniquely reflect who they are. The group aged 18 to 29, grew into adulthood at the beginning of a new millennium. Impacted by significant global trends including the explosion of technology, this group has three distinguishing features:

Millennials are the most diverse generation ever born in the United States; they are becoming the most educated generation in American history;

and they are easily the most connected generation of all time. (Pew Research Center, “Millennials – A Portrait of Generation Next,” February 2010)

I Like to Learn Something New When I Travel

Nearly four in five Millennials (78%) say they are interested in learning something new when they travel. Based upon their ratings, their interest in learning something new is stronger than that of other generations.

Interested 78.0%


Interested 3.1%

Neutral 18.9%

4.0 4.1 4.2

3.3 3.4 3.5 3.6 3.7 3.8 3.9

Millennials 30+ Years

Like to Learn Something New 4.11


For Millennials, learning is not a passive activity – it is participatory, immersive, and fun. Anything short of this is simply not relevant.

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Millennials provide the perfect challenge for a PGAV Destinations research project–to gain insights into what makes these travelers tick. A nationwide online survey was launched to compare a Millennial sample group with attractions visitors aged 30 and over. This study, jointly commissioned by Delaware North Companies Parks and Resorts and PGAV Destinations, was performed by Jerry Henry and Associates. Drawing 771 respondents from across the United States, the study has a margin of error of +/- 3% and a 95% confidence interval.

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To download a PDF of PGAV Destinations’ nationwide study on the Next Great Travel Generation with additional charts and information, visit our website at

Appealing for Special Place to Offer Volunteering Opportunities

Nearly half of Millennials also say it is appealing to them when special places offer volunteering opportunities–another issue more important to them than those 30+.

Appealing 45.6%


Appealing 12.2%

Neutral 42.3%

2.80 2.90 3.00 3.10 3.20 3.30 3.40 3.50 3.60

Appeal of Offering Volunteer Ops 3.48



30+ Years

© 2011 PGAV Destinations. All rights reserved.

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Interactive, Hands-On Elements Millennials are Savvy.

Their use of technology dominates everything. Cell phones function as appendages, and Millennials’ ability with the Internet is only exceeded by their texting dexterity. According to the Pew Study, 83% of them sleep with their cell phones! In general, they make quicker travel decisions with a shorter planning cycle. Always online for information, they search for a deal, read the reviews, book it and go. The average amount of time it took to plan their last trip was only 75 days; that’s about 20% less than the amount of time it took the older generations to plan trips.

In constant contact with family and friends, Millennials are on a quest for fun and interesting things to report about their experiences. Tidbits are ideal for a flow of Tweets or Texts, and once back home, they quickly post favorite photos on their Facebook page.

Implication: Take a look at your messaging to insure it is easy to follow, timely and relevant. Be innovative in creating those memorable moments, which you can bet will be shared. Be Cutting Edge.

Fun and Entertaining Planning Time Required

Millennials plan trips in far less time (75 days) than older generations (93 days).

Fun and Entertaining are a central theme among Millennials perceptions of special places. Overall, they rate the appeal of fun/entertaining at 4.21, much higher than their older counterparts.

Interested 81.5%


Interested 2.3%

Neutral 16.2%

4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3

3.3 3.4 3.5 3.6 3.7 3.8 3.9

Millennials 30% 28.1%

0% 5% 10% 15% 20% 25%

Immersive Experiences 19.4% 17.3% 13.1% 10.3% 8.5% 4.0%

Less than 1 week

1 week 2 weeks weeks 3-4 months Millennials • 3 • 1-2 months 3-4 months Older Generations 5-6

Over 6 months

Millennials • 6 • 8.8% 6.7%

6.2 5.5% %

Interested 69.5%

13.7 12.6% %

14.0 13.4% %


Seven in ten Millennials say they expect Special Places to offer immersive experiences. They rate the appeal of immersive experiences at 3.95 compared to 3.58 from older generations.


Interested 2.7%


Neutral 27.8%

3.3 3.4 3.5 3.6 3.7 3.8 3.9


Immersive Experiences 3.95

Millennials 30+ Years

Fun and Entertaining 4.21


More than two-thirds (68%) of Millennials say they find interactive, hands-on elements appealing. Overall they rate the appeal of interactivity at a 3.90 compared to a 3.70 rating among those 30+.

Interested 67.9%


Interested 3.7%


Neutral 28.4%

3.3 3.4 3.5 3.6 3.7 3.8 3.9

Interactive, Hands-On Appeal 3.90



30+ Years


30+ Years

Millennials are Good Citizens.

Involved and volunteering in their communities, Millennials exhibit a genuine concern for people and the environment. As gleaned from the 2009 PGAV Destinations survey “Survival of the Greenest,” this age group is single-handedly fueling the Green trend. Millennials care about environmental issues, expecting attractions to demonstrate a commitment to sustainable practices.

Millennials represent a significant societal change in the desire of travelers to incorporate volunteerism and sustainable practices in destinations.

Implication: Millennials are not your traditional guests. They do not take leisure trips “just because,” but are looking for something that resonates with their need to make a difference.

Believe It Is Essential to Connect wtih Causes

Over three-quarters (77%) of Millennials say they believe it is essential to connect to causes that are important to them, a trait more important to them than it is to older generations.

Interested 77.0%


Interested 3.1%

Neutral 19.9%

3.85 3.90 3.95 4.00 4.05 4.10 4.15

Essential to Connect w/ Important Causes 4.10



30+ Years

Appealing for Special Place to Pursue Sustainable Practices

Nearly half of Millennials say it is appealing to them when special places engage in sustainable practices. Overall, they rate this practice as being much more appealing than those older.

Appealing 48.2%

Online Sources Most Frequently Used to Plan Visits to Special Places

It is interesting though that significantly more visit online travel agencies than who go directly to the website of the special place.


Appealing 10.5%

Neutral 41.4%

3.00 3.10 3.20 3.30 3.40 3.50 3.60

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Appeal of Sustainable Practices 3.51



30+ Years

Online travel agency, e.g. Orbitz, Expedia or Priceline

Visit the special place’s website

Visit the websites of local hotels and attractions in the area

Read blogs or opinions of other travelers who have visited before

Collect opinions/advice from friends online

Visit the website of a local Convention & Visitors Bureau

4.6% 10.2% 0.6% 6.1% 8.0% 3.2% 0% 5% 10% 15% Millennials 20% 25% 30% 35% Older Generations 40% 45% 50% 13.1% 10.2%

22.9% 39.1% 46.9% 26.7%

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