Millennials are taking over workforce and soon the travel and tourism market. While companies are busy responding to this trend, it is important to keep track of their preferences. A recent survey with close to 32,000 young travelers from 196 counties/regions on Topdeck Travel, a group tour provider, may provide some new insights about millennial travelers.

Here are some highlights:

About the respondents

  • 87 percent were female.
  • 74 percent aged 18-24; 20 percent aged 25-30. No one was 40 or older.
  • 39 percent from Austria, 28 percent from Canada, 15 percent from New Zealand, 8 percent from the United Kingdom and 5 percent from the United States.
  • 60 percent completed 0-1 time overseas trips every year; 28 percent had traveled overseas 2-3 times; 5 percent had never been overseas.
  • Destinations where they have been: Europe (64 percent), North America (59 percent), and Australia/New Zealand (57 percent), Asia (40 percent), South America (13 percent), Africa (12 percent) and Middle East (8 percent).

Key findings about marketing

  • 76 percent chose their next travel destination based on their friend's recommendations; 43 percent would look at what's on sale; 36 percent from social media; 18 percent would seek for travel agent advice.
  • 71 percent planed the trip and made reservations on their own; 21 percent used a travel agent; 8 percent counted on friends or family.
  • 50 percent made travel plans 6-12 months ahead; 46 percent made plans within 6 months.
  • 80 percent booked flights first.
  • Key budget factor: Flight cost (57 percent), tour price (15 percent) and exchange rate (9 percent).

About the travel experience

  • 86 percent wanted to experience new cultures; 67 percent were all about eating, and 66 percent about making new friends. Partying (44 percent) and shopping (28 percent) were not rated as important.
  • 85 percent rated "eating local cuisine" important or very important (7 points or more in a 10 point scale)
  • 46 percent traveled independently, but joined some group tours at the destination; 35 percent wanted a group trip.
  • 40 percent preferred to travel with friends; 30 percent preferred to travel solo; 23 percent with partners; 7 percent with family.
  • 46 percent liked the social atmosphere of hostels; 22 percent wanted a hotel room. Indeed, more people are choosing hostels or Airbnb these days.
  • 55 percent used train or public transportation, followed by 19 percent for coach and 19 percent for airplane.

About healthy living

  • 37 percent avoided junk food, but 57 percent wanted to eat what they want.
  • 14 percent worked out during a trip; 11 percent did not exercise when traveling.

About technology

  • Wi-Fi was somewhat important (21 percent rated 5 out of 10, 46 percent rated 6-8). The good news is more hotels are offering free basic Wi-Fi service to their guests now.
  • 59 percent only update their social media accounts a few times a week.
  • 10 percent do not update their social media accounts during a trip.
  • Most popular social media sites include Facebook (94 percent), Instagram (71 percent), TripAdvisor (47 percent), WhatsApp (34 percent) and Twitter (13 percent).
  • 39 percent used smartphones for pictures; only 2 percent did not take any pictures. A picture is worth a thousand words.
  • 35 percent would consider using selfie sticks; 24 percent felt annoyed by them; 5 percent would carry one with them.

About the hot destination

  • Top destinations on their bucket lists: Europe (33 percent), South America (16 percent), North America (13 percent), Australia/New Zealand (13 percent) and Asia (13 percent).
  • If asked to pick a top destination in Asia, Thailand came to the top (83 percent), followed by Vietnam (68 percent), Malaysia (67 percent), Cambodia (66 percent) and Indonesia (65 percent). China was far behind, at 43 percent.

It is important to note that we need to interpret the results reported above with cautions because the sample was composed of the users of a group travel website, and thus may not represent all millennials. That being said, what do you think of the findings? Do any of the items surprise you? If that's the case, in what way?