(Via MarTech Series)

Everyone seems obsessed with marketing to Millennials these days, and it’s certainly no easy feat to do so. Millennials not only have very different priorities than preceding generations, they also are renowned for mistrusting both corporations and advertising.

For the travel industry, engaging this group of young adults is a big priority: Millennials have a much greater interest in travel than other generations – it’s second only to saving money. In fact, 75% of Millennials want to travel "as much as possible." It’s a big priority for this age group; for them, travel is more important than buying a house.

But how can marketers reach a generation of world explorers that isn’t receptive to advertising? It’s tricky, to say the least. Millennials are not only unreceptive to digital advertising, they actively block it. Two out of three block ads on either their desktop or mobile; 14% have ad blockers on all their devices. They’re also driving the do “cord-cutting” movement, which means they’re exposed less frequently than other groups to TV ads.

So what does work with Millennials? Facebook and other social channels are effective at building trust. Millennials like the ability to have conversations with the brands they prefer. They’ll visit your Facebook page or open your app on their terms, but they aren’t interested in any messages you’re trying to push into their feeds or inboxes. Those are private spaces reserved for their friends and families.

However, when it comes to driving action, print appears to be the most effective way to move these so-called “digital natives.” According to the USPS “A Look at How Millennials Respond to Direct Mail,” 84% of Millennials actually pay attention to their mail, 64% would rather scan for useful information in the mail than email, 90% think this form of advertising is reliable. They enjoy the experience of reading their mail, and consider it a “leisure activity.” Research suggests that physical mail gives this audience a better sense of trust, while also inspiring them to take action. It’s an interesting twist, particularly as an increasingly greater percentage of marketing budgets shift to digital. However, we need to consider that for a generation that’s always had exposure to connected screens, tangibility is a differentiator for this group.

Throughout the history of Travel Marketing, the industry has, and continues to, rely heavily on print  — travel agencies still have shelves stocked with beautiful glossy brochures, and travel magazines depict exotic destinations in every edition. Like other industries, travel marketers have begun relying more heavily on digital, but it’s possible we are not putting enough emphasis on a channel (physical mail) that reaches this audience. With a younger generation that craves travel (and can afford it), loves to open mail, and seems to be immune to digital ads, it may be time to rethink our strategies.

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