Chute Releases New Research on Millennial and Centennial Travel Behaviors

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Word of mouth and social media overshadow traditional forms of marketing as top sources of travel inspiration

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Destinations that wish to reach these travelers must adjust their marketing strategies to include a strong social component...

Chute, the leaders in enterprise UGC marketing, today released new research results examining how millennials, ages 18-34, and centennials, ages 13-17, make and influence travel and vacation plans. The results indicate more traditional forms of marketing, like print ads, the use of travel agents and even celebrity endorsements have little influence on how this demographic makes decisions on where to vacation. Instead, the number one source of inspiration are social media platforms, including Facebook, Instagram and Youtube.

“We know millennials are a key demographic for our destination and travel customers,” Ranvir Gujral, Chute co-founder and CEO said. “This study indicates how they choose where to travel is very different than previous generations and many standard marketing approaches will fall flat. Destinations that wish to reach these travelers must adjust their marketing strategies to include a strong social component and work to understand both the content and platforms most important to them in order to be successful in the near and long term.”

Why Millennials and Centennials Matter to Destinations

The UN estimates this group makes up 20% of all international travelers and accounts for $185 billion in annual tourism revenue - up 30% since 2007. In terms of domestic travel, millennials spend on average nearly double the amount as Boomers or Gen Xers - $6,200 per trip, versus $3,700 (Gen X) and $2,900 (Boomers).

And while centennials aren’t yet footing the bill when it comes to vacations, 83% said they are asked by friends and family about where to go.

The Influence of Social Media

Word of mouth and social media outranked all other sources of travel inspiration for both generations by at least 10 points. For centennials, 53% were most inspired by word of mouth and 27% said social media. For millennials, 39% selected social media and 27% chose word of mouth.

When it came down to what social platforms carry the most weight, both generations chose Instagram, Youtube, and Facebook. Centennials’ top choice was Instagram at 54%, while millennials’ top choice was predominantly Facebook at 70%. And while social media is where travelers share many positive experiences of their travels, the second leading reason they would change their travel plans is based on negative social reviews at 65%, just after weather/unsafe environment at 76%.

What’s Next for Destinations and Social Media

Notably, and further proving word-of-mouth’s importance, the content the majority saw as most effective at persuading them to travel to a new location was authentic photos shared by other travelers.

Finally, the number one way these travelers want destinations to engage with them on social is by liking and commenting on the photos they share, followed by re-sharing the photos on social platforms and giving credit.

A complete set of data and summary report is available at


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