With the belief that millennials and younger generations will make up three quarters of all consumers and travellers by 2025, it is not surprising that there is a huge interest in millennials’ travel behaviour. With this background, the Department of Marketing Management conducted a research project in 2019 on behalf of SANParks to determine the travel behaviour of the millennial market, with specific reference to nature-based holiday destinations, experiences and more particularly the South African National Parks
as a nature-based holiday destination.
During the first phase of the research project, Profs Anneli Douglas and Pierre Mostert conducted six focus group interviews under various millennial sub-groups, including single adults, new couples and families with pre-school and primary school children.
Results indicated that millennials’ main motives to travel include to relax, to unwind, rest and take a break. They also want to see and experience new and different places and prefer destinations where they have not been before. One respondent stated: “I like to go to places and immerse myself in the culture, and I try to steer away from the touristy things. I might go and check it out, but apart from that, I’d rather go to the local pub, I want to see what the locals are doing.”
Probably not surprising is that costs are a deciding factor for millennials when considering travel destinations. Other factors they consider include the activities and facilities available at the destination, the geographical location, logistics of the trip, time of the year and safety of the destination. For their annual holiday, millennials prefer going to the coast, to a destination where they can do some shopping or a nature-based destination. However, for a weekend break, they prefer a nature-based destination, the coast or an adventure or sport-based destination.
When at their holiday destination, millennials are less concerned about luxury and opulence, and more about basic amenities, such as a comfortable bed and clean bathrooms. Interestingly, opinions were divided on whether the destination should have cell phone reception and Wi-Fi.
Following the insights gained from the focus groups, Profs Douglas and Mostert will conduct a second, quantitative study, during which larger numbers of millennials’ travel-related behaviour will be examined in Gauteng and other selected provinces by using questionnaires and statistically analysing the data.