Any discussion about younger travellers naturally turns to technology, raising concern that tools may not be up to the standards that the new workforce is expecting.
While we don't know what those in their teens and younger expect, it appears that those starting or moving up in their careers are perhaps leaning back towards 'how things were' alongside, or instead of, technology.
A survey of 2,000 holidaymakers by UK association ABTA has found more travellers in the 18-24 age range are relying on a travel professional, such as a travel agent, to book their holidays — 22% in 2018 compared to 16% in 2017. They mainly cited saving time as the driving factor and many also feel more confident they'll have a good trip when a travel expert takes care of things.
While ABTA's survey results come from holidaymakers it may come as reassurance that some that younger age groups do see value in trusted travel companies. Other traveller surveys by Egencia and IATA in the last week conclude that travellers want self-service for the practical, functional parts of travel but still want a human contact especially when things go wrong.
The sentiment around review websites is also slipping; the ABTA survey found trust in outlets such as TripAdvisor has fallen 14 percentage points to 39%.
Comments made after the announcement seemingly reiterated this point. Rory Sutherland, vice chairman of communications agency O&M Group UK, speaking at ABTA's Travel Convention in Seville, said humans hate uncertainty, and intermediaries create trust.
Could this, in turn, generate more trust in the travel manager, TMCs and the overall travel programme?
The leisure side of the travel industry is all about marketing destinations or a type of holiday (such as packages or cruises). In business travel, buyers are turning more into marketers of their travel programmes with employees as their audience. Appealing to the values of trust, experience and a human touch may be some of those avenues to explore.