Reaching Millennials... the Next Generation of Timeshare Users

Millennials Defined

The Millennial generation has been extensively researched and referred to in many different terms.  Millennials born after 1980 and into the early 2000’s (more precisely 1982-2000), are also referred to as “Generation Y” coming after Generation X as they do.  They currently range in age from 18 to 33.
Millennials have been called the “Me Me” generation.  They were raised in economic prosperity and often given unlimited praise for even the smallest accomplishments (sports trophies for everyone on the team!). Then one of the most severe economic recessions in decades left them unprepared for life's challenges. That initiated yet another title, "The Boomerang Generation," because economic conditions forced many to move back into their parents homes after college as they struggled to find a job.

Millennials are also thought of as open-minded, confident, positive about the future, and supportive of equal rights. They value education, achievement, teamwork, and if they find the job that makes them happy, they will be a loyal employee.  Millennials are also civic-minded and supportive of the community (which just might make timeshares attractive to them!).

Millennials Have Grown-up on Technology

Millennials have grown up on technology. It permeates every aspect of their lives and they are never far from their devices. A Pew Research study on Social & Economic Trends concludes that "Millennials are digital natives, the only generation who has never had to adapt to these new technologies, they grew up with them.  They are the most avid Facebook users; 81% of Millennials are on Facebook, where their median friend count is 250, far higher than that of older age groups; 55% have posted a "selfie" on a social media site, a far higher percentage than any other generation."

The Chicago Metro Association for Education, says Millennials accessorize with gadgets, most likely sleep with their cell phones, and build relationships through sound bites in 140 characters or less. They are excellent multi-taskers and expect responses in real time.

Technology… the Best Way to Reach Millennials

The Millennials are just as capable of appreciating a good vacation opportunity as the next person, but a smart marketer will have to be willing to do the research and meet the Millennials on their own terms.  As mentioned above if you can make them happy they will be a loyal to you, and they will share what they like with their many friends and anyone else who will listen to them.

Use all Technology Tools

Obviously with individuals that are so attached to their devices, the best way for timeshare marketers to reach them is through their devices. Use all of the social media tools: Facebook (81% of Millennials are on Facebook), Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, (55% post selfies on social media sites), LinkedIn (many are still looking for jobs to pay off those college fees) and smart-phones (some of them sleep with their phones).
Don't forget the value of mobile apps. In August of 2013, Marriott launched a mobile game app designed to attract the Millennials. Xplor lets players virtually visit five gateway cities, take sightseeing challenges, solve trivia questions, and puzzles, and compete to win Marriott Rewards points. Said Marriott Human Resources Officer, David Rodriquez, "If you look at demographics, Generation Z and Y together will absolutely be an extraordinary part of our business. If you are not resonating with that generation, your business will decline." The app can be downloaded for free at the App store.

What’s in it for Me?

Remember the "Me Me Generation"... Millennials want to see what direct benefits they will get from a product. They appreciate honesty and expect marketers to be upfront about their product. In terms of timeshare marketing, tell them about all the benefits and the value of a timeshare, but make sure you can back it up. They want conversation and feedback, but make it quick (remember they build relationships through sound bites in 140 characters or less!)

Allow for Adaptability

Don't forget the Millennials may be the first generation who may not make as much money as their parents. They often are burdened with debt from college fees and other life expenses. They may not yet have that job that maximizes their earning potential.  And there will be a lot of competition for their business! (42% of Millennials consult four or more services before making a purchase.) Millennials are not willing to take on significant debt even for something as fun as a timeshare. Timeshare marketers must be adaptable. Find ways to enhance your offering such as: maintenance fee guarantees, or short-term or yearly terms, stress the value of exchanging, flex-time and points. Remember Millennials are our first digital natives.  Speak to them in their own language, the one they grew up with!

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