If you haven’t heard the term “Millennial” yet, you may need to do some catching up to ensure you aren’t missing the boat on a generation that now outnumbers Baby Boomers. By 2020, Millennials are expected to account for $1.4 trillion in annual spending, and by 2025 to account for 46 percent of the nation’s income – the next economic powerhouse.

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What makes Millennials different than other generations? They are truly “Internet natives.” According to a recent report based on data from Experian Marketing Services, Millennials are the “most diverse, informed and digitally connected” generation. Simply put: They spend a significant amount of time online and on social media. How much, you ask? Millennials “spend 35 hours a week with digital media,” compared to 32 hours with traditional media.

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It is no surprise then that the most digitally connected generation may also be one of great marketing importance to those in the travel and tourism business – particularly online travel. According to Forrester Research, in 2013, 76 percent of U.S. online adult leisure travelers booked online. And eMarketer, an independent market research company, notes that individuals are spending more time online researching travel – with two-thirds of all travelers researching online before traveling. What’s more, with the number of travel bookings increasing on smartphones and tablets (up 121% and 48%, respectively, since Jan. 2013), coupled with data showing Millennials “use mobile most for travel content,” they make up a powerful, and growing, consumer segment for companies to consider as they develop marketing strategies to capitalize on this travel and tourism trend.

Sources: [The Wire, 5/23/14; Accenture, June 2013; MediaPost, 7/2/14; Forrester Research, 1/29/14; eMarketer, 6/8/12; Adobe, 5/23/14]