Survey: Millennials First Look to Book with Airbnb

Older millennials are looking to Airbnb first when seeking trip accommodations, don’t feel connected to any particular hotel brand and join loyalty programs only to ensure that they receive free Wi-Fi, according to a recent survey.

The survey was conducted using a small focus group of a dozen millennials, 27 to 33 years old—all with no children and healthy median salaries. They were asked several questions about their travel habits, and while some of the findings were expected, others were surprising.

Travel recommendations: Participants mainly rely on friends’ recommendations regarding travel destinations. The whole group uses Instagram, Facebook, Snapchat, Pinterest, Tumblr and other social media to gain ideas, and rarely read travel magazines or travel sections of newspapers.

Hotel companies: The group recognized Hilton, Hyatt, Marriott and other top companies, but couldn’t explain the differences between them, nor identify which brands belong to which company. Participants also couldn’t clearly identify the differences between select-service and full-service hotels.

Airbnb: Participants indicated that during the past 18 to 24 months, Airbnb had surpassed hotels as their primary reference when looking to book, and they don’t consider it to be an “alternate” provider. All participants had stayed multiple times at Airbnb properties, and generally had positive experiences.

Booking hotels: The participants use Expedia, Hotels.com and Bookings.com to book properties because they facilitate making airline, rental car and other arrangements. They consult TripAdvisor prior to almost every booking, but distrust it somewhat.

Loyalty programs: No particular loyalty program stood out to participants. Most of them never review their point balances and couldn’t remember ever redeeming points for free rooms. The only value they see in loyalty programs is free Wi-Fi.

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