Meeting Mentor Magazine

December 2018

Cover Story

Multiple Devices, Millennials
And Metasearch Transform Travel

Pay close attention to the multiple mobile devices that travelers are using. Their increasing reliance on these devices is already putting extraordinary demands on bandwidth when they attend meetings at hotels and convention centers. And in the hands of millennials (born after 1980) — who are “digital natives” and the most avid users of new technologies, reported the Pew Research Center — these devices are changing the way travel is arranged. How prepared are meeting professionals for this demographic that will become your prime attendees and exhibitors by the end of this decade?

Smartphone penetration has reached 75% and tablet adoption is already at 44% for U.S. leisure travelers, reported PhoCusWright. In 2013, one-third of U.S. travelers owned all three devices — a smartphone, laptop and tablet — up from less than a quarter in 2012. That fast rise shows no abatement.

Millennials’ travel habits are tied to their devices. Not only do millennials expect Wi-Fi availability and bandwidth speed, as early adopters they take their own digital route in planning and booking travel, particularly since they are spontaneous (last-minute) and collaborative (sharing experiences), a Hudson Crossing report cited. This group now represents more than 10% of U.S. online leisure travelers. Globally, nearly a third (32%) of millennial travelers make business travel arrangements using a smartphone, and 20% with a tablet, according to Harris Interactive. That compares to just 12% of 46- to 65-year-old business travelers who book with a smartphone and 9% with a tablet. By 2025, millennials will make up 75% of the global workforce, cited Deloitte’s third annual Millennial Survey.

To capture them, hotels are pushing more reservations through social media and metasearch pathways — Kayak, hipmunk, Room 77, Google’s hotel search tools. Hotel shoppers — and millennials are that — use metasearch to find the cheapest deal most convenient to their travel plans; those searches are more targeted and specific because of nuanced information consumers can learn about particular hotel properties such as location, star ratings and traveler reviews, according to eMarketer report Hotel Metasearch. Now, some companies (such as Groupize) are getting into the world of hotel metasearch for group sleeping rooms only, said Keith Cotton, senior vice president global business for DerbySoft, which provides hotels with metasearch management. Meanwhile Cvent, Eventpro and Hotel Planner, he cited, are targeting more sophisticated meeting group metasearch. — Maxine Golding


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About ConferenceDirect
ConferenceDirect is a global meetings solutions company offering site selection/contract negotiation, conference management, housing & registration services, mobile app technology and strategic meetings management solutions. It provides expertise to 2,500 corporations and associations through our 325 Associates globally. www.conferencedirect.com

About MeetingMentor
MeetingMentor, the leading publication for senior meeting planners, is circulated to the clients, prospects and sales associates of ConferenceDirect, which books more than 3.87 million room nights. www.meetingmentormag.com

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