I’m friends with a lot of people who run businesses and when the first one announced they had employed someone born in 2000 it was a very sobering moment. This is not a millennial however, definitions vary but it’s generally accepted as those born between 1981 & 1996 so 24-40 at the moment. They’ve grown up with the internet, mobile phones, student loans and the pace of change is intensifying with social media, Amazon, Uber, Airbnb and many other companies disrupting the way we do just about everything.
Although much of the client base for holiday homes leans towards older generations the first tranch of millennials are settling down, getting dogs and having children bringing them squarely into our market but there’s more to it than that. Marketing wisdom is that this generation values experiences over possessions and are more interested in creating memories than showing off a new car or conservatory.
The pandemic has brought a spectacular increase in demand for UK holidays but I believe it has accelerated a bigger sea change with the younger generations allocating a greater proportion of their income to leisure and a bigger proportion of that spend is going to self catering. Just as Uber has created many more paid rides where people might have used their own car or the bus, Airbnb is introducing people to staying in an apartment or house where they might have gone for a hotel in the past. What they are finding are the benefits we have been trumpeting for a long time – for more than one or two nights you don’t really want a full English every morning or to sit in a restaurant every night and when you have more than two people, let alone children, eating and relaxing in a private space is much more enjoyable.
What this means for us is greater than ever emphasis on photography both in terms of paying for professional shoots and web design and continued focus on the quality of fittings and furnishings. Having anything that’s ‘good enough’ for holiday letting simply doesn’t cut it any more, we have to imagine the photo opportunity on arrival in every property with guests expecting things to be as good or better than their own home.
Finally we are seeing the attitude to leisure, use of social media and modern booking platforms spreading to the older generation so it’s clear this is a long term change not a fad. Perhaps we are all catching the millennial bug?!
Simon Tolson owns Rumsey of Sandbanks, a holiday letting agency.
Contact Simon on 01202 707357.