2020 will be a significant year for Millennial involvement in the marketplace. It will be the year in which they are projected to make up half of the global workforce. So when it comes to travel incentives, this generation won’t necessarily be motivated by the same incentives used twenty years ago for middle-aged employees. Crafting programs that motivate and reward this new demographic may seem daunting but take heart.

Here are elements that will motivate Millennials and provide experiences that build loyalty and excitement.

  • Tailor travel to align with mobile and social media usage
  • Create ‘bragging rights’ through brand-new and novel experiences
  • Explore and experience an unfamiliar culture
  • Seek opportunities to improve society and small communities
  • Select travel options that are earth-friendly
  • Provide ways to make new connections on a global level
  • Make luxury part of the experience
  • Offer flexibility and personalized programs
  1. Outstanding Mobile and Social Experience

Millennials are the first generation to grow up in a digitally connected world. Social media is in their bloodstream, so they want experiences that will be shareable on Facebook, Instagram, and other platforms. Millennials will be more excited by a travel opportunity that provides ‘Instagram-able’ views and tweet-worthy experiences. Being able to convey their experiences to their friends makes the trip more likely to have a lasting effect. Anytime they look back on the posts from their trip they’ll remember the great experiences their employer provided for them.

  1. The New and Novel

The digital connectedness of Millennials also means that they tend to track the latest trends. Whether it’s the latest iPhone, microbrewery, or video game console, they have an interest in all things new. Their interests will give venue openings a unique appeal. There’s a special thrill that comes with dining at a restaurant on its very first night in a foreign land, or visiting an exotic location for the indigenous cultural adventure. Seeing something or being the first to encounter something new provides a unique experience that very few can claim to have had, so there are built-in bragging rights, which will create a one-of-a-kind trip that will not easily be forgotten.

  1. Experiencing Culture

Millennials are racially diverse, more so than any preceding generation. Add this to their global connectedness via social media and you find a generation seeking to be culturally aware. Their diversity also lends itself to increased tolerance and interest in other places and ways of life. This curiosity can be satisfied in locations foreign to them and cultures new to them. Showcasing the local cuisine, wine, and craft beer is a good start.  However, experiencing what makes the culture special will lead to a better understanding of the world.

  1. Listen to the Locals

This younger generation may want to experience another culture, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that they’ll enjoy the stereotypical tourist model. Many will feel that the most interesting places are ones that the locals know, and the tourists miss. There’s nothing wrong with making the classic tourist stops, but Millennials will also want to see the things the locals enjoy most. Talking to a longtime resident, or even searching via city websites, can add the genuine and organic feel that young people often crave. They don’t want to make a few stereotypical stops and miss the hidden treasures.

  1. Socially Conscious

The global connectedness and racial diversity of Millennials also contribute to a desire to make the world a better place. Many Millennials recognize the plight of those less fortunate and love the idea of giving back by doing their part to improve society. A company with socially conscious travel incentives will, therefore, be more likely to gain this generation’s loyalty and admiration.

  1. Environmentally Aware

In addition to social awareness, Millennials are often passionate and have a concern for the environment. Companies—and travel incentives—that reveal environmental mindfulness will garner trust and enthusiasm. Finding lodging with a focus on ‘being green’ is a good start. There are also plenty of venues that find unique ways to contribute to a cleaner planet. Even a more active role, like planting trees, could be a positive experience for Millennials.

  1. Purposefully Planned

Millennials may be new to the workforce, but this doesn’t necessarily mean that they aren’t driven. Many young employees are dedicated to moving up the corporate ladder and excelling in their field. These Millennials may, therefore, prefer travel incentives that are neatly tied to the vision and goals of their company. Similarly, they may be looking to meet others in the industry and make new contacts that build their social network. Instead of looking for relaxation alone, these Millennials also seek personal growth in meaningful and challenging ways.

  1. Uncommon Luxury

Though many Millennials came from fairly affluent backgrounds, increased college debt mean that college graduates rarely experience luxury. Travel incentives with a good dose of swankiness show that their employer won’t be stingy in rewarding successful workers. A little bit of pampering and fanciness certainly wouldn’t go unnoticed.

  1. Freedom and Choices

Millennials are used to the luxury of choice. Whether it’s deciding on a restaurant to dine at, recording artist to listen to, movie to watch, or a degree to pursue, young people are accustomed to a plethora of options. Travel incentives can appeal to this dynamic by offering employees the freedom to explore and make their own choices. There’s nothing wrong with planned outings or activities, but too many too often will infringe on the desire to explore a new and unfamiliar culture. Sometimes nothing beats the freedom to check out the area, make their own dinner plans, or just take in all the amenities at the place they’re staying.


Millennials, like every generation before them, have their preferences, strengths, quirks, and flaws. They’re an interesting bunch, and they are becoming more and more involved in the global workforce. Understanding the wants and needs of Millennials more clearly can help create meaningful travel experiences.

Learn more about Gavel’s group incentive plans at http://www.gavelintl.com/incentive-program/

Jeff Richards