The millennial generation — a prime target among travel marketers — is growing up and starting to get married, but as one of the first generations to use booking websites before travel agents, we were curious to look at how they handled one of the most anticipated trips of their lifetime.
The majority, or 75 percent, of millennials consult a booking engine during the planning process, according to the Brides’ American Wedding Study 2013.
However, more newlyweds end up using a travel agent – 38 percent – than booking alone – 32 percent.
The situational shift from independent booking to agent booking could be driven by several factors, including the cost and importance pegged to the trip.
“Millennials are all about personalization, and the honeymoon is the most special trip of their lives, so of course, many couples are going to look for the personal service and insider knowledge that a travel agent can provide,” explains Yolanda Crous, travel and features director at Brides magazine.
This is similar to what Stacy Small, founder of Elite Travel International, has found when working with honeymooning millennials.
“There is so much information overload that I find millennial honeymooners—though quite savvy and capable of booking their hotels/trips on line—find their honeymoon a logical starting point for working with an experienced travel advisor,” explains Small.
The desire for a VIP experience is also what draws many millennials to all-inclusive resorts and tour packages. Millennials want to feel they are being pampered without having to ask or pay for it directly.
The amount spent on honeymoons varies greatly from an average of $5,000 to more than $50,000 depending on the length and style of the trip. To help ease the financial constraints of a dream vacation, a relatively new phenomenon has emerged: the rise of registries dedicated completely to travel.
According to the American Wedding Study, 34 percent of honeymooners create a travel registry. Sites like Traveler’s Joy and HoneyFund ask wedding guests for trip donations in place of blenders and utensils.
Brandon Warner, co-founder of Traveler’s Joy, found that millennials using the registry tend to travel further and longer than previous generations.
He says top destinations including New Zealand, South Africa and Southeast Asia and trip last an average of three weeks. According to Warner, millennials are spending comparable amounts of honeymoons but spreading the cost over a longer time period by booking independently.
The desire to travel further and for more time are among the most popular honeymooning trends noted by Crous.
“The first is the megamoon, which is a super sized honeymoon that lasts a month, two months, even a year, and often hits multiple continents,” explains Crous.
“Then there’s the many-moon, in which couples go on multiple honeymoons the first year they’re married—say, the Bahamas right after they’re married, Italy a few months later, Napa month after that, and so on.”
Other honeymooners choose to stay closer to home. According to Brides, about 35 percent stay in the U.S. – with almost half head to Hawaii - another 32 percent go for the Caribbean and 19 percent select Europe.
It’s worth noting that Brides pull its data from the publication’s subscribers and website visitors, which could skew its representation of honeymooning habits.