With millennials accounting for close to 50% of global travel spend in 2020 (according to a report by the Boston Consulting Group) operators who want to tap into this lucrative market need to learn how to accommodate their unique travel needs – with minimal disruption to other guests.

“We embrace influencers and bloggers, it is an amazing way to relay our authentic experiences and offerings in a dynamic and relatable way,” says Angela Iacovazzo, Head of Global Sales and Product Development at Touchdown DMC.

She told Tourism Update that millennial travellers currently made up around 30% of the company’s business but that Touchdown had targeted campaigns to grow that sector.

“We ensure our staff on the ground managing the tour and the properties, restaurants, and experience providers are briefed to keep disruption to a minimum by improved or selected logistics and clear communication between all parties,” related Iacovazzo, adding that the experienced influencers were generally already aware of how to limit disruptions.

Gemma Heyns, Public Relations Specialist of African Bush Camps, said the company catered for a small but growing millennial market. “The key to effectively managing potential disruptions is to establish guests’ interests and expectations early on.”

In situations where specialist parties are travelling, be it birders, photographers or influencers, it is important to highlight the need to book a private vehicle, she says “By having a private vehicle, our guides can tailor the safari experience to the guests’ interests and their needs, making it enjoyable for all.”

Saskia Brown, Marketing Manager of Makumu Private Game Lodge, shared an anecdote about an influencer couple from the South American market whose stay was more challenging.

“They arrived with a list of props they would need for photographs – when we had a full camp! Needless to say, this created pressure on the operations team, who of course managed everything seamlessly!”

Brown said this incident highlighted the need to obtain guests’ requirements in advance of their arrival.

“That said, we have found that their stay provided significant exposure for Makumu and we have seen numerous bookings from this market as a result,” she added, pointing out that the stories and experiences influencers share on social media are one of the most effective ways of selling South Africa as a destination.

“These experiences are personal (vs third party advertising, for example) and connect other people in a real and personal way with SA as a tourism brand,” Brown commented.