Generation Wanderlust: Driving Change in the Hotel Industry

Technology has transformed the way we live our lives. Communication with someone a world away is now not only possible, but an everyday part of life. Information is available in an instant. It’s all literally at our fingertips. And to tap in, all you need is Wi-Fi and a device capable of accessing it.

In connecting the world more closely together, technology has also given people more freedom.

There is no longer the need to be tethered to a set work location, or the stale grind of a 9 to 5 routine. Thanks to technology, people have the freedom to live life in the way they choose. 

Enter ‘Digital Nomads,’ a group of liberated adventurers who choose to travel the world while they work. It’s a lifestyle motivated by experiences, the freedom to explore and the opportunity to earn a living while doing it.  

Millennials (those born between 1981 - 1996) have been quick to embrace the Digital Nomadic lifestyle. Over 60 percent of Digital Nomads are aged between 26 – 36 years old.[1]  Having grown up in the digital era, the lifestyle lends itself well to Millennials who are technologically savvy and well-networked digitally.

Aside from the obvious natural ease with tech, Millennials have vastly different values than those generations before them. Burdened by student debt, many Millennials have given up on many of the traditional ‘institutions of adulthood.’ Research shows that Millennials are more like to delay marriage.[2] Another institution traditionally linked to marriage is home ownership. Where earlier generations placed enormous value on home ownership and financial stability, many Millennials have given up on the idea, writing it off as unrealistic and unachievable.[3]

Instead, Millennials value a life rich with experiences rather than a lifelong pursuit of wealth. Approximately 78 percent of Millennials reported they would rather spend money on experiences than material goods.[4] And with 2.4 billion Millennials in the world today[5], this represents a huge market.

Dubbed the ‘Wanderlust Generation,’ Millennials are big spenders on travel. Of a global annual hotel industry spend of $570 billion, Millennials spend $200 billion on travel annually.[6] As well as spending more on travel than any other age group,[7] 70 percent of Millennials see travel as a core part of their identity.[8]

This presents a huge opportunity to engage not only the Millennial market, but also capitalise on the Digital Nomad movement which is expected to reach 1 billion globally in the next 15 years.[9]

Transforming the Hospitality Market

Traditional hospitality cannot support the unique needs of this global movement.

Hotels can be bland, soulless and often lack a social programme. While cheap, hostels can feature low grade design and inconsistent experience. On the other-hand, home-sharing can also lack in design quality, offer little in community engagement, as well as being potentially unsafe.

The opportunity for meaningful interactions is extremely important to Millennials. Despite being highly connected in a digital sense, 40 percent of Millennials reported feeling lonely and isolated.[10] This makes social programmes and the opportunity for engagement hugely important in catering to Millennial travellers.

Selina - The World’s First Complete Ecosystem for Modern Travellers

Global hospitality brand, Selina was quick to capitalise on this unique market. The very first of its kind, Selina is about a holistic experience for the modern traveller.

Local artists revamp tired, dated infrastructure and transform them into stunning spaces to work, stay and play. Flexible price points across luxury suites, shared accommodation and everything in between, also means more choice for travellers of all walks of life.

Well-designed co-working spaces offer opportunities for creativity, collaboration and productivity. 

And no matter if you’re at a Selina by a beach in Nicaragua or enjoying the alps at Selina Bariloche, travellers can enjoy an unrivalled social and events programme. It’s this focus on experience which really sets Selina apart from traditional hospitality brands. Selina is about connecting people through shared experiences. Whether that be at a surf lesson, brewery tour or yoga session under the stars, Selina speaks to the heart of Millennials who crave connection and authentic experiences.

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[1] Welance, 2018:

[2] New America, 2019. ‘The Emerging Millennial Wealth Gap.’

[3] Urban Institute, 2018. ‘Millennial Home Ownership.’ Apartment List, 2019.

‘2019 Millennial Homeownership Report: More Millennials are Preparing for a Life of Renting.’

[4] Selina, 2020. ‘Selina Corporate Investment Deck.’

[5] Selina, 2020. ‘Selina Corporate Investment Deck.’

[6] Lock, S. 2019.

[7] Phocuswright, 2018. ‘Global Hostel Market Report.’

[8] Ibid

[9] Levels, 2015.

[10] Selina, 2020. ‘Selina Corporate Investment Deck.’

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