Why it makes commercial sense for holiday parks

Industry-relevant tips from Clare Bushby, managing director at Clockwork Marketing

Millennials and Generation Zs are ambitious, generous, tech savvy and socially conscious. They are also the largest group of consumers with the most spending power in the history of the World. Even more than Baby Boomers.

If you aren’t attracting Millennials and Generation Zs to your holiday park or thinking about how to market to them for the future, you may not have a future.

Who are Millennials and Generation Zs and why are they important?

Millennials are classed as young people born between 1981 –1996 and Generation Zs between 1997–2012. Millennials intrinsically understand technology, having grown up with the Internet. They are free-thinking, creative and open to change, having lived through the fastest period of technology evolution yet.

Whereas Generation Zs can be entrepreneurial, devoted to social good and clean-living. Many don’t drink or do drugs, opting for wellness experiences instead.

In the UK, Millennials and Generation Zs account for 25 per cent of the country’s total retail spend – that’s equivalent to over £100 billion each year (Clearplay Finance Ltd.). This share will grow to 39% of total spend by 2030 as more Generation Zs enter the workforce. To say their spending power is significant would be a massive understatement.

But what does this influential group of young people spend their high disposable income on and what do they want from the companies from which they purchase?

What appeals to Millennials and Generation Zs?

Authenticity: Millennials and Generation Zs want transparency, authenticity, and honesty from the brands from which they buy. They would prefer to buy from an ethically sound brand that practices what they preach than not.

Personalisation: Millennials grew up with the Internet, while Generation Zs were raised with ubiquitous social media. As a result, both groups expect high levels of personalisation. They want control over the content they consume and expect personalised promotions based on their online activities and interests.

Experience-led: 78% of Millennials would rather buy an experience or attend an event than a product (Harris). Many opt-out of consumerism and buying “things” in favour of experiences they can share online.

Positive social experiences: Generation Zs are willing to pay more for products and services from companies committed to positive social and environmental change. Deloitte’s Global Millennial and Gen Z survey highlights both groups want social change, and accountability from brands they follow.

Marketing tips for Millennials and Generation Zs

With their needs in mind, here’s some top tips to use in marketing your holiday park or experience to Millennials and Generation Zs.

  1. User-generated content and Instagram moments

As the Instagram generation, any travel experience needs to be documented and shared on social media for their friends to see. If your holiday park isn’t providing ‘Instagrammable’ photo opportunities then forget it.

To attract Millennials and Generations Zs, consider reposting photos other young people have taken and shared on their social channels (with full permissions). This will establish authenticity as the young people will see others enjoying themselves and sharing those all-important photos for likes.

Consider highlighting the most Instagrammable scene in your park to encourage photo-sharing online. Shots could include going wild in the country, feasting from your menu or bathing in your nearby river. Show the way by making your own Instagram page a visual feast. Curate your Instagram profile grid carefully, use well-shared hashtags and ask guests to tag you in their posts.

  1. Experience matters

If you don’t have experiences that will attract Millennials or Generation Zs consider, what could you offer that appeals? As a group whose lives have been impacted everywhere by digital technology, many are opting out of the online life.

In city centres across the country board game cafes have boomed as young people search for physical experiences beyond the digital. Other creative pursuits include arts and crafts such as pottery, wood carving and weaving. All tactile in their nature and easy to provide onsite with a local artisan who could host “how to” groups on site.

  1. Be environmentally sound

The fact that tourism has a large carbon footprint and over-tourism in areas is a growing problem won’t be lost on Millennials and Generation Zs – even if they are still happy to fly or drive to a location.

The hospitality sector as a whole needs to reflect on its impact, but demonstrating that your park is taking steps to limit its environmental impact will be essential going forward.

None of us can directly affect global issues, but we can act locally and change with the times. Do you use local or organic food suppliers? What do you do with your food waste? Do you recycle? How is your swimming pool heated? Do you have solar panels on your clubhouse or electric vehicle charging points?

Taking steps to make your park more sustainable is not only good for the environment but if promoted, will attract more guests.

If you don’t have the budget or appetite for big changes, linking with local nature groups to volunteer time, organising beach cleans or local litter picks will all show your commitment and improve your standing with future guests.

  1. Act responsibly, attract new staff

Research from Nielsen found almost two-thirds (66%) of Millennials are willing to pay extra for products and services that come from companies who are committed to positive social and environmental impact.

There’s a commercial benefit to being ethically responsible, as well as simply doing the right thing. With all hospitality providers still smarting from this year’s staffing crisis, now is the perfect time to take a long hard look at employment practices in your park.

  • Are you a responsible employer, and if so, how can you demonstrate this to potential staff and customers?
  • Are you paying enough to support people’s lives?
  • Are you inclusive of all regardless of gender, sexual orientation, or race?
  • Are you addressing your impact on the local environment and community?
  • Are you offering a long-term opportunity for career development and training?

Holiday parks genuinely demonstrating accountability and care for their staff, can build a strong brand that will win the hearts and minds of Millennials and Generation Zs. Whether attracting new staff or guests or simply just doing the right thing, marketing your holiday park on the strength of your ethics makes sound commercial sense.

To find out more go to www.clock-work.co.uk/