Motivate Millennials - bike riding along the Danube with AmaWaterwaysWhen it comes to planning meetings and incentive travel programs, Millennials (those born between 1981 – 2000) seem to be on everyone’s mind these days. At a session on emerging trends during a recent Incentive Research Foundation’s (IRF) Conference, 67 percent of the audience said they are developing new programs just for Millennials.

And it’s no wonderWith Millennials set to comprise half of the global workforce by 2020, motivating across generational lines with an eye towards preferences of Millennials makes smart business sense.

What Motivates Millennials?

Norwegian Breakaway Ropes Course

Norwegian Breakaway Ropes Course

Ultimately, the goal of any incentive travel program is to motivate, recognize and reward. Millennials also want to be engaged. They desire authentic, unique experiences – more immersive destination activities and  active adventures. They also prefer more unstructured  “down time”.

Whether you’re planning a corporate meeting, association conference, or incentive travel program, here are a few ways to keep your Millennials happy and inspired:

  • Experiences Matter – Include experiences that are rare but extraordinary – unique travel experiences top the list!
  • Keep Them Active – Include challenging group activities and plenty of fitness options (both indoors and outside).
  • Fresh and Healthy Meals- Make sure food choices are fresh, healthy, and inspired – with plenty of variety.
  • Creative Meeting & Networking Spaces – Provide flexible, comfy meeting spaces to inspire the creative exchange of idea.
  • Entertainment Options- Live music venues, trendy dance clubs, interactive shows – give them lots of variety with “wow” moments included.

How cruise lines are appealing to Millennials

Last year, CLIA (Cruise Lines International Association) named “Growth of Millennial Passengers” one of the top trends in cruising. Here’s how cruise lines are responding.

Advanced Technology

Ocean Medallion "Smart" bracelet on Regal Princess

Ocean Medallion “Smart” bracelet on Regal Princess

New satellite technology and increased bandwidth are making cruise ship WiFi access faster and and more reliable. Cruise lines are rolling out amore competitive internet package pricing that make it easier than ever to email, tweet, post, and stream videos. While prices are coming down, some ships now offer free WiFi.

New cruise line mobile apps & wearable devices track luggage, expedite embarkation/ debarkation, and allow guests to chat and book excursions

Read more: Cruise Ship Technology – 5 Smart Trends

Creative Culinary Options

best cruise ship food experiences - Avalon WaterwaysNo more bland buffets, regimented dining in massive dining rooms, and boring menus! Cruise lines have added:

  • More specialty restaurants & outdoor venues
  • Celebrity chef partnerships
  • “Farm to Table” menus using locally-sourced ingredients
  • Interactive dining experiences, including Chef’s Table and culinary centers
  • Shoreside culinary experiences – shopping with the Chef, local cooking classes, wine tasting tours and locally-hosted meals

Read more: Best cruise ship culineary experiences for groups

Cruise Ship Entertainment Reaches New Heights

Motivate Millennials-Cirque entertainment on Norwegian cruise line shipCruise lines have raised the entertainment bar with aqua shows, cirque-style aerial performers, award-winning productions and a greater variety of live music. New ships offer a fusion of high-tech and live performances, stunning visuals and special effects, and more interactive shows.

Motivate Millennials - RCI Two70 entertainmentHigh-Tech Productions: On Royal Caribbean Quantum-class ships, Two70 Lounge transforms into a stunning multi-sensory evening entertainment venue.

Broadway at Sea – Award-winning Broadway productions at sea include MAMA MIA! on Royal Caribbean Quantum of the Seas, ROCK OF AGES on Norwegian Breakaway.

More Cruise Features with Massive Millennial Appeal

Expanded sports decks & high-adrenaline activities – Outdoor facilities include expansive aqua parks & sports complexes, top deck electric go-kart race track, multiple gigantic slides, open-air laser tag course, ropes courses.

Shorter cruises: More 4 and 5-night cruises on a greater variety of ships appeal to busy Millennials.

Motivate Millennials - glacier calving during Lindblad Expeditions Cruise

Destination Experiences: Millennials covet more than “sun & fun” destinations. These participants are hungry for authentic cultural experiences, more local interaction, unique adventures and the chance to give back. Cruise lines are adding more active excursions and “behind the scenes” tours that go beyond the typical tourist spots.

Premium cruise lines, including Oceania, Azamara Club Cruises, Windstar, and Regent Seven Seas feature longer times in port (including overnights), with specially-crafted events ashore that provide authentic destination experiences. These smaller-sized ships are also ideal for private charter, giving you total freedom to customize the entire cruise, including the ports of call.

Expedition Voyages:  Want to plan the ultimate immersive adventure? A cruise to a remote destination on a premium expedition ship is sure to motivate peak performance!

More for You to Love, Too!

  • Meals Included – no budget-busting menus to plan! (Per person surcharges apply at some specialty restaurants)
  • Sports and Onboard Activities – mostly included, with built-in team building opportunities
  • Complimentary Entertainment -no worries about logistics, tickets, transportation
  • Multiple Destinations with Minimal Travel Hassle
  • No Meeting Room or A/V Expenses
  • More experiences, more wows, more opportunities for attendees to connect