Understanding millennials’ tourism experience: values and meaning to travel as a key for identifying target clusters for youth (sustainable) tourism

Elena Cavagnaro*, Simona Staffieri, Albert Postma

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

95 Citations (Scopus)


Purpose: The purpose of this paper is to better understand the tourism experience of millennials by connecting their value orientations to the meaning that they give to travel. In doing so, it also aims at discovering profiles of young tourists that can be targeted both now and in the future by tourism organisations. Design/methodology/approach: A survey based on validated scales reached 423 Dutch millennials. An integrated multidimensional research strategy has been applied where models that reduce the gathered data to fewer components (principal component analyses) were followed by a cluster analysis. Findings: Ten value orientations (Schwartz, 1994) and four travel meanings have been identified. By combining these ten value orientations and four meanings, nine clusters have been identified representing groups of millennial tourists with different needs. For example, while two clusters fit into the popular description of young travellers seeking only unpretentious enjoyment, millennials represented in two other clusters are strongly motivated by self-transcending values, distance themselves from the travel meaning escapism and relaxation and will therefore not positively respond to a merely hedonic travel offer. Research limitations/implications: Replication of this research is recommended in other national contexts, possibly using a longitudinal approach. Practical implications: The nine clusters should be approached with a dedicated travel offer. In particular, at least two clusters of millennials may be successfully approached with a sustainable tourism offer. Originality/value: The combination of value orientations and travel meanings portrays a detailed and realistic picture of the tourism experience looked for by millennials.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)31-42
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Tourism Futures
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 4-Jun-2018
Externally publishedYes


  • Market segmentation
  • Meaning to travel
  • Sustainable tourism
  • Value orientations
  • Youth tourism


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