Wonderful Copenhagen recently profiled Rob Davidson, senior lecturer in event management at University of Greenwich, who is making a name for himself as an expert in Millennial-age meeting attendee behavioral trends.
In this post, You’ll Have to be More Danish to Satisfy Generation Y, Davidson says, “This is a very distinctive generation, and what they expect from conferences is in many ways quite different to what previous generations expect from the conferences they attend.”
The insight on the Copenhagen website is interesting because it discusses Millennial psychographics from a European perspective. While American Gen Y meeting attendees are showing less interest in loyalty to a specific company, for example, European Millennials have less loyalty to their home countries because they can work throughout the European Union.
Meaning if you’re organizing events with international delegates, the Europeans tend to be even more open-minded in terms of racial diversity and global perspectives, commonly attributed to this age segment.
“This is also a highly mobile generation,” states Davidson. “Many of them have received their education in more than one country; and even more of them will make their careers in more than one country…. They value tolerance, equality, fairness—and the evidence suggests that they have a strong ethical sense in their dealings with the world in general.”
Naturally, the dependence on tech and today’s speed of knowledge transfer heavily impact how Millennials engage with specific venues and experiences. Because of this, Generation Y is often deemed “demanding.” They want it all, they want it now, and they don’t like to wait. But at the same time, they have very high expectations just as much of themselves as they do from others.
That seems to be pretty much consistent across all globalized, industrialized nations.
Davidson also provides some insight into the common notion of Millennials as an age group willing to express themselves in meetings and events freely. Previously, Gen Y and Boomers were generally more constrained with their professional opinions when they were in their 20s and 30s.
That’s not the case anymore with Millennials, who demand to be part of a company’s dialogue as much as possible, especially digitally.
“This is a generation that grew up with the Internet,” asserts Davidson. “Many people in Generation Y have only a very vague memory of a pre-Internet world. They use the Internet to get what they need; but they also use it in order to express themselves through blogs, social media, and user-generated content sites such as TripAdvisor. This is a generation that clearly wants to be heard, and Web 2.0 is their preferred medium for expressing their opinions.”
Millennial Meeting Trends
Regarding meeting and event venues, Millennials don’t accept “boring, anonymous and bland” venues nearly to the degree previous generations have, during an era of widespread standardized hospitality and convention center development.
That’s a big challenge for meeting planners today concerned about the declining level of engagement at meetings and events globally.
Davidson explains, “That is why in recent years we have seen the rise in importance of non-traditional venues such as converted lofts, warehouses and tourist attractions such as theme parks, aquaria and museums, where the venue function is often a secondary activity and supplementary source of income.”
He adds that Millennials are “far less tolerant of windowless, airless rooms than previous generations are,” although that is something we’re seeing become consistent across all age segments.
Alluding to the story’s title about “being more Danish,” Wonderful Copenhagen and VisitDenmark have always positioned themselves through the Meetovation program as a culture that places a priority on tolerance, diversity, experimentation and innovation.
“Conference design will have to change in order to provide Generation Y delegates with more opportunity to express themselves and interact with speakers and with each other,” says Davidson. “Many of the best innovations in conference design are coming from Denmark at the moment, and countries all over the world are going to have to become much more imaginative and ‘Danish’ in their approach to designing meetings, in order to satisfy Generation Y.”
The beauty of Davidson’s commentary is that it focuses on the MICE industry, whereas previously much of the travel trend intelligence on this subject has focused on leisure. For more insight from this comprehensive overview, check out the rest of You’ll Have to be More Danish to Satisfy Generation Y.