Younger millennials and students represent a key demographic for travel brands and travel insurance companies and it’s especially important to understand the evolving wants and needs of this youth-driven, tech-dependent segment.
Student travelers represent 20% of all international travel and experts predict that by 2020, the student travel industry will become a $320 billion industry. That’s a huge market for travel insurance providers, granted they understand how to sell the idea of insurance to young travelers.
Students, being millennials, are willing to spend for new experiences beyond just backpacking and partying. They’re seeking innovation in terms of airfare packages, accommodations, and other in-destination verticals. Often, they want to volunteer or work in their target destinations to reap personal and professional benefits when they return home.
Years from now, these student travelers will become business travelers and grow into higher tiers when it comes to travel budgets. As such, travel insurance companies must start selling the idea of travel insurance to students now.
Why Don’t Students Care About Travel Insurance?
When students travel, it should come as no surprise that they tend to look to low-cost carriers or budget airlines for cheaper accommodations such as youth hostels, apartment rentals, or free couches instead of hotels. However, these student travelers rarely ever get travel insurance.
According to a recent research by ABTA, the UK’s largest travel association, almost a third of travelers aged 18 to 34 years old traveled without insurance. Another study by the Allianz Global Assistance showed that 43% of Canadians in the same age group choose not to buy travel insurance every time they leave the country. Why? Simply because they don’t believe they need it.
The ABTA study further revealed that 46% of this age group stated that the reason they didn’t purchase travel insurance was that they didn’t think they needed it, while 38% stated it was a risk they were prepared to take. Meanwhile, 22% claimed they forgot.
Despite the numerous reports of incidents abroad that leave travelers with huge medical bills and other costs supposedly covered by travel insurance, students and millennials still don’t purchase travel insurance. They feel invincible, and that the chances that something bad will happen to them during their travels is slim to none.
They’re playing a risky game, especially since approximately 32% of all travel insurance claims are by individuals under the age of 30, the highest among all age brackets.
More importantly, medical emergencies can be quite costly, which is why it’s important to sell the idea of travel insurance to students and millennials. Here’s how:
1. Build an online presence around authenticity and trustworthiness
Students these days are eternally connected to the internet and they’re never without their smartphones within arm’s reach. They’re true digital natives who turn to the internet as their primary source of information. Therefore, building an online presence will help you reach them where they are.
Make sure to establish authenticity to be considered credible and trustworthy by millennials. If there’s one thing students and millennials loathe, it’s inauthenticity. You can’t fool students because as I’m sure you can imagine, they’re pretty good at researching and uncovering the truth. So, be authentic and don’t overpromise.
2. Educate them about the potential risks of traveling overseas
While you’re building an online presence through content marketing, share informative content that centers on the potential risks of traveling overseas. Students need to experience the emotions associated with not having insurance coverage when they travel. Show them how ignoring risks can seriously affect their future and their loved ones.
Tell a true story. Use testimonials from actual customers who were able to benefit from their travel insurance to drive your point further. It’s also a good idea to encourage user-generated content to increase authenticity and credibility and empower your audience.
3. Use an influencer to help drive the message home
84% of millennials claim that word of mouth is their primary influencer when making a buying decision. They read reviews online before they make purchases and they trust the opinions of their social network connections as well as the influencers they follow.
Influencer marketing focuses on tapping into the authority of key industry leaders to drive your brand’s message to a larger market. These influencers tend to have communities of highly-engaged followers, so a certain level of trust is already established from the get-go.
Use an influencer to help students understand the need for travel insurance. It’ll certainly do wonders when it comes to penetrating markets that are harder to crack. Influencers will help you better appeal to this generation, as they identify with the influencers they follow on social media.
4. Customize everything
Students are growing up in the age of personalization and customization. This is the generation that didn’t just purchase teddy bears, rather made their own bears. They have their names written on their customized coffee cups at Starbucks. They personalize their smartphones with unique combinations of themes, wallpapers, and apps to improve their experience.
Customizing your travel insurance policies according to their specific travel itineraries helps you offering more value to them. Remember, this is the generation that considers “what’s in it for me?” before anything else. So, let them take control over their policies and allow them to customize their insurance packages to suit their needs.
5. Interact with your audience, encourage participation, and address concerns
Students and millennials identify with brands more personally and emotionally. Furthermore, 63% of millennials stay in touch with their favorite brands through social media.
That being said, it’s important for you to interact with this young generation and address their concerns through your website, social networks, and other touchpoints. Be visible and available to them 24/7. Millennials will move on quickly when their questions remain unanswered, so keep them involved with constant interaction and engagement.
Millennial students can become attached to brands that appeal to their values, so make sure that you communicate how travel insurance can contribute to their life goals.
As a generation that’s always on social media and ready to post reviews about their brand experiences, students and millennials make for great brand ambassadors. Selling the idea of travel insurance to them now will certainly pay off in the future by growing your sphere of influence.
Travel insurance companies need to adapt to changing markets and consumer behavior to remain relevant in the years to come. Inform and educate millennials by improving communications between travel facilitators and students wishing to travel.
Contact the team at KeynectUp today to find out more about how to appeal to younger insurance buyers.