Move over, Gen X! When it comes to planning meetings and incentive travel programs, Millennials seem to be on everyone’s mind these days. At a session on emerging trends at the recent Incentive Research Foundation’s (RFI) Invitational Conference , 67 percent of the audience said they are developing new programs just for Millennials.
And it’s no wonder – those born between 1980 and 2000 now account for 36% of the U.S. workforce, and by 2025 will account for 76% of the global workforce.
What motivates Millennials? Whether your planning a corporate meeting, association conference, or incentive travel program, here are a few ways to keep your Millennials happy:
- 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 creative exchange of idea.
- Entertainment Options- Live music venues, chic dance clubs, interactive shows - give them lots of variety with “wow” moments included.
How cruise lines are appealing to Millennials
Earlier this year, CLIA (Cruise Lines International Association) also named “Growth of Millennial Passengers” one of the top trends in cruising. Here’s how they’re responding:
This is the tech-savvy generation, and connectivity is a must! The cruise industry has made rapid advances to keep up with the digital demand, with shipwide WiFi hotspots; increased bandwidth; and cruise lines apps that can be used offline to navigate the ship and ports, help with planning, and keep in touch with friends and colleagues onboard.
With the announcement this week of stunning “smart” technology on Royal Caribbean’s Quantum of the Seas, the bar has been set higher than ever. Here are just a few of the ways this revolutionary new ship will dazzle your group with first-at-sea technology:
Quantum of the Seas “Wow Band” with RFID technology
- Digital check-in that will allow your attendees to go from sidewalk to ship in 10 minutes – no more lines!
- Download the Royal IQ app to track luggage in real time on your smartphone
- Unprecedented bandwidth for rapid connection – How much? More than the bandwidth of every other ship in the world…combined!
- Robotic bartenders – Yes, you read that right! In the new Bionic Bar, place your drink order and watch as a robot mixes your cocktail.
- No more keycards. Just tap your wearable “Wow Band” to make a purchase or open your stateroom door (it’s not magic – it’s RFID – Radio-frequency identification!).
Norwegian Cruise Line has also announced that fleetwide technology upgrades will be part of their fleetwide NEXT Enhancement Program. Continuous WiFi hotspots from bow to stern, an updated “iConcierge” app (the cruise industry’s first mobile app), and interactive digital signage will be introduced on all ships.
Creative Culinary Options
Celebrity Qzine specialty restaurant
No more bland buffets, regimented dining in massive dining rooms, and boring menus! Cruise lines are adding:
- More specialty restaurants & outdoor venues (Norwegian Breakaway has 28 dining options incl. 11 complimentary)
- Celebrity chef partnerships
- “Farm to Table” menus using locally-sourced ingredients
- Interactive dining experiences (including Chef’s Table)
- Cooking classes/Chef demonstrations
- Shoreside culinary experiences (like SeaDream Yacht Club’s “shopping with the chef” excursion).
Norwegian Cruise Line’s fleetwide NEXT enhancements include new menus in the main dining rooms with wine pairing recommendations and more selections that balance traditional dishes like prime rib with fresh dining trends like mojito shrimp ceviche – up to 12 starters and 15 entrees each evening.
Royal Caribbean’s “Dynamic Dining” on new Quantum-class ships provides more flexibility and variety. Your attendees will find 18 restaurant concepts, including 5 complimentary full-service restaurants (instead of usual 2), each with its own distinctive cuisine and ambiance.
Celebrity Cruises – just added Gastrobar to Celebrity Equinox – a new craft beer and comfort food venue featuring live music and a sophisticated lounge experience.
Carnival Cruise Lines is partnering with Tampa’s Cigar City Brewing to offer it’s popular craft beer on Florida-based ships.
Cruise Ship Entertainment Reaches New Heights
Quantum of the Seas Two70 Venue
Cheesy, second-rate lounge acts are a thing of the past. In the last decade, cruise lines have raised the entertainment bar with aqua shows, cirque-style aerial performers, big-name Vegas acts like Blue Man Group (on Norwegian Epic), award-winning productions and a greater variety of live music. New ships promise a fusion of high-tech and live performances, stunning visuals and special effects, and more interactive shows. Here are some examples:
Royal Caribbean Quantum of the Seas: Quantum’s Two70 Venue features Vistarama, transforming the expansive floor-to-ceiling windows into any scene with 18 projectors, making the digital scene come to life in 12K resolution – an industry first. Six roboscreens – measuring over 7 feet high and controlled by robotic arms – also create scenes to enhance the live performances.
Quantum of the Seas’ Royal Theater seats 1,300 guests and features latest technology for stunning productions, including Sonic Odyssey by William Close, with a unique Earth Harp and Drum Wall that envelops audience in spectacular show – another new experience at sea.
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.
Carnival LIVE Concert Series: While Carnival ships are docked at select ports of call, your music fans can enjoy an exclusive onboard performance by a top recording artist. The 2014 concert series features Jennifer Hudson, Lady Antebellum, Martina McBride, Chicago, Jewel and many more. Artists join the ship while in port, perform for 90 minutes in the main lounge, and debark after their show. Tickets range from $20 to $40 each with limited VIP tickets that feature an artist meet and greet and photo from $100 to $150 each.
Cool Theme Parties: After the MAMA MIA! show ends in the Quantum of the Seas’ Royal Theater, guests are invited to the Music Hall for a red-carpet, Broadway-style after party with featured cast members from the show. Norwegian Cruise Line‘s H2GLOW Party is billed as “the hottest deck party under the stars”. Think South Beach meets Ibiza! The party has been a huge hit on Norwegian Breakaway and Norwegian Getaway, and will be extended across the fleet.
Other Cruise Features with Massive Millennial appeal
Norwegian Breakaway Ropes Course
Expanded sports decks & high-adrenaline activities - Outdoor facilities include waterparks, ropes courses, zip lines, rock-climbing walls, bungee jumping, a surfing machine and simulated sky diving.
Deeper destination experiences: Cruise lines are adding more active and adventure excursions ashore with longer times in port (including some overnights). And of course, they get to visit several ports during their cruise – every day is a new adventure!
Shorter cruises: More 4 and 5-night cruises on a greater variety of ships appeal to busy Millennials.
Less structure: Norwegian broke tradition with “Freestyle Cruising”and now other cruise lines are following suit with flexible dining times, more entertainment and dining options, and less emphasis on formal nights.
More for You to Love, Too!
Celebrity Solstice Theater
- Meals Included - no budget-busting menus to plan! (Per person surcharges apply at some specialty restaurants)
- Sports and Onboard Activities Includes – built-in team building opportunities
- Entertainment Included -no need to worry about logistics, tickets (with exception of Carnival LIVE and dinner theater), transportation costs etc.
- Multiple Destinations with Minimal Travel Hassle – your “floating hotel” transports you from one alluring port to another
- No Meeting Room or A/V Expenses – Yep, included!
- More experiences, more wows, more opportunities for your Millennial attendees to connect and bond – built in!
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