TT16 - Ross Honeywill side viewFollow the money. That’s the message from Dr Ross Honeywill, who asks: “Why would you reach out to sub-optimal low-value customers when you can attract high-value customers?

“Why wouldn’t anyone want to follow the money rather than the latest demographic hoax?”

Good question.

Dr Honeywill, who gave a compelling presentation at TRAVELtech recently, is Executive Director of the Centre for Social Economics and a social scientist who says the consumer economy has “bifurcated” into The Traditional Economy and The Desire Economy.

Chart - Ross Honeywill, economic bifurcation...traditonal economy v. desire economy

He says the two types of consumers are “as different as buttons and truffles”.


Chart - Ross Honeywill, traditonal economy v. desire economy

The key take-out is that members of the Desire Economy – tech-savvy, ambitious and aspirational – spend $2.60 for every $1.00 outlaid by their more conservative Traditional Economy peers.

Dr Honeywill says while those in the Desire Economy do tend to be younger, age is no barrier to entry and is cynical of the hype surrounding Millennials.

“The whole generational thing is definitely a myth,” Dr Honeywill says.

“If you take a Baby Boomer in the Desire Economy they are three times more likely to be early adopters of technology than Millennials in the Traditional Economy.

“The cliche that Millennials are the tech generation is patently untrue – 50% are in the Traditional Economy.”

Dr Honeywill believes it is a “huge risk” for travel and tourism businesses to develop products such as hotels or accommodation specifically targetted at Millennials.

“The best marketing techniques to reach this valuable cohort are magazines, earned media, digital of course, even alternative cinemas. Avoid TV, radio and the tabloid press.

“Never use the word ‘ultimate’. Never over-promise.”

Stop shouting, he says, they can’t hear you.

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