Different generations approach travel differently, especially incoming younger generations.
They’ve got varying priorities, values, and overall outlooks on what they want to get from their travels.
The Gen Z’s, the generation born between 1997 and early 2012, are a highly adaptable age group, with the oldest turning 26; and the youngest 11 this year. It’s the Gen Z traveller that is actively redefining what it means to travel that, in turn, will affect the economy, businesses, and people across the globe.
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According to David Shevil, Group Head of Marketing for Premier Hotels & Resorts, the Gen Z travel segment has increased by as much as 30% from previous years, and they’re seeing more Gen Z travellers and guests searching their website for travel deals.
These young travellers prefer solo travel over travelling with friends and appreciate great culture in affordable destinations rather than luxury resorts.
According to the European Travel Commission, young travellers are more likely to discover new destinations, return, and add more value to destinations over time, incorporate technology on their trips and gain personal cultural benefits and contribute to the places that they visit.
So here are 3 trends to look out for when it comes to Gen Z travellers.
1. Explore the unexplored
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“As immersive explorers, there’s a growing desire from Gen Z to explore the unexplored. They want to know where they can go that hasn’t already been covered,” said Shevil.
He said it’s worth noting that Gen Z adventurers are travelling because they may find the next place to expand their business, and this is a reason that brand-new tourism hubs have begun to arise, providing new opportunities.
“For Gen Z, the journey is just as important as the destination. They value a high-end travel experience where all of their needs are met on a flexible timeline, avoiding the hassles of commercial travel. Basically, they want to start their vacation as soon as they leave for the airport,” said Shevil.
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If businesses want to gain Gen Z’s attention, they need to work on improving their user experience and prioritise treating them as an individual audience, he advised.
2. Technology rules
Having been born into a world of 24/7 access to the internet, Gen Z is the most digital-savvy generation, with an intuitive knack for all things tech.
“Much like most other industries, travel has seen some incredibly convenient technology-based innovations in recent years. If there’s an app that makes travel easier, Gen Z is highly likely to make up a large portion of that app’s most frequent users. They’re booking their accommodations, checking flights, and finding amazing deals on travel with the help of technology,” said Shevil.
He said this prioritisation of technology should be a hint to other industries to get on board.
“If your business is still missing an app or has an unreliable website, you’re losing your Gen Z audience. They’re always using their devices, which means you need to meet them where they are and ensure you’re optimizing everything for mobile,” he said.
3. A new generation of values-based travel behaviour
And finally, when it comes to new values and ideals, Gen Z is no different.
“In fact, value-based decisions are a defining attribute of this generation and one that guides its travel decisions. Gen Z is doing travel differently – it’s not just about the destination, after all — the journey is just as important. And Gen Z is more likely to give back to a community or a purpose,” said Shevil.
He notes that they’re more concerned with volunteering, eco-tourism, or attractions that partner with local causes than other demographics and one theory is that Gen Z grew up with an awareness of climate change and caring for the planet, so they are likely to focus more on sustainability, ethics, inclusivity, and responsible travel as 72% said they’re more likely to buy from a company that contributes to social causes.
With each generation, travel is shaped in a new way. As Gen Z’s habits and preferences grow in prevalence, so will their impact on travel and that impact is likely to change business for years to come.