Different generations approach travel differently. Now is an excellent time to target different audiences, especially those looking for more meaningful experiences. Let’s take a closer look at Gen Z travel trends for 2023.
With US travel and tourism spending rising last year and looking to surpass pre-pandemic levels by 11.3%, it’s an excellent time to target different audiences, especially those looking for more meaningful experiences.
One group you may consider trying to attract and engage with are the Gen Z’s – the generation born between 1997 and early 2012 – a highly adaptable age group with the oldest turning 26; and the youngest 11 this year.
Different generations approach travel differently – especially incoming younger generations. They’ve got varying priorities, values, and overall outlook on what they want to get from their travels. And 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. It’s hard to say with any kind of certainty, but there are some noteworthy trends that are already taking hold.
- Gen Z characteristics: 82% said they trust a company more if it uses images of actual customers, giving them a chance to see a new place through the eyes of locals. Try to promote your venue’s most appealing features and hone in on what sets you apart.
- Gen Z purchasing behaviour: 68% read multiple reviews before making a purchase, so do ensure you’re staying on top of guest feedback.
- Gen Z money habits: Experiences matter! 65% of Gen Z respondents said they would rather take a dream vacation than purchase a new car.
- Gen Z leisure behaviour: And 97% use social media as their primary source of inspiration so make sure you’re on the right channels. Tiktok is becoming the most popular form of social media being used by Gen Z.
“This travel segment has increased by as much as 30% from previous years and we are seeing more & more Gen Z travelers and guests searching our website for travel deals,” says David Shevil, Group Head of Marketing for Premier Hotels & Resorts.
Generation Z has big travel plans for 2023. These young travellers prefer solo travel over traveling with friends and appreciate great culture in affordable destinations rather than luxury resorts.
According to the European Travel Commission, young travelers are more likely to:
- Return and add more value to destinations over time;
- Discover new destinations;
- Incorporate technology on their trips;
- Gain personal cultural benefits and contribute to the places that they visit.
Commonly known as life enthusiasts, they are more likely to return to a destination over time due to their focus on the quality of travel accommodation (their self-reward) and the type of shopping and nightlife while on holiday.
Explore the unexplored
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. But what exactly do those travel changes look like?
It’s worth noting that Gen Z adventurers are traveling because they may find the next place to expand business. 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!
If businesses want to gain Gen Z’s attention, they need to work on improving their user experience and prioritize treating them as an individual audience.
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.
This prioritization 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. An unprecedented online presence, crazy growth in the tech world, and a heightened global awareness all contribute to the shift in their values, expectations, and travel trends.
A new generation of values-based travel behaviour
With new generations come 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. They’re more concerned with volunteering, eco-tourism, or attractions that partner with local causes than other demographics. Why? 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. And 72% said they’re more likely to buy from a company that contributes to social causes.
According to Telus International, Gen Z is more concerned about sustainability than previous generations when it comes to traveling. 56% said they’d want to stay in green or eco-friendly accommodations, and 60% are looking for more environmentally friendly means of transportation once they arrive. 54% of Gen Zers say they’re willing to pay higher rates to use a travel service provider that demonstrates environmental responsibility, compared to 48% of millennials.
“The power of a strong l media presence, effective online communication, and personalized customer service and support cannot be understated when working with this audience,” Shevil shares.
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. If you pay attention now, you may be ahead of the curve.