Different generations approach travel differently—especially incoming younger generations. They’ve got different priorities, different values, and an overall different outlook on what they want to get from their travels.
Keeping up with these changes is no simple task—but it’s key for meeting the evolving needs of travelers.
We’ve put together 33 key statistics relating to Gen Z and its approach to travel—but first, let’s take a look at who makes up Generation Z.
What is Generation Z?
Generation Z—abbreviated as Gen Z—refers to the generation born between 1997 and 2012. This highly adaptable age group has a diverse mix of ages, with the oldest turning 25 this year and the youngest turning 10.
Gen Z is the first to be born at the native level in the digital age, and is commonly known as the generation with an intuitive knack for all things technology. An unprecedented online presence, crazy growth in the tech world, and a heightened global awareness all contribute to the shift in consumer values, expectations, and travel trends.
Gen Z is actively redefining what it means to travel—embracing their unique needs is essential to understanding the future of the tourism and travel industry.
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
Generation Z are a key incoming demographic for travel service providers of all kinds to consider—let’s take a look at the stats that define their travel.
Gen Z: the next generation of travelers
Generation Z are a big consideration for the tourism industry as they move towards becoming a key market segment. Let’s take a look at how they plan, book, and manage travel.
- Gen Z travels an average of 29 days per year (Hotelmize).
- 72% of Gen-Zers are planning on or thinking about splurging on a huge getaway trip in 2022, followed by Millennials (68%), Gen-Xers (60%), and Boomers (51%) (Avail).
- 51% of Gen Z travelers are planning international trips while 37% of them have plans for domestic vacations (Hotelmize).
- 56% of Gen Z travel to visit family (Condor Ferries).
- 40% of Gen Z vacation to relax and avoid stress (Condor Ferries).
- 65% of Gen Zers ranked ’travel and seeing the world’ as the most important way to spend their money (Telus International).
- Experiences drive decisions as more than eight in ten American Gen Z and Millennial travelers are seeking a unique experience for their next trip (Expedia).
- 81% of Gen Z cite budget as a factor when making their booking decisions, compared to only 57% of baby boomers (Condor Ferries).
- Gen Z travelers spend about 25% of their travel budget on flights (Condor Ferries).
- 42% of American Gen Zers—in general—state that they interact more with their phones than they do with people (European Travel Commission).
- 90% of Gen Z say that their international travel decisions are influenced by social media (Condor Ferries).
- Nearly six in ten Gen Z travelers used their smartphones for travel inspiration and research (Expedia).
- The smartphone is the most important device for Generation Z when researching, booking, or canceling trips (European Travel Commission).
- Gen Zers are particularly demanding when it comes to personalized service and the need to feel ‘understood’ by the companies they buy from (European Travel Commission).
- Gen Z’s have a stronger tendency (37% more likely) to book a flight from travel brands or travel agents after receiving a personalized notification (European Travel Commission).
- An analysis of Gen Zers’ booking patterns shows a clear preference for using online travel agencies (OTAs) (European Travel Commission).
- Among Gen Z, the top reasons for choosing a travel destination are value for money (47%), availability of cheap flights (45%), and safety and security (42%) (Travel Agent Central).
Accommodation: Gen Z mixes budget and luxury
When it comes to finding a place to stay during their travels, Gen Z enjoys a luxury night’s sleep.
- Although Gen Z is largely budget-focused, their accommodation tendencies paint a different picture. Upscale (4-5-star) hotels are preferred by Gen Zers when set against the relatively cheap cost of a flight (European Travel Commission).
- Across the Asia Pacific region, Gen Z guests make up the fastest-growing guest group for Airbnb Experiences, with guest bookings in the region growing more than 3x year-over-year (Airbnb).
- In comparison to flights, quality accommodation may be perceived as an opportunity for self-reward by Gen Zers. While flights are perceived merely as means to get from A to B (European Travel Commission).
Gen Z travel in a post-pandemic world
The pandemic halted all things travel. Now that things are slowly returning to a new normal,
- 71% of Gen Z plan to travel more—or the same amount—in 2022 (Avail).
- Nearly two-thirds of Gen Z are planning ‘revenge travel’—travel to make up for time lost—after the pandemic (Expedia Group).
- Gen Z is more flexible than Millennials when it comes to COVID safety regulations when traveling (Hotelmize).
- As the pandemic continues to subside, Gen Z, who were already frequent travelers before Covid-19, will be at the forefront of the return to leisure travel and are playing a critical role in rebuilding efforts. (Expedia Group).
A new generation of values-based travel behavior
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.
- Younger travelers are more likely than older generations to consider sustainable travel options (Expedia Group).
- 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 (Telus International).
- 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 (Telus International).
- Over 40% of Gen Zers agree that flights should be taxed or that the number of flights should be reduced to promote responsible travel (European Travel Commission).
- Two out of three Gen Z Americans are looking for the company through which they book travel to value diversity and inclusion (Expedia Group).
Gen Z vs Millennials: Some Key Differences
Gen Z is often compared to their slightly older sibling–Millennials (born between 1981 and 1996).
Gen Z has taken a turn away from the individualist Millennial generation towards a greater interest in a collectivist societal design—which we can see in their traveling tendencies.
- Both Gen Z and Millennials agree that budgeting is the most restricting limiting factor when planning a trip (Hotelmize).
- Gen Zers plan to spend more money on travel plans than any other generation in 2022, with 72% of them saying that they are planning on spending the same, or more, than they did before Covid-19 (Avail).
- Unlike Millennials who tend to be more open to mixing business and pleasure, Gen Z is more interested in keeping work far away from their vacation (Hotelmize).
- Gen Z is more flexible when considering COVID-19 safety regulations and doesn’t let pandemic complications affect their travel abroad (Hotelmize).
Understanding Gen Z is key for the future of travel
Preparing for incoming changes to traveler priorities is key for providing top-notch travel services. Whether it’s New York or New Delhi—Gen Z is doing travel differently.
The power of a strong social media presence, effective online communication, and a personalized approach to customer service and support cannot be understated when working with Gen Z.
It’s not just about the destination, after all—the journey is just as important.
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