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Gen Z travel is booming! Clear the way, Millennials. There are new kids on the block: Generation Z.

These digital natives are go-getters, ambitious, engaged and ultra-communicators. This is the first generation born and raised in the internet era where being digital savvy is a norm and they are to be the largest group of consumers by 2020.

As Gen Z travel begins to pick up in the travel industry, travel companies need to turn their attention to who they are, what their expectations are, and how to engage with them on digital platforms.

Who is Generation Z?

Gen Z refers to the generation that was born between 1996 and 2010, following the millennials. This means that the oldest Gen Zers are 22 and are entering the workforce.

Gen Z travel is conquering the world!

Market research performed by McCrindle on behalf of Contiki Australasia, a travel company targeting youth travellers, revealed that 79% of Gen Z first travelled overseas before the age of 15.

Generation Z have grown up in a connected and instantaneous environment. It is no surprise that travel is already a priority for this generation.

“This generation is better travelled than ever before. As such, they crave authentic experiences in unique destinations,” said Katrina Barry, Contiki Australia’s managing director. “They want to feel as though they’re amongst the first of their peers to ‘discover’ experiences.” 

Being tech-savvy is for the win!

Gen Z travel

Gen Z’ers are technologically inclined with incredibly short attention spans. They focus on self-education and desire to contribute to make the world a better place. Because technology has always played a major role in their lives, the “get it when you need it” accessibility of online information and resources has impacted nearly every aspect of daily life.

According to Forbes, the younger generation doesn’t just have a shorter attention span; they also juggle more screens. On average, millennials bounce between 3 screens at a time, meanwhile, Generation Z tends to juggle 5 screens at once!

The Social Media Buzz

According to Upfront Analytics, Gen Z prefers Snapchat and Instagram—platforms popular for their photo and video-based content. They watch two times as many videos on mobile as any other demographic, with 70 percent watching two hours of YouTube per day.

Of Gen Zers polled, 90 percent testifies that social media influenced their travel decisions. They consult to social media to discover the most beautiful destinations. Countries that show a high “instagrammability” are most likely to arouse their interest to visit that country.

Travel agents are advised to follow the travel interests of Gen Z by researching the top travel hashtags to uncover the most popular vacation spots in the world.

Be Unique and Authentic

Although Gen Z are budget-conscious, they will spend more for immersive, experiential travel that allows them to experience life as a local, not a tourist. More often than not, they turn to social media for their travel inspirations.

“With youth travel one of the fastest-growing sectors in tourism, the marketing potential of Gen Z can’t be ignored,” said Michael Edwards, chief growth officer of Melbourne-based adventure travel company Intrepid Group. “We find that the most effective way to attract Gen Z travellers is by taking a more targeted and personalised approach. This even ranks above discounts and perks when it comes to achieving this audience’s loyalty.”

Keep up with the Gen Z travel trends!

Have you heard of “Flashpacking”? This is a trend that Gen Z is taking up by storm. Affluent backpackers take along a number of digital devices on their backpacking trips.

When Gen Z travel, it’s most likely that they already have a goal in mind. Of those surveyed, 81 percent noted crossing off bucket list items is very important.

Gen Z’ers prefer to take the road less travelled. 83 percent noted they would travel anywhere that allows them to explore the outdoors and be active. They also prefer to keep travel local. 78 percent opt for off-the-beaten-path locations and rely on recommendations from locals.

Gen Z desires to “do more good” through socially-conscious travel. Travel agents can highlight sustainable travel options for Gen Z itineraries, offering opportunities that support local farmers, tackle humanitarian work, or feed refugees with an airfare purchase.

Key takeaways for travel agents and travel brands

For Gen Z’ers, travel inspiration starts on social media. Ensure you have an active presence on SnapChat, Instagram and YouTube. Moreover, ads and content should be appealing in the first six seconds due to their short attention span.

Focus on messaging. Connecting rather than selling will capture Gen Z’s interest and loyalty.

You need to also create value-driven experiences, which means instead of booking pre-planned tours, offer customized options. Personal preferences and attention to “the little things” make a huge difference.

The sky is the limit…