7 insights into Gen Z travel habits, expectations
New research from Booking.com highlights how the newest generation of travelers hungers for international experiences.
GLOBAL REPORT—The time in which Generation Z will be impactful on travel is fast approaching, and new research from Booking.com highlights how many members plan to be active international travelers over the next decade.
The generation, defined in Booking’s research as people between 16 and 24, has a growing appetite for travel, with 39% planning to “have visited at least three different continents over the next 10 years” and 30% planning to study abroad. Not surprisingly, 67% say they’re “excited for all the places they’ll travel to in the future.”
Speaking with HNN via email, Robert Cole, senior research analyst for Phocuswright and founder of RockCheetah, said it’s important to look at Gen Z early in their traveling lives.
He said he sees this phenomenon with his own daughter, whose travel planning process boils down to identifying the ideal experience, setting a budget and finding the best value for that budget.
“My assessment is that Gen Z isn’t that much different from other generations; it is simply a life phase,” he said. “The one difference is technology, which makes trip planning much easier.”
According to Booking’s research, 69% of the 22,000 surveyed Gen Z’ers have already compiled lists of things they’d like to do and places they’d like to travel, meaning if you’re marketing has been tailored to woo the next generation of travel, those efforts might soon pay off.
The data reveals this generation heavily favors planned travel, with only 20% saying they “opt to travel impulsively and don’t plan in advance.” The generation is actually more likely than Baby Boomers to have a so-called “bucket list” of travel destinations, Booking notes, and millennials are much more likely to impulsively travel than their Gen Z counterparts.
Travel is a top priority
Travel seems to be winning out in the battle for share of wallet among Gen Z in some surprising ways. While younger people are often presumed to have a burning desire for the newest technology and varied food-and-beverage experiences, travel ranks as more important than either of those spending options, the Booking.com research shows.
A total of 68% said they rank travel as a spending priority over dining out at restaurants and 58% said they rank it over technology.
Travel also outranks spa and beauty treatments, furniture and homewares, and clothes, fashion and shoes as a spending option.
A generation of solo travelers
Roughly a third of those surveyed plan to go on solo trips, with roughly the same amount saying they prefer solo travel over group travel.
More female members of Gen Z (36%) said they are likely to travel solo than male members (32%).
Want adventure, will travel
Members of Gen Z don’t just want to travel; they want to go on adventures.
A majority, 56%, say they want “an adventure experience from their travels, such as paragliding or bungee jumping,” while 52% plan on trekking to an extreme location.
Travel is a career driver
Gen Z’s significant appetite for travel could buoy not just leisure travel, but also the long-term outlook for business travel. Booking.com’s research notes that a majority of those surveyed (54%) say “the opportunity to travel for work is important when selecting a job,” and slightly more (57%) want “a job where they get to experience other cultures.”
Sustainability, impact are top of mind
Hotels and other business that have invested in sustainable and environmentally friendly practices are poised to enjoy more than their fair share of business from Gen Z, according to the research, with 54% saying the “environmental impact traveling has on a destination is an important factor when deciding where to travel.”
That goes hand-in-hand with the 56% who say they want “green or eco-friendly accommodation” during their travels.
Social still matters
A significant minority of respondents (45%) noted they trust judgements of influencers and celebrities, but while social media is heavily used among the generation, there is also a backlash to that trend.
A quarter of those surveyed say they take more than 50 pictures a day while traveling, and 40% say they’re inspired to seek out specific destinations based on Instagram.
But 50% of Gen Z members “believe that too much emphasis is spent on social media when traveling.”