What’s Driving Gen Z’s Travel Choices?

If you’re wondering what’s driving Gen Z’s travel choices, then StudentUniverse may be able to offer some insights.

Using insights from the recent State of Student Travel Report as well as owned data, the Flight Centre Travel Group company has outlined travel trends to watch amongst Gen Z travellers.

The trends that StudentUniverse is tracking include:

Gen Z Travellers Are Keen On Vocational Travel — Insights from the most recent State of Student Travel Report indicated that 87% of travellers aged 18-25 believe that working holidays would improve their career prospects with 78% indicating they would undertake such experiences if presented with the opportunity. With the closure of borders during the pandemic it became evident that tourism was not just a valuable economic driver, but that it was also an opportunity for exchange of cultures and knowledge. In an ever more connected world, Gen Z is eager to expand their horizons and experience new things firsthand. But rather than just traveling, these students are seeking out opportunities to immerse themselves in local life through work opportunities, which not only provide tangible experience but also allows them to improve skill sets such as languages. 

Gen Z Is Staying Longer and Spending More — According to insights, in 2017 Gen Z spent an average 52 days in destination and while the pandemic impacted these numbers, StudentUniverse reports its seeing trends that trips are growing in length. Further to this, Gen Z is placing more emphasis on the value of experiences, so not only are they keen on travelling but they’re also actively seeking out unique tours and activities within their destination. While they may be more budget conscious, the length of time means they often end up spending more than other travelers. Data from Tourism Australia for example shows that while Gen Z makes up 27% of all visitor arrivals, they account for 45% of all traveller spend.  

Cultural Experiences Are Exceedingly Popular Compared to Getaways of RevelryMany people associate Gen Z with the “Spring Break” crowd. These young travelers are often perceived as looking for a cheap, fun getaway, opting for all-inclusives and traveling to events such as dance festivals and yacht week parties. However, per the latest State of Student Travel Report, youth travelers ranked partying/clubbing at the bottom of the priority list with sightseeing and cultural experiences ranking as the top two motivations. That’s not to say that young people are giving up Spring Break but rather that they’re savvy, dynamic travelers who see great value in cultural experiences. The pandemic has contributed to this shift as young travelers recognized that the ability to see new places and experience different cultures is a privilege not to be taken for granted. 

Gen Z Is Increasingly Turning to Video Content It’s long been accepted that one of the key marketing channels for reaching Gen Z is via social media. From dresses that “break the internet” to lip glosses that sell out in a matter of days, social media has proven itself to be a powerful marketing and sales tool. But while just a few years ago a comprehensive social strategy meant having a presence on the main three: Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, Gen Z is prioritizing those platforms that focus on video. When it comes to travel inspiration Instagram, TikTok and YouTube lead in the top three with 72%, 64% and 56% usage respectively. What this indicates is that video is the most powerful digital tool in the arsenal for travel brands and the place to reach young travellers is on these video heavy platforms. 

Messaging & Information Is Especially Important for Gen Z — Gen Z has largely grown up online and as such, they are used to having information readily available at their fingertips. This means they have certain expectations for their online experience with a travel brand, and the way to build brand loyalty will rely on having a quality user experience with adequate information and clear messaging. When asked to rank which pet peeves are most damaging to one’s perception of a brand, Gen Z travellers reported hidden or additional costs, unclear cancellation policies and poor website or app experience, amongst the most significant pet peeves. What this means for travel brands is that it’s worth investing in a quality digital user experience with clearly outlined information on costs, exclusions and policies.

For the full report, go to https://www.studentuniverse.com/state-of-student-travel-2023