Gen Z Travel: How can Brands Reach Gen Z Travellers in 2022?

Gen Z travel - it’s finally back. How can travel brands ensure they attract Gen Z travellers in 2022? We’re talking about what they want, and how to reach them.
Fanbytes | Gen Z travel

In 30 seconds:

  • The story of Gen Z Travel was cut short by the pandemic – but the industry is in a great position to bounce back even stronger than before.
  • That’s because younger generations are bored of staying home; they’re ready to get back out there and enjoy the experiences they’ve missed out on.
  • To attract Gen Z travellers, brands should consider tailoring their online output to highlight the kind of adventures they’re offering out in the real world.

Prior to the pandemic putting everything on hold, Gen Z were already taking almost as many trips as Millennials

That’s pretty impressive, considering their age difference. But it speaks to a wider trend – brands will already be aware that the Millennial demographic became known for their tendency to spend more on experiences over possessions, and Gen Zers are even more interested in searching out a good time rather than a good buy.

For brands wanting to attract Gen Z travellers and holiday-makers, this spells a great opportunity. Since 43% of Gen Z cite travel as a top priority, capturing Gen Z markets could well be the strongest area of potential growth. 

How Gen Z are approaching post-pandemic travel

The travel industry was one of the hardest hit by the long period of lockdowns and Coronavirus-related restrictions. Now that the world is slowly opening up again – and lists of bucket list destinations are more of a possibility than a pipe dream – everyone is looking to Gen Z travellers

That’s because it’s expected that Gen Z will lead the charge of the travel resurgence. Bored of missing out due to travel restrictions, nearly two-thirds of Gen Zers are planning to take “revenge travel” trips, and one study by Travel Pulse found that 72% of them intend to spend more, or at least the same amount, as pre-pandemic times. 

That same percentage, 72%, are also planning to splash out on a really big trip in 2022 – proof that, post-pandemic, Gen Z are ready to make up for lost time. 

How much does Gen Z spend on travel?

Gen Z travel statistics show that this cohort of travellers are historically willing to spend among the most on travel – with some studies claiming they average around $750 per trip

And Gen Z airbnb research found that, even in 2020, almost a third of those surveyed were planning to increase their spending on experiences – particularly women and young adults. 

As to where they’re looking to spend that money, interestingly, Gen Z is known to favour online travel agents (OTAs) above any other available online booking channel. In fact, research from Expedia found that Gen Z travellers are turning to online travel sources for trip planning 30% more than pre-pandemic

Plus, 46% of Gen Z travellers say they are likely to spend up to $100 annually to join a travel subscription service. 

For brands seeking to understand Gen Z travel behaviors, remember this is the generation accustomed to subscriptions for everything from Netflix to gym classes. So whether it means upping your social game or ensuring that your products are easily available online, it pays to be digital. 

Gen Z Travel: The trends to watch out for

Much of Gen Z’s online life is governed by trends – so knowing what’s “in” should help form the basis of your Gen Z travel marketing campaign. 

TikTok, their favourite social media platform, is often ground zero for new and rising trends. That’s true for travel trends, too, so exploring #TravelTok can ensure your marketing campaign hits the mark with younger audiences. After all – it probably won’t surprise you to learn that their priorities differ from previous generations’. 

Here are 5 trends that are making waves amongst Gen Z travellers

1. Unique experiences

Gen Z are looking for moments, not things. A McKinsey study found that Generation Z are motivated by a search for truth and authenticity. Whether that’s individual or communal truth – it means they’re drawn to experiences with something to teach them. 

This love of adventure is seeing a rise in holidays that promise more than just sun-tanning and laps of the pool. Now, more than 80% of American Gen Z and Millennial travellers have said they’re looking for a unique experience for their next trip.  

Gen Z travellers want to try new things – they want to learn, and expand their knowledge of places and experiences. 

2. Summer wardrobes

One element of travel plans that Gen Zers definitely don’t overlook is deciding their summer wardrobe. 

Fashion is an industry seeing huge disruption as a result of Gen Z’s buying practices, and their priorities are reflected in their social media posts about sustainable wardrobes and anti-fast fashion brands. 

That said, celebrating individuality and personal style is still hugely important for Gen Z, so any brand that can hit the perfect balance is sure to gain a happy audience amongst this new generation

3. Eco-Conscious experiences

Sustainability is a priority amongst younger travellers; 67% of Gen Z and 64% of Millennials have said that they are considering sustainable travel options. 

@thesorrygirls do you have any good sustainable travel hacks? comment them below👇☺️ #sustainable #travel #sustainability #traveltiktok #ecofriendly ♬ Just a Cloud Away - Pharrell Williams

By centering sustainability in your marketing drive, your brand can highlight an understanding of Gen Z’s priorities, and benefit from their increased loyalty towards brands that seek to operate ethically. 

4. The social media effect

We talk a lot about how Gen Z are the first generation of true “digital natives”, but it continues to alter the way they engage with industries of all kinds. 

Gen Z consumers are overwhelmingly swayed by what they see online. 82% of consumers are now trusting social media to guide their purchasing decisions, and nearly six in ten Gen Z travellers have used their smartphone for travel inspiration and research. 

That’s huge news for brands seeking to reach a generation with a spending power of $143 billion.

With that in mind… 

How brands can reach Gen Z travel fans with influencers

Clearly, Gen Z are all but packed and ready to go. Now all that remains is to show them why they should consider your brand in their travel preferences

The most powerful tool in Gen Z travel marketing? Influencers. 

That’s because influencers are more trusted than any form of traditional marketing – and since they come equipped with engaged audiences, understand the platforms they work on, and are often behind the viral trends that push consumer decisions, working with an influencer can supercharge your travel campaign. 

Here are three tips to getting started: 

1. Find your niche

Micro-communities are huge on social media, especially on TikTok. There are specific communities for almost anything you can think of – including travel. 

If you’re promoting cruises – there’s a niche for that. Camping? Whole TikTok communities exist to exchange tips and tricks. Five star luxury hotel life? There are specific influencers for that. Travel companies, travel destinations and consumer brands reaching Gen Z travellers would do well to investigate these highly-engaged communities for content inspiration as well as a richer understanding of their audience.

By finding the right influencer for your campaign, you can ensure that your content is reaching audiences who are guaranteed to engage with your kind of business – cutting down on wasted time and giving your campaign a boost.

2. Get the timing right

As is true with any form of experiential marketing, timing is everything. Marketing an event – be it a music festival or a holiday – means convincing audiences that you’re offering the right place, at the right time. 

That means you should create a social media strategy that works all year-round – not just during the summer. Teens have a different relationship with holidays than older age groups: there’s more rite of passage. They’ve seen the “older kids” go on group holidays after exams, so they’ll be thinking about what their friendship group will do months, if not years, in advance.

By posting consistently, and gearing your content around the calendar, you can build momentum that has audiences desperate to get involved. 

Working with an influencer can mean building a bank of content that can then be posted over a longer period – ensuring that momentum can be established over the course of the year. 

3. Highlight a photo or video opportunity

Influencers are skilled at creating content that promotes specific lifestyles ( international travel being a key example), and Gen Z are all content creators at heart. It’s one reason they love platforms like Instagram and TikTok – they aren’t just audiences there, 83% of TikTokers have created their own videos, too. 

Emphasising the photo-ready destinations and your potential to add sparkle to their social media output taps into Gen Z’s love of sharing their life online. They’re digital-first, and their online output is often primed for a mix of nostalgia with some good old showing off. Give them an enviable backdrop worthy of the main feed of these apps, and they’re sure to love you. 

Gen Z: mapping the future of travel

Common sense dictates that Gen Zers are directing the course of most industries as they grow into the biggest consumer generation

Having survived the pandemic, understanding Gen Z’s concerns and motivations will prove key to re-establishing the travel industry; it is by tailoring experiences to meet their demands for eco-conscious travel and social media-ready adventures that travel brands can ensure that Gen Z travel remains a healthy industry for years to come. 

Getting into the mindset of Gen Z is our speciality. If you’re looking to reach this younger generation as they make their travel plans, get in contact. We’d love to talk you through how we’ll make your brand the top of their holiday wish list.

Ready for more tips on engaging with Gen Z? We have everything marketers need to know to make Summer 2022 a success on social:

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