With the busy summer holiday season shortly upon us, we take a closer look at this generation's unique travel habits and what their changing preferences mean for travel and hospitality industries.
This year, Gen Z travellers will outnumber Millennial travellers for the first time ever. This might surprise you since Gen Zs are known for being frugal, but when it comes to travel, they’re willing to save and spend. In fact, a recent UNiDAYS study found that 99% of Gen Zs like to travel, and 51 percent travel fifty or more miles every one to three months. This means it’s more important than ever for brands and agencies to understand the travel habits of a generation that, on average, takes 2.8 leisure trips per year, according to Expedia.
As the bustling summer holiday season quickly approaches, brands should take note of students’ travel plans and aspirations. Some might surprise you.
Gen Zs think outside the beach
73% of students in the U.K. plan to travel this spring and summer, but they won’t necessarily follow the lead of older generations. Whereas their parents and grandparents might have opted for the luxury of a stress-free beach vacation, Gen Z craves something a bit more immersive. True—Gen Zs do go to the beach—but it’s likely not their top destination.
UNiDAYS recently asked Gen Z travellers what their top priority travel spots were. Some of these destinations won’t come as any surprise to you, but some probably will. In keeping with tradition, 36% of students still plan on escaping to the beach as soon as possible. However, Gen Z ranked destinations such as Italy, USA, Japan, Germany and Romania, as their top picks.
Gen Zs want to do more than party while travelling
Gen Zs like to have fun, but their interests certainly don't end at partying. In fact, activities like eating out, sightseeing and immersing themselves in local cultures rank higher than partying, which is distant sixth place in Gen Z’s minds. Perhaps this is related to their quest for "Instagrammable moments" or their “fear of missing out” on unique travel experiences. Make no mistake: The beach still holds water with Gen Z, but so does a bustling megalopolis like Bangkok.
Gen Zs stick to strict travel budgets
The same UNiDAYS study found that Gen Zs have an average budget of between $250 and $750 for each of their holiday expenses, which means (in general) they’re looking for destinations that offer affordability and extra value.
It’s important to note, though, that there are different ways of measuring “value”. While beach vacationing is often quite affordable, the same could also be said for cities like Rome, whose ancient monuments and millennia-old buildings aren’t costly to access and offer Instagram-worthy optics. A £50 flight to Mallorca might seem like a steal compared to an Italian holiday, but given the added cultural value of a place like Rome, the definition of value is debatable.
Moreover, only 18 percent stated they were reliant on somebody else to pay for their holiday. Their financial self-reliance gives them all the more incentive to spend their money wisely on holiday, albeit with the occasional splurge.
Gen Z’s holidaying habits are different than any generation before them, which means their destinations and activities of choices will be, too. A beach holiday might once have been a favourite pastime of students, but this year, the travel industry should shift its thinking. It’s not all about Ibiza and partying anymore.