With the oldest members of this generation just entering into adulthood, Generation Z truly represents the future of travel. But their influence has already been and continues to be felt across all segments of the travel industry. Many people mistakenly think of them as Millennials, a potential problem for hoteliers who may make that oversight. Generation Z is fundamentally different in a number of distinctive ways.
Comprised of young people born between the late 1990s and the 2010s, Generation Z as a group has no memory of a world, which is not digitally connected by the Internet and social media. This fact is at the core of their upbringing and has profoundly impacted their short life experience so far. Equally significant in shaping this generation has been the reality of growing up and approaching their adulthood in the aftermath of the Great Recession. This has made Gen Z particularly budget-conscious. Also, because they are so young and new to the workplace, they have not reached their prime earning potential yet. Research from Expedia Media Solutions has found that over 80 percent of Gen Z takes budgetary constraints into consideration when planning travel, with over 90 percent seeking the best deals possible.
Gen Zers have been influencing the travel and vacation plans of their parents, who are largely Gen Xers, for quite some time now. Many of this generation still travel on their parents’ dime, but directly impact the travel decisions of their families. Generation Z itself is also the most social media-influenced generation of all with nearly 90 percent stating so, according to Expedia. In this generation’s experience, rather than becoming electronically connected at an early age, Gen Zers have always been connected.
This makes technology truly a part of the Gen Z makeup, rather than merely a nice convenience. They trust the information they gather across social media and make their decisions accordingly. Therefore, since they are the most likely of generations to seek travel information online, it is imperative for hoteliers to reach out to Generation Z in this manner. Preferred social channels for this generation are Snapchat and Instagram since they mostly view Facebook as being for older folks. But more importantly for hotels, their social network choices are an indication of what motivates them, visual stimuli. Travel for Gen Zers offers exciting possibilities to capture and share unique moments and experiences through images.
Generation Z is truly committed to traveling and seeing the world around them. Despite their young age, only Millennials spend more days per year traveling than Generation Z. Like other generations of travelers, they are seeking authentic experiences. But Generation Z does so with an unmatched sense of adventure maybe, in the end, due to their youth.