Renate Engelbrecht
Content producer
4 minute read
9 May 2022
2:05 pm

What does the Generation Z traveller want?

Renate Engelbrecht

Seeing that Generation Z is almost grown up now, the spotlight is slowly shifting from Millennials to them as a compass for travel trends.

Generation Z traveller. Image: iStock

The younger generation – Gen Z – is increasingly re-shaping the realm of travel with their emerging purchasing power and while there are similarities between them and the Millennials, travel experts need to make significant changes to their marketing strategies when it comes to attracting and retaining the interest of the descerning Genertation Z guest.

According to Guy Stehlik, Chief Executive Officer at BON Hotels, there are a couple of things to take note of when it comes to these travellers, considering the change in needs and defining travel habits and behaviours.

What differentiates Gen Z from Millennials in the world of travel?

Generation Z comprises of individuals who were born between 1997 and 2012.

They were born into the age of technology, with the internet and social media at their fingertips from an early age. In fact, they don’t know a world without it.

Stehlik says it is therefore not surprising that technology plays a crucial role in this generation’s travel habits and preferences.

“This is the main similarity between Gen-Z-ers and Millennials – they rely predominantly on the internet to make their travel decisions and to book their holiday.”

Travel technology
Travel technology. Image: iStock

Both these generations value flexibility and independence, according to a European Travel Commission market study, which is why online booking is so attractive to both markets.

As they rely heavily on the convenience of technology in their day-to-day lives, it makes sense that they favour online travel agencies when it comes to booking trips.

It’s a one-stop shop for all their travel requirements – from flights and accommodation to ground transport and leisure activities.

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It is interesting, though that the two generations feel differently about travel in a post-Covid world. Based on statistics gathered by travel booking platform, GetYourGuide, more than half of Generation Z travellers are planning international trips, where more than half of Millennials don’t intend to venture further afield just yet. Generation Z is also more likely to judge a destination by their values rather than passively taking inspiration for future travel from friends, family and the internet.

What are Generation Z’s travel wants and needs?

Stehlik says: “For Gen Z-ers, it’s not just about finding a hotel offering excellent value for money. These travellers will be taking various other factors into account when making a booking, such as the hotel’s inclusivity policy and how it’s taking action to reduce the establishment’s environmental impact.”

Climate change, mental health challenges and equality are contemporary issues of great importance to this generation and their opinions around these topics have a direct impact on their travel-related wants and needs.

Generation Z hopes to make the most of their travels, with maintaining optimal mental health being a top priority. Destinations that can help them de-stress, relax and re-centre will therefore enjoy more attention. Studies also show that unique experiences are important to Generation Z.

Unique experiences like gorilla tracking are at the order of the day
Unique experiences like gorilla tracking are at the order of the day. Image: iStock

They also demand that technology be integrated into every seam of their travel journey, from navigating through the airport to checking into their hotel or requesting room service via an app.

How can destinations attract Generation Z?

Possibly one of the most important messages to take away from recent studies on Generation Z, is that embracing technology is non-negotiable in an ever-evolving travel market. Pay close attention to ensure equality and sustainability within your establishment.

“Not only should you be taking this action, but you should also be communicating clearly that you are on every platform possible. Make sure prospective travellers know where and how to download your hotel’s app and how you’ve updated your guest rooms with the environment in mind. These details are what could tip the scales in your establishment’s direction when a travel decision is being made,” says Stehlik.

Travel experiences for Generation Z
Travel experiences for Generation Z. Image: iStock

Also keep in mind that in today’s world, it’s not only Generation Z-ers older than 18 who are making travel decisions.

No, teenagers and pre-teens also chip in when parents are planning trips, seeing that the internet and travel information are merely a click away. And, these travellers’ purchasing power will only increase over time.

Like Guy Stehlik says: “They are the travellers of both the now and the future, after all.”