How Generation Z is shaping the future of travel?

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I think we all agree that adjusting to a new generation is really important for the business growth.

However, it is really hard to catch the right market insights and convert them into a strategy and actions.

It turns out that companies that really tapped into a new trend are now one of the biggest in the Travel Industry. In this article you will discover what young travelers are looking for and how to take a leading role in the travel industry.

What can you learn from this article?

  1. What is Generation Z?
  2. Trends you should consider in 2020
  3. Biggest differences between Geneneration Z and Millenials
  4. Examples of travel companies adjusting to a Generation Z
  5. CEO’s of biggest companies about Gen Z in Travel

Do not let yourself stay behind.

Travel industry market is one of the biggest in the world worth over 7.6 trillion $. Customer preferences changes, new generations are entering the market. Keep reading to learn about their behaviours and expectations.

Source: Bloomberg analysis of the UN World Population Prospects

What is Generation Z?

Generation Z years

Generation Z is a demographic cohort succeeding after Millennials.

The date range given for Generation Z is not precise, years vary according to a source. Looking at all the definitions – the widest date range quotes they are the people born between 1993 to 2015, most of the sources state that the oldest representatives of Generation Z are 23 years old and the youngest are 7 years old in 2020, for example:

1) Pew Research Center defines …Anyone born between 1981 and 1996 (ages 23 to 38 in 2019) is considered a Millennial, and anyone born from 1997 onward is part of a new generation…

2) Bloomberg: Generation Z – people aged roughly 7 to 22 – already accounts for a quarter of the global population. 

3) Forbes: (…) Gen-Z will make up 31% of the worlds population by 2021 and they have deeply formed perceptions and beliefs about anything related to being planet friendly, sustainable and eco-friendly… Generation-Z, or those people born from about 1995-2007…


‚Digital Natives’ meaning

The only thing all sources agree on is that Generation Z representatives have always had access to the internet, contact with technology and interactive devices, which makes this generation Digital Natives as well.

Find a quick list of key insights below:

1) Communicating mainly through an internet devices and aplications

2) Speaking in digital language

3) Looking for personalization, touching their aspirations

4) Impatience, expecting to find and solve things fast

If you want to get more insights about what makes Generation Z so different – take a look at this TedX speech from Harry Beard being Generation Z representative himself.

Why you should care about the Gen Z?

New generation is going to dominate the market in upcoming years. In today’s world, every company has to cope with competition from other firms which offer the same or similar services and products.

The first companies which are going to adopt their offer to the youth’s needs, will get a greater chance to receive the position of the leader.

Based on ‘Uniquely Generation Z What brands should know about today’s youngest consumers’ an Executive IBM Report – „Gen Zers have significant influence on family spendings.”


Generation Z trends you should consider in 2020

1. Travelling to make a difference

Generation Z members wants to be the ones who determine the change in the world. They are attending a volunteer trips to help improve living conditions of people from poor areas all over the world. It is also a great chance for them to visit less popular touristic locations, getting a unique cultural experience in return.

“Z is the generation which is most likely to be a volunteer during travelling (37%)” – research „Gen Z and the future of sustainable travel”

Example: Booking CaresTo empower people to experience the world

More and more companies set up Corporate Social Responsibility Programmes dedicated to a range of social issues , one of them belongs to

‘ To empower people to experience the world, at we want to help travellers explore and enjoy thousands of unique destinations in every corner of the globe. We also seek to contribute to the ongoing health of these same destinations so that future generations can continue to enjoy them for years to come.’

2. Ecological awareness


Generation Z is aware and concerned about climate changes. They want to take responsibility, make wise eco-friendly decisions during daily life and while traveling.

“Six in ten people (63%) look to use more environmentally friendly means of transport once if it means having less of an impact on the ecosystem.” 


a) KLM Royal Dutch Air created a campaign called ‘Fly responsibly’ which encourages customers to fly less in order to reduce carbon emission, using different means of transport, for example a train.

The airline implemented more ecological solutions such as sustainable fuel, which reduces the CO2 emissions from each flight. They did first commercial flight on biofuel and launched the Corporate Biofuel Programme for corporations.

b) Uber, a ride-hailing app, announced The Clear Air Plan to support the Major vision of reducing air pollution in London. A key element is to help Uber drives to upgrade to more eco vehicles by 2025.

They do that “By adding just 15p per mile to all London trips since January, we have already been able to set aside over £50m. That money is ring-fenced, with every penny being used to transition drivers into electric vehicles.”

c) Another company – Bolt is planning to add sharing of electric cars, scooters and bikes to the offer.

Members of Gen Z try to reduce carbon emission by renting hybrid when they want to tour further areas, or they prefer to choose public transport, go on foot, rent a bike, take an electric scooter when it comes to travel to a closer area.

3. Social media as a factor with influence on travel choices


Gen Z have grown up with social media and the internet as part of their daily life. They are likely to make a research about the destination on at least 3 different platforms, before they finally decide to purchase a trip.

Google conducted a really interesting research tracking micro-moments of Gina for over 3 months. You can read more about the research here.


Opinions of others, especially influencers, have a huge impact on buying decisions.

Social media channels such as Instagram and Pinterest are platforms where the youth search for inspiration.

Many young, especially those building their brand often time wants to travel to places, where they are able to take professional pictures, perfect to post on their social media profiles.

Source: The New Global Traveler: Discovering the Impact of Technology


One of the best example is Miami INSTAGRAM Portrait Session, the project provides one hour professional photo shoot in the most iconic places in Miami, private access to a rooftop skyline view of Miami, posting guides and receiving 75 high quality photos. As hosts say: The participants take home some personalized pictures—a unique souvenir of your time in Miami!


Most of brands decide to cooperate with Instagram or Youtube influencers, who have got many follwers. People who see a company recommended for their favourite influencer are more likely to trust it and choose, to use its services.

4. Tiktok#Travel


Many adults thinks Tiktok is a social media platform for teens. It is true – most of active users are 16 to 24 years old. Nevertheless, the platform has a powerful impact on marketing and travel. Wasn’t it the same with facebook and instagram back in the past?

Tiktok mission“To capture and present the world’s creativity, knowledge, and precious life moments, directly from the mobile phone. TikTok enables everyone to be a creator, and encourages users to share their passion and creative expression through their videos.”

Currently has over 1.5 billion user

A movie with over 8 300 000 likes and 177 000 shares. Can you really under estimate that channel?

>>>Tiktoktravel movie here, to upload somehow<<<

Tiktok travel campaign:

Tiktok  teamed up with Indonesia’s Ministry of Tourism, Vietnam Society of Travel Agents (VISTA), Penang Global Tourism. Last summer #Tiktoktravel campaign was launched, the aim was to encourage user to share content from their travel experiences in exchange for the chance of winning related prizes. In result travellers created over 400,000 videos under the #travel hashtag and over 1.7 billion views.

“A large social-media presence is important because it’s one of the last ways to conduct cost-effective marketing. Everything else involves buying eyeballs and ears. Social media enables a small business to earn eyeballs and ears.” – Guy Kawasaki, Chief Evangelist, Canva

5. Set jetting


Gen Z spends 13.2 hours of TV per week, it is not surprising that young travellers wants to visit places they have seen on TV Series.

A very popular set jetting destination is Dubrovnik, an ancient Croatian city where many of Games of Thrones scenes were filmed. Croatia received 16 million tourists in 2016.

Airbnb offers Jetsetting rentings Penthouses in Los Angeles, where travellers can spend a couple of days with friends and live like ‘rich kids’ from american films.

Skopelos, a Greek Island where the fable of “Mamma Mia” film was presented is extremely popular travel destination among the fans of the film. Especially after the second part filmed in 2018.

People travel there to dance and kiss on the beach, some even wants a wedding. This phenomena is called Mamma Mia effect, and Mayor Christos Vasiloudi said: „The phones never stop ringing, People call in all the time asking how they can get to our Mamma Mia! paradise.”

If travel companies wonder where 2020’s most desirable tourist destination might be, one of the best ways to find it out, is to search famous TV series and films.

6. Travel – adventure experience

Living-experience-trends-travel research states:

For those aged between 16-24 there is a daring bunch with 56% wanting an adventure experience from their travels, such as paragliding or bungee jumping and 52% is planning to visit or trek an extreme location.

One may say that they are at such an age, which is a natural context for this type of activity. Yes, this is correct, at the same time, there is still a general trend towards “experiences” we can all observe.

Travel market provides many platforms offering an extreme adventure experience, one of the most popular is Airbnb. The platform offers trips with a guide to a unique places all around the world, a customer can choose the category: from tasting regional cuisine to water sports. The high-ranked adventures are:

1) Bali: Jungle retreat camping– 4.99/5

2) Los Angeles: Malibu Beginner Surf Camping Retreat– 4,79/5

3) SAPA: Explore rice fields and homestay trek – 4,96/5

In overall a young traveller pays attention to the unique experience, avoiding overcrowded tourist locations, searching to learn more about real local culture.

7. Digital Detox – trend for a moment or one of the best ways for Gen z to take a rest?


Digital nomads – that is another example of how we can name today’s young people.

The average time of a young person using a smartphone is 15.4 hours per week and it is more than any other type of device.

Youngsters happen to be tired of maintaining access to digitality. As a result the destinations with low or no internet access are gaining more and more popularity which is why the digital detox name was created. The IBM Report defines ‘Whether Gen Zers are online, socializing is important to them’

Example: Platform as offers trips to best top destination for tech free holiday.

User can choose to go to mountain SPA.  It is a great opportunity to take a rest and spend time with family and friends.

The time spent using technology grows annually, and because of that, digital detox is not a short-term trend, but a type of travel offer every agency should seriously look into.

The biggest differences between Generation Z and Millennials

Dr Abramson describes The Millenialls as also ‘the first genaeration to be Digital Native’, Because of that statements many people think generation Y and Generation Z are the same. However they are not, and more about that in an infographic below.

Infographic Generations

What current CEOs think about GEN Z?

There are some statements which expose how modern brands try to customize marketing strategy to Gen Z, how working with the youth looks like and what current executives think about them.

David Chapman, Director General at WYSE Travel Confederation


Young travellers, in general, are usually trying to get as much out of a trip as possible. What mainstream tourism has often missed the youth travel market is that these travellers are off on more than a holiday; they are travelling as exchange students, au pairs, volunteers, language learners, interns, working holiday-makers or gappers (taking a gap year).

Young travellers are most likely to splurge on experiences rather than what you might consider to be traditional travel upgrades. So, food and drink experiences or festivals over perks in the plane or hotel.

Reasons why young people travel have changed, the trip they look for has to bring a positive impact, which is why the Gen Z combine travelling with volunteering, working or studying.

Dr Naeema Pasha, Director of Henley Careers:

Naeema Pasha

“Social purpose is a big value set for Gen Zers,”

“We see in the media every day how young people are taking a stand on issues like climate change… diversity and inclusion. These values will eventually move into the mainstream and become more dominant beliefs across all age groups. We found in our research that more than half (53 percent) of Gen Z feel they need to be able to express values that are important to them through their career and nearly a third (29 percent) find it annoying when employers don’t share the same values.”

Young activists like Greta Thunberg represent Generation Z. She is 16 years old climate activist who fights for climat change. She was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize and she is the organiser of movement under the hashtag #FridaysForFuture, her Instagram account follow almost 9 million people.


Gen Z is going to be the biggest target group really soon. With a huge purchasing power. Let us know in the comments what do You think about Generation Z and the future of Travel.



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