You hear plenty of buzzwords in marketing, and we’re generally not massive fans of those that seek to make swathing assumptions about a large group of people. “Millennial” and “Gen Z” are two such examples. But, however much it seems like lazy labelling, there is some truth to the notion that generations tend to behave as one, as a unified demographic.
Defining an entire chunk of the population based on age is risky business, but there is an argument to say that certain industries, such as travel, should sit up and take notice of potential trends. Spotting behavioural shifts before they occur en masse is a great way to stay one step ahead of your competitors.
With that in mind, let’s take a closer look at the kind of trends we can expect in the coming years, as Millennials give way to Gen Z (sorry) as the newest travellers on the block.
First up, we better define exactly which generation it is we are about to be making sweeping about. Gen Z refers to the bunch of kids born around the late 90s, up to about 2010. Late 90s kids will soon be coming to the age where independent travel is a realistic ambition. No more holidays with the parents, they’re going to be going solo, or at least together. So what can we predict?
In a report from Skift, titled “Megatrends Defining Travel in 2016”, it was suggested that Gen Z is going to be made up of young people extremely conservative with money. This is likely to be the result of rising tuition fees across the world, and the shortfall in home ownership across many western nations. However, don’t fear for your revenues of the future too much; the report did say that Gen Z won’t be afraid to splash out on the right trip if the price is right.
Whether the rise of social media has made us all feel a lot closer together, or the challenges facing humanity in general are forcing us to see things we have in common rather than the differences, Gen Z have a holistic, positive and international outlook.
This can only be good news for travel providers. According to this wonderful post by Upfront Analytics, 60% of Gen Z want to make a difference in the world for the better. More connected than ever, they feel as though they really can. Can your travel product make the world a better place? Could you build a service tailored to helping members of Gen Z explore their desire to make a positive change?
This is a bold claim, but trends do show that more and more millennials are becoming self-employed, and appreciating the freedom and flexibility that comes with freelance work. It may be fair to say that the idea of a strict 9 to 5 is going to appeal even less to the next generation of travellers, so perhaps this is something the travel industry needs to adapt to. Perhaps a niche marketplace for travellers looking to earn on the road, or a rise in flexible short term rental sites, such as Airbnb.
55 percent of Gen Z want to start their own business according to a poll by Universum, and this, tied in with the global outlook outlined above will lead to exciting times for the travel sector in social enterprise and ecological responsibility – hopefully!
You might think that an average attention span of around 8 seconds means that Gen Z members bumble through life, constantly banging into things and forgetting where they’re going. But flip this on its head, and you might come to a different conclusion. Instead of simply not taking the time to consider things, Gen Z members are simply processing things a whole lot faster than any generation before them. So that 8 second attention span is actually the time it takes to process information, consider what it means and whether it’s relevant, before moving onto whatever is next. Research has shown that back in 2000, the average attention span for this age group was 12 seconds. The bottom line: information is being processed by Gen Z faster than any generation before it.
Think about how this will necessitate a change in the way travel companies market themselves and their products. Grabbing hold of a Gen Z member is no mean feat, and once you have their attention, convincing them to book a tour or travel experience is another thing entirely. Which brings us to…
According to Upfront Analytics, Gen Zs watch twice as many videos while on the go as any other generations. A huge 70 percent will spend two or more hours on Youtube every single day.
The simple way in which travel agencies will have to adapt? More video content than ever before. The more original, exciting and inspiring the better.
The global mindset of the future traveller is going to lead to a bunch of young people travelling the world in search of something meaningful. Not just somewhere to sunbathe. Expect a rise in companies dedicated to providing life-changing experiences, charitable work, and gap year style creative projects.
With a whole generation burdened by student debt but keen to make a positive impact, money poor but time rich Gen Zs will do more than just sightseeing.
So there you have it. Today’s young adults are almost at the stage where solo travel is a realistic option. If, as a travel service provider, you want to have a good relationship with the next generation, there are a few key things we can takeaway from what we’ve seen:
1. Create content to suit your audience. In the case of Generation Z, this will ideally be short, snappy videos capable with inspiring narratives and realistic possibilities.
2. Appeal to their better nature. This is a positive generation keen to make a real difference. Use this to your advantage.
3. Don’t just think of tourism as a synonym for holidays. In a matter of years, more people will be working on the go than ever before. Why not tailor to the self-employed/freelance market?