2 min read

How Gen Z is Changing Travel and Hospitality Marketing

How Gen Z is Changing Travel and Hospitality Marketing
How Gen Z is Changing Travel and Hospitality Marketing

According to research conducted by Hopper, Gen Z will be the next largest generation of travelers and is primed to be one of the most valuable in the industry.

Generation Z are defined as those born between 1997 and 2012, making them currently 12-27 years old and accounting for 21% of the US population, second to millennials.


As the travel and hospitality industries continue to
evolve, it is crucial to understand the preferences and behaviors of this upcoming—and valuable—consumer segment. 

Here are some key takeaways from the research that provides a roadmap for how travel and hospitality brands can effectively engage with this tech-savvy and socially conscious generation.


Focus On The Experience

As a segment, Gen Z is deprioritizing typical financial milestones such as home buying or having children. This is due to economic conditions (e.g., home prices, high interest rates, etc.), and they have set their focus on priorities different from those of other generations.

Namely, Gen Z consistently prioritizes spending on travel and experiences over traditional consumer goods and services.


In fact,
 Gen Zers making less than $50K per year are spending as much as 49% more on travel than older generations making the same amount.

However, while they are willing to spend more on travel, Gen Z is highly value-focused and brand-neutral, as 55% of Gen Z say price is the most important factor when considering a travel brand. As evidence of this, Gen Z is the least likely segment to be members of travel loyalty programs.


Gen Z wants unique and authentic experiences. As a resort brand, this may mean highlighting "hidden attractions" nearby in addition to your on-premise amenities.


Embrace Digital Natives

Gen Z has grown up in the digital world, with smartphones, social media, and the internet playing integral roles in their daily lives. This segment is so online that when asked to rank hotel amenities, fast, reliable Wi-Fi access was listed as number 1.


To capture Gen Z's attention, travel and hospitality brands must ensure a strong online presence, particularly on platforms like Instagram, TikTok, and Snapchat, where they spend most of their time.

Creating interactive and visually appealing content that can be shared across these platforms will resonate well with this audience.

Roughly 25% of Gen Zers and millennials who booked travel in the last year say they used social media to research their trip, compared to just 17% of Gen Xers and 4% of Boomers.


Importantly, Gen Z and millennials are more likely to book travel using a smartphone than a desktop computer. Consider your current booking process. Is it mobile-friendly?


The Importance of Authenticity and Transparency

As you would expect from an extremely online segment, Gen Z is a generation that values authenticity and transparency more than polished marketing messages.

Travel businesses should focus on creating genuine content that reflects their brand values. This content could be behind-the-scenes elements, customer stories, or transparent communication about services and pricing.

Brands should consider leveraging UGC and micro-influencer content to remove the wall between "Instagram vs Reality" and help prospective customers dream and set expectations for their travel.


Sustainable and Ethical Considerations

Gen Z is highly concerned with environmental and social issues compared to other generations. They prefer to engage with brands committed to sustainability and ethical practices.

Eco-tourism is a growing trend among younger travelers as trips to National Parks in the US and abroad have skyrocketed in recent years. 

For travel and hospitality brands, this could mean adopting green practices like reducing waste, using sustainable materials, and offering eco-friendly accommodations and experiences. Communicating these efforts effectively and authentically to Gen Z will get noticed.


Traveler Anxiety

The research also showed that Gen Z and millennials show the highest level of anxiety around travel disruptions.


Not only do younger travelers anticipate the need to change their plans potentially, but they also have negative attitudes toward travel companies that they perceive as making the process difficult and expensive.


Moving Forward

Engaging Gen Z in travel and hospitality requires a blend of digital savvy, authenticity, sustainability, and personalized experiences.

By understanding and aligning with their values and preferences, brands can build meaningful connections with this upcoming generation, ensuring loyalty and success in a competitive market.


Like what you read? Contact us to see how we may be able to help you meet your marketing goals.


From Skepticism to Trust: How Banks Can Win Over Younger Generations

From Skepticism to Trust: How Banks Can Win Over Younger Generations

As the world becomes increasingly more digitally reliant, significant shifts in the banking industry are occurring.

Read More
How to Perform a Test of Your Marketing

How to Perform a Test of Your Marketing

Does any of the following sound familiar?

Read More
How to Choose a Brand Architecture

How to Choose a Brand Architecture

Most organizations operate multiple brands. Sometimes this is due to a merger or acquisition, while other times it is by design within the marketing...

Read More