Gen Z: Ready to travel and ripe for building loyalty
June 22nd, 2022, Hoang Nguyen

Gen Z: Ready to travel and ripe for building loyalty

People around the world missed out on personal experiences and opportunities to see friends and family over the last two years due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Many young people during this time were forced to grow up or come of age while many parts of the world were shut down, leading to lost experiences at a formative age in their social and emotional development. Travel can be key to this development, helping young people understand cultural differences, try new things, think more empathetically and adapt to changing situations.

This relationship with travel goes both ways and younger generations represent an important segment to travel brands. Young travelers will form their attitudes towards travel over the next few years and it is incredibly important for marketers to get to know and keep in step with the trends that will shape and mold the travel and tourism sector.

A new travel report from YouGov sets out to understand perspectives on travel—and life—from 18- to –24-year-olds around the world (we refer to this age group as Global Gen Z throughout). Below are a few key insights into what makes the under-24 travel market vital to travel’s own future.

A desire for physical experiences after coming of age in a pandemic

After more than two years of pandemic life with major disruptions to their financial situations, education and social lives, Global Gen Z are eager for real world activities and experiences.

Reconnecting with the people they love is one of the top activities Global Gen Z hopes to do more of in the next 12 months. There’s also pent-up excitement to return to physical stores, in-person events and vacations either at home or abroad.

Gen Z will shape our next normal and their excitement to do so is especially encouraging for the travel industry. As the world continues to open up to travelers again, brands have a chance to build on the moments that Gen Z has missed out on or ones that they have yet to experience for the first time.

Gen Z leads the way in intent to spend more on travel this year

We measured the categories that people across 17 markets intend to spend more on this year compared to last year to get a fuller understanding of if two years of travel restrictions have affected the desire to return to travel.

When it comes to the areas Gen Z will spend more on, the top two categories are clothes/accessories (32% globally) and eating out (27%). This is no surprise as our data reveals socializing plays a big role in young people’s lives.

What is notable among younger generations is that they will be prioritizing travel in their spending mix. More than a quarter of the world’s Gen Z population intends to spend more on travel in the next 12 months (26%).

Furthermore, when we look at how travel spending among Gen Z compares to other age groups, Gen Z leads the way. A fifth of global adults intend to spend more on travel products and services in the next 12 months (21%) compared to the previous year, rising to just over one in four amongst Gen Zs (26%) with millennials following closely (25%).

Did you know that Gen Z in Great Britain lead the way in potential travel spending this year? How does demand stack up from younger generations of Americans and Canadians?

Download the full YouGov report to see how travel desire varies across the globe.

Gen Z ripe for repeat travel and building loyalty

People have different motivations for revisiting places they’ve traveled to before. Whether it’s because it’s a place they know and love or whether it’s to see family and friends again—something 26% Gen Z listed as their favorite type of travel—it’s important to understand why people travel, especially young people trying to make up for lost time.

Psychographic data from YouGov’s new report reveals that Gen Z travelers are more likely to revisit familiar destinations, with 40% agreeing they usually go back to the same places on vacation—the highest of any other age group.

This finding coupled with the idea that Gen Z travelers seek out experiences for social media content (43%) can help brands fine tune their content and messaging to draw these travelers back to places of comfort and familiarity.

For more travel data into the most fluid and digitally engaged generation to date, get YouGov’s full Gen Z report. Inside the report, travel brands and marketers can learn more about:

  • Gen Z’s attitudes towards life in general and the issues that matter most to them
  • Domestic and international travel intention among Gen Z in 25 markets
  • Their preferred accommodation types—from hotels to rented apartments—while traveling
  • What experiences they want from their next trip

  • Which channels to engage with and reach Gen Z
  • Their views on luxury and sustainable travel
  • Young travelers’ interest in travel and the metaverse