Gen Z Travelers: How travel brands can cater to the burgeoning group

Prepare for the upcoming wave of Gen Z travelers as their purchasing power grows. Developing appropriate strategies and offerings tailored to their unique preferences is crucial to target this emerging group of travelers effectively. To tap into their demand, travel brands must explore the values, psychology, and behavioral patterns specific to this generation. While Gen Z travelers are often compared to millennials, they possess distinct characteristics.

Now, let’s examine their essential traits and explore how to promote your hotel as a must-visit destination on their travel bucket lists. In the past, brands in the hospitality and travel industries have been running market analyses to learn about the needs and wants of their target audiences, especially millennials. While millennials are a huge demographic regarding spending, they are now climbing in age and balancing the costs of family and mortgages.

The young adult status of millennials is now being eclipsed by a new generation that is both dependent on the internet and will determine the future of the travel and hospitality industry post-pandemic. Travel brands must understand their behavioral patterns to sell their services to Gen Z travelers. Gen Z is one of the most significant demographics today, yet businesses in the travel and hospitality sector tend to disregard the group, assuming it is less opportune.

Almost 50% of Gen Zs consider traveling a top priority. So let’s take a look at Gen Zs, understand their interests, travel, and how they use social media to learn about destinations.

Who are Gen Zs?

Gen Z refers to anyone born from 1997 to date. The oldest of the Gen Z generation are currently turning 26, although most people in this demographic are either in their teens or younger. The generation is the youngest, largest, and most ethnically diverse group in the US.

They are the first digitally native generation because they depend on the internet and social media. Research shows that this generation makes up the largest share of the US. consumer population. The population of Gen Z travelers is 2 million more than that of millennials.

What are Gen Z Travelers Interested in?

Online Travel Agencies (OTA)

Owing to their loyalty programs and dynamic packages, Gen Z travelers prefer to make their bookings using online travel agencies (OTA). As a digitally native generation, it makes sense that Gen Z travelers, more often than not, turn to online resources to find trip inspiration and plan. They are frequent mobile users whose interests lie in digital content consumption, which they rely on to make plans. They tend to book air tickets, rent cars, and hotels using OTA.

Gen Z travelers are less likely to make their bookings using other online channels, including direct websites, retail travel agent websites, and metasearch. They are less likely to use third-party services to make travel arrangements since they are low-budget travelers.

The Future

Gen Z travelers are unique in their preferences and priorities. However, some values they look out for when choosing destinations and companies to book their trips are inclusion, diversity, and a growing awareness of sustainability. Gen Z travelers are interested in these values but also looking to visit places where the locals embrace inclusivity.

According to Expedia, young travelers are more likely to engage in sustainable travel. Consumer expectations in the industry are changing and growing, and it is essential for younger travelers that they experience authenticity and consistency.

How Do They Travel?

Gen Z travelers seek more transformative, unique, and unforgettable experiences.

Time Travel

This time travel is not the cinematic futuristic Star Wars version. In our case, time travel involves getting to know a destination by retracing the steps of the locals that lived in an area historically. Gen Z travelers are captivated by learning about history and living it too.

There is a current trend on Airbnb where historic keywords like historic, era, and WWI, among others, are trending, with the homes being booked many times. In addition, countries like Korea and Japan have become hotspots for time travelers.

Bite-Size Travel

Gen Z travelers are open to the downsized lifestyle that allows them to travel more for less. They are exploring destinations by taking road trips and searching the internet for where they can find free parking. They’re opting for simple spaces like shepherd’s huts and tiny homes.

Nature Calls and Disconnect to Reconnect Travel

Gen Zs have made the most nature experiences bookings. That is because more travelers are now looking to interact with mother nature by going for animal or hiking experiences. Other travelers slow down to engage their inner selves and center their minds and spirits. As a result, there is a noteworthy trend in single-guest and meditation experience bookings.

What Do They Prioritize While They Travel?

Proximity and Safety

A huge percentage of Gen Zs prioritize international travel. They are searching for ways to enjoy unique experiences abroad like going on a desert safari in Dubai or a bioluminescent bay boat tour in San Juan. They are also opting for smaller getaways to prioritize safety.

Unique Experiences

One of the top priorities for Gen Z travelers is having unique experiences. So, they opt more for outdoor adventures and are willing to go the distance to take part in something different.


Like the rest of the generations, Gen Z travelers prioritize budgeting as part of their planning for travel and are more reluctant to spend more during their trips. As a result, their entire budgets tend to fit in the extra amount millennials are willing to pay.

How they use social media to uncover destinations?

More often than not, young travelers are unsure about destinations to go for a trip or getaway. But Gen Z travelers are fluent with apps and social media, making mobile shopping popular. As such, Gen Z travelers are more likely than any other generation to seek the opinions of social media influencers when trying to learn about destinations. Gen Z travelers use social media to learn about destinations by following influencers with similar interests.

Friends’ experiences and ads on appealing deals and images. They are more accustomed to social media than the other generations and enjoy a world where information is instantly shared through photos and videos on social media platforms like Snapchat and Instagram.

This article was initially published by Trip Dhow.

Pearce Kibaale is a freelance writer, content creator, and Editor-in-Chief of Trip Dhow. Pearce is a travel expert and has been a content creator for various travel affiliates.

Pearce Kibaale, Editor-in-Chief at Trip Dhow