A Travel Marketer’s Guide to Gen Z



As a travel marketer, are you thinking enough about Gen Z? This generation of consumers is coming of age as travelers and could soon represent a significant share of travel spending—especially if our industry can get them hooked on travel (the way we did Millennials).

Members of this generation were born after 1996 and are distinguished as complete digital natives who freely share their opinions on social and political issues. Like all other generations, they are heavily impacted by the global pandemic we are living through.

To learn more about this unique generation of travelers and how travel can be marketed to them, Destination Analysts’ President & CEO interviewed a panel of Gen Zers in December 2020. You can watch the discussion in this video and find our key takeaways below.



What We Learned:

  • Travel marketers should consider how Gen Z has been uniquely impacted by the pandemic. New to the workforce or currently in college, these travelers felt the sting of the pandemic on their economic opportunities and the young life experiences they knew they were supposed to be having. As one shared during our discussion, “I definitely have a lot of friends who have had to put plans aside because they lost their jobs.” Discounts, deals and experiences that align with what they would have been doing if it weren’t for the pandemic are particularly attractive. Travel can also be positioned as a mental health and wellness activity.
  • The pent up demand is real. As supported by findings in our ongoing consumer research, Gen Z is in a ready to travel mindset. Feeling armed with data that suggests they are at far lesser risk of serious illness or death from COVID, many feel “I’m ready to travel, I want to get out there, I want to do things,” and even “a lot more willing to take risks and will probably save the travel industry.”
  • They don’t plan to skimp on safety. Also supported in what we see in our consumer research, the Gen Z travelers we interviewed express wanting to do the right things when it comes to pandemic protocols, as they are concerned about spreading the virus to older loved ones.
  • They have a distinctive wariness of social media content. As is well-known, Gen Z consume media differently relative to other generations and are especially video focused. Having only really known a world with social media and so versed in it, it is fascinating that they therefore assess content on these channels with high degrees of scrutiny. Erring towards initial skepticism with influencer and brand content, like older travelers, they agreed that friends and family were their “most trusted assets” and that “word-of-mouth tends to be the most important and the most meaningful” source for travel ideas and inspiration. Brand building will take a different kind of work with Gen Z.
  • Buzz is key. The Gen Z travelers we interviewed did not seem focused on the “off-the-beaten path” genre of travel experiences; rather, when asked how they were inspired to visit recent trip destinations or why certain places were on their travel lists, it was largely social validation.
  • For more updates on Gen Z and other of the many travel segments we study, follow us on social and make sure to sign-up to receive our emails.