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The future of traveling for Gen Z

With the summer holidays coming up, it’s the perfect time to dive into some Gen Z tourism trends to find out what drives this generation and what they look for in their travels and holidays. 

  • Aesthetics are key. Generation Z knows that fleeting experiences can be materialised through social media posts. It is important to them to share their holidays and adventures, and essentially, they need to look good. 43% of them claim they ‘seek experiences that will make for great content on their social media’, compared to, for example, only 21% of 55+ travelers.

  • Surrender seekers. Younger generations are more comfortable exchanging predictability and planning in favour of excitement and surprise. This also includes booking more ad-hoc trips without knowing all the specifics. In general, 52% of travelers are keen to book a surprise trip where everything down to the destination is unknown until arrival. 51% of Generation Z would even trust an AI to book a complete surprise trip for them, compared to 30% of Baby boomers.

  • Social media is a big influence. Recommendations are the biggest influential factor in deciding the location. But social media plays a significant role as well, partially because of the role of inspiring content shared by (travel) influencers and friends online. 39% of 18-24 year olds say social media helps them plan their vacation, compared to 29% of people 25 and over.

  • Discovery & Exploration. Generation Z has a stronger desire to travel far. Often more focused on discovering completely different cultures or continents (compared older generations that more often prefer domestic or close trips that are more likely to be for a certain purpose like relaxing, sports or the sun). A key implication is that they are currently traveling to develop and grow themselves. 43% of Gen Z’ers say it is very important that they experience something new when they travel, and the top priority for their travel budget is exploration and adventure (52%).

  • A need for authenticity. In their pursuit of new and exciting experiences, they are less picky about accommodation. This is partially because of financial restrictions, but they also prefer authentic (but less luxurious) because it makes for more unique experiences. Accommodations that mimic how locals live are more likely to give a genuine and true experience of the location. That is why couchsurfing and rented rooms in other people’s apartments are more popular among 18-24 year olds, while luxury hotels and bed & breakfasts are more popular for older generations.

Even though generations often share many of the same preferences in travel, Generation Z is adding some interesting nuances through the way they travel, compared to other generations. With an emphasis on aesthetics, spontaneity and authenticity, the travel industry (and many other industries) should take some notes on how to resonate more strongly with this generation.
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Douwe Knijf

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Kim Pillen

Consultant

Before Kim Pillen started as a trend consultant at TrendsActive, she worked for four years as a creative strategist at Dept. For brands such as Philips, bol.com, Beiersdorf, JBL, and the Consumers’ Association, she built (online) campaign, brand, and social media strategies. After four years, she decided that she wanted to better understand people and society in order to advise brands more effectively. That’s how she ended up at TrendsActive. Here, she can do what she loves most: digging into people’s needs and then working with brands to see how and where they can be relevant and meaningful.

Douwe Knijff

Researcher

Douwe is fascinated by how people work. With a background in Interdisciplinary Social Sciences (Bachelor) and Psychology (Master) and an analytical mind he tries figure out how societal shifts manifest themselves through social culture and human behaviour.

Aljan De Boer

Keynote speaker

Aljan has been widely recognized as an inspiring professional speaker on the critical trends that will shape society in the decades to come. He works as the Head of Inspiration at TrendsActive, a trend consultancy from the Netherlands using social science to human-proof business decision for brands like

  • Disney
  • Vodafone
  • Hugo Boss
  • ASR
  • Rabobank

Next to his role at TrendsActive he is the Community Director at the Institute for Real Growth where he inspires and connects a global community of +400 CMOs.  

He has been on the board of the Dutch Platform of Innovative Marketing for almost a decade. Regular speaker and moderator for the Dutch Marketing Awards and 3 times winner of the best of MIE. 

Kees Elands

Founder & Strategist

Kees his purpose is to help ambitious leaders and brands to human-proof their business. In 2003 he founded TrendsActive, a trend consultancy enabling brands to become more human centric.

Kees consults global brands like

  • Disney
  • The Coca-Cola Company
  • Asics
  • Discovery Channel
  • Swiss Life
  • Vodafone

and many more.

Next to being the founder of TrendsActive, he is also initiator of the first academic trend master for executives at the University of Utrecht and is initiator of various trend studies and white papers on subjects like trust, meaning, visual culture & generations.

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Kees Elands

Founder & Strategist

Kees Elands

Founder & Strategist