During WYSTC 2019, marketing professionals Anna Fawcett, Global Head of Marketing at Topdeck Travel, and Jason Rieff, Chief Marketing Officer at Generator, gave us an insight into Gen Z travellers and the expectations that this generation have when it comes to travel.



By 2020, there will be 2.56 billion Gen Z’rs on the planet, which accounts for a huge presence within the youth market. And travel is the single most aspirational activity for young people. Nowadays, travel is highly accessible – even to this young demographic – meaning that audiences are increasingly able to demand more and more from their travel experiences.

Gen Zr’s have grown up living their life online, bombarded by unrealistic expectations due to perfectly curated ‘grams. The reality, however, is that this is the generation most affected by zero-hour contracts, a slowly recovering economy and a rapidly changing work environment. 42% of 16-24-year olds feel judged on social media, which in turn is stifling self-expression during a key period of personal development. From their travel experiences, these young people seek something more personal, that will help them in building their personal brands and make their social media stand out. This fear of judgement and the pressures of modern society are leading Gen Z’rs to experience problems with loneliness, taking more social media detoxes or leaving the platforms altogether. Contrary to popular belief, this generation is not owned by social media and these detoxes are a sign that Gen Z is searching for something more meaningful than an experience identical to their friend’s feed. So where is Gen Z heading?

¨They are seeking out smaller, passion-led communities of like-minded people,¨ explained Anna Fawcett, Topdeck Travel. ¨Social media is changing from big; unrealistic expectations, paralysis of self-expression, to small; meeting similar people with similar interests.¨.

And this means that we, the youth travel industry, also have to change. To move away from offering the same experience to everyone, characterised by inflexibility and a lack of control, to giving Gen Z the reigns to harness tailor-made travel experiences.

¨Communication with this audience needs to be authentic. We talk to our audience as we would a friend, giving them the opportunity to engage, express themselves and create a bi-lateral dialogue,¨ Jason Rieff, Generator, commented.

In short, travel experiences for Gen Z need to feel small and connected. This influential audience is looking to be part of the conversation and to know that its needs and desires are being met – or at least listened to.