Why Your Travel Agency Needs to Target Gen Z Travelers
June 02, 2023
Generation Z (or 'Gen Z') is the demographic of people born between the late 90s and early 2010s. Gen Z consumers are arguably the most digitally savvy and mobile-oriented of all, and as they are now of the age to travel and explore the world, you need to understand the preferences and behaviors of this emerging market segment and tailor your services accordingly. This will mean using the right channels to reach them, and possibly creating new ones, like mobile apps.
Gen Z consumers value experiences over possessions and seek authentic and personalized travel options. They are different from previous generations, and they will define the future of the industry.
Let’s take a look at what Gen Z consumers expect from their travels, why your travel agency needs a Gen Z audience, how you can cater to their needs, and how a mobile app can attract them to your business.
Key reasons to target Gen Z travelers with a mobile app
Travel is a huge part of the Gen Z lifestyle
Gen Z is no longer the ‘up and coming’ generation — the future is already here. According to Morning Consult, around 52% of Gen Z adults are frequent travelers, and they have their own clear preferences for how they like to travel. Needless to say, they have already started defining where the industry is going, and their influence will only grow over time, so understanding their needs and catering to them is extremely important for any travel provider.
But why are Gen Z adults traveling so frequently? First, they have grown up in a globalized world, already exposed to different cultures and languages through social media, the internet and entertainment. Second, they benefit from easier access to information and booking options than previous generations. And third, they value travel as a way of learning and growing. They see travel as an opportunity to develop new skills, expand their network and discover themselves.
As Expedia Group research shows, Gen Z were already traveling frequently pre-pandemic — around three leisure trips per year — and now they only want to travel more to make up for missed opportunities thanks to global lockdowns. Importantly, nearly six in ten Gen Z travelers use their smartphone for travel inspiration and research.
Speaking of which…
Gen Zs are advanced tech users
Unlike previous generations that had to adapt to the digital revolution, Gen Z grew up with smartphones, tablets, social media and the internet. They are used to accessing information, entertainment and services anytime and anywhere.
You can see a lot of travel companies using mobile apps to cater to the needs and preferences of Gen Z guests. That makes sense, since, If given the opportunity, this group will use their phones for so many purposes, including browsing, booking, researching, sharing and reviewing travel experiences. Since they spend a significant amount of time daily on their mobiles, this is the best way to reach them — and apps are very good at grabbing users’ attention with push notifications and personalized offers.
But it’s not just about the reach. Gen Z adults expect to have digital tools to control their travels on the go, and the most comfortable way to do that is to use an app. Not having this option is a huge turn off, that will most likely lead to them using a competitor’s services, since there are plenty of apps out there to give them this control — it is very much a standard nowadays.
Gen Z has serious buying power
An obvious reason why your travel agency should gain a Gen Z audience is that this group already accounts for a significant portion of worldwide travel spending.
As we mentioned earlier, more than half of Gen Z adults are frequent travelers. Despite the fact that Gen Zs earn less on average, they still make up a much larger portion of global travelers than the more financially stable Gen Xers and baby boomers — almost on par with millennials — the current priority of the industry. As time goes on, Gen Z will likely surpass the latter in travel spending.
Having said this, the spending priorities and motivations of Gen Zs do differ from those of previous generations, and understanding them is the key if you want to start capturing the Gen Z travel market. Gen Zs are more likely to use social media and mobile apps as a source of inspiration and information. Unfortunately, they also tend to show lower trust in the travel industry.
That shouldn't disencourage you. Your goal as a travel agency should be to build trust with new audiences. Gen Zs want more unique and affordable options, while having much more control over their travels. They also want to use comfortable and familiar tools for planning and booking. Building an app caters to all of these needs — in a way, apps are their ‘language’, and you’d better learn it sooner rather than later if you want to be seen and trusted by this audience.
Gen Zs need mobile apps
For Gen Zs, mobile apps aren’t just a preference, but a necessity. They grew up with smartphones and social media, and they use them for everything: communication, entertainment, education, shopping and more. They are constantly connected and expect instant access to information and services. They also value convenience, personalization and flexibility — which mobile apps can provide where mobile versions of websites can’t.
The advantages are multiple. Mobile apps allow for easy booking, various payment options, interactive maps, real time updates and notifications on flight status, weather conditions, travel alerts, and more. They enable personalized recommendations and suggestions based on the traveler's preferences, interests and location too.
Apps also facilitate social sharing and reviews of travel experiences. For Gen Zs, this is really important. This group is more likely to trust online reviews, influencers and peers over traditional advertising or experts.
But beyond benefiting new Gen Z customers, an app designed by a professional digital product development agency can help any travel company a lot. Apps create new marketing possibilities and opportunities for customer relation activities like loyalty programs. They also provide your company with instant client feedback, plus rich data about customer behavior from which to learn and improve, and an increase in overall brand awareness.
Gen Z is not only the future of travel — they are already shaping the industry. They are frequent travelers who value unique experiences over material possessions. They are digital natives who expect technology to be part of their travel experiences. And if you needed another reason to target the Gen Z travelers, then you should consider their serious buying power and share of the current travel market. This younger generation’s travel spendings will only grow as time goes on.
Mobile apps are necessary tools with which travel companies can engage Gen Z travelers. They offer unparalleled convenience, mobility, and a sense of control over travel, which this generation expects. Providing younger clients with a mobile app means creating a new channel to reach them — apps are like a language they understand and trust.
What are Gen Zs looking for in travel?
Gen Z travelers are looking for personalized and unique experiences, but they also want some control over their travels. If you want to target Gen Z in the travel industry, consider building a mobile app to meet their needs and expectations.
What activities are Gen Zs interested in?
Gen Zs grew up in a world of influencers, media and entertainment showing them different parts of the world. They either opt for what is popular and what their peers recommend, or they seek entirely new, unique experiences. The travel industry must adapt to the needs of Gen Z travelers. This might mean providing more personalized and varied experiences, or considering the role of influencers and social media in marketing to a Gen Z audience.
Why is it important to attract Gen Z travelers?
There are plenty of reasons why targeting Gen Z travelers is a good long-term strategy. Gen Z is both the future and the present of the travel industry — they are already frequent travelers. But while attracting Gen Z travelers is a smart business move, this group has different wishes and expectations to previous generations that you must consider. Any travel agency concerned with its future should use a mobile app to build customer loyalty and trust with this new audience, since Gen Z travelers are set to soon account for the majority of worldwide travel spending.