Lessons In Luxury Travel: Gen Z’s Influence On The Economy – Forbes

Posted: November 30, 2019 at 5:46 am

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With all the buzz about millennials over the past several years, brands are quickly shifting their focus to the emerging generation of influencers: Gen Z. If not already the largest living generation, by 2020 Gen Z will account for 40% of all consumers worldwide a staggering number, not just in sheer size, but also, importantly, in influence. The first digitally native generation, Gen Z (those born between 1997 and roughly the early to mid-2010s) grew up with technology at their fingertips, with the introduction of the iPhone considered to be the defining moment of their evolution.

Parents of millennials are, for the most part, baby boomers, who themselves grew up in an age of relative financial prosperity and security, and whose goal then became to provide an easier life for their children, resulting in what many perceive as a sense of entitlement among millennials. The parents of Gen Z are predominantly Gen X, who value teaching their kids to be self-sufficient and conscious of spending, as well as naturally being competitive and self-motivated. Gen X was widely affected by the Great Recession and, in turn, passed along the notion of fiduciary responsibility and self-reliance to their offspring. The difference in parenting styles is evident in the way Gen Z considers their travel decisions and spending of their own discretionary income, though that isnt the only way Gen Z is impacting the luxury travel market.

The combination of those two factors parenting and digital innovation has rendered Gen Z hugely influential in the decision making process of those bankrolling luxury travel.

Parents, who are largely responsible for providing an income for the familys livelihood and for their recreational travel, dont necessarily have the time to do all of the research for trip planning. Being so technologically intuitive, Gen Z has their fingers on the pulse of trending destinations and experiences through information seen in highly visual, bite-sized servings on social media. They are the generation most likely to travel internationally, preferring off-the-beaten-path destinations to tried-and-true ones, and authentic local experiences to the sightseeing and group excursions their grandparents may have preferred. They value living like a local.

Parents increasingly consult their kids on family travel planning decisions. Gen Z is likely to embrace active experiences, and is more open to considering alternative accommodations and the sharing economy, impacting the way travel providers are approaching their business models and planning for the future. Pursuing highly visual destinations and exotic, unique activities, Gen Z is looking to differentiate themselves in a homogenized world of social media, finding innovative content in order to stand out. That entrepreneurial spirit has resulted in a wealth of opportunities for DMCs and service providers the industry over.

New businesses are emerging to cater to the complex and diverse needs of this new consumer base, even if the ones funding the costs are boomers or Gen X; after all, grandparents often favor the opinions of their grandchildren over their own adult kids. If a multigenerational trip is about engaging the entire family, its prudent to cater to the desires of those most easily distracted or dissatisfied.

Additionally, new destinations like are increasingly finding fast footing, at the risk of developing more quickly than infrastructure (or culture) allows. Gen Zs open-minded, unusual choices veer away from traditional destinations in a search for singularity. They are savvy about where they want to go, eschewing Paris for Marrakech, the Caribbean for the Galapagos.

In order to reach the luxury travel spender, brands need to sell the experience and meet Gen Z where they live, on social media channels like Instagram and SnapChat (Facebook is already pass for those under 25). Paramount is a focus on peer inclusion; Gen Z digests information almost exclusively from their peer group, not adult or perceived authoritarian sources. Including imagery with people that look like them is crucial to success for travel companies. Some agents and providers either have or will soon start enlisting Gen Z influencers themselves to create awareness among the peer group, one that is budget-conscious but willing to spend where it increases the aesthetic or the experience something best sold through social media. For a self-aware generation, theres still a healthy dose of FOMO to which brands, destinations, hotels and service providers can appeal.

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Lessons In Luxury Travel: Gen Z's Influence On The Economy - Forbes

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November 30th, 2019 at 5:46 am