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UNiDAYS and Ad Age Studio 30 unveil Gen Z travel behaviors

NEW YORK – Gen Z might be the youngest consumer generation, but they have the interest, independence and means to travel, which will have a major impact on the travel industry. A new study from Ad Age Studio 30 and UNiDAYS, the world’s leading Student Affinity Network, sets out to quantify Gen Z’s preferences for travel, dispel myths, and outline what marketers can do to attract this always-on-the-go, digital-native generation.

Called “Meet Gen Z: The Traveling Generation,” the report is based on qualitative research generated by a survey of 11,661 college students between the ages of 17 and 23 in the U.S., U.K., Australia and New Zealand and on the UNiDAYS network. The full report can be accessed at www.adage.com/genzinsights.

Gen Z commands up to $143 billion in spending power in the U.S. alone. The survey identified how the young adults spend discretionary funds on travel, including: how often and how far they travel, how much they spend, where they go, where they stay, what they do, and what incentives attract them to a destination. Key findings include:

  • Gen Z has means. A majority (62 percent) say they work and save to finance travel, and 69 percent describe their travel style as affordable with an occasional splurge. U.S. students spend between $250 $750 per trip, on average, and only 18 percent of all surveyed rely on parents to pay for trips.
  • Unlike their Millennial counterparts, Gen Zers actually prefer hotels over Airbnb and vacation rentals.
  • Spring break-style, all-night parties are a thing of the past. In fact, partying came in at a distant sixth place in a list of things Gen Zers like to do when traveling. Instead, the No. 1 activity on a trip is eating out.
  • A large portion of Gen Zers are college students, and value is important. When it comes to booking their flights, 76 percent said price was the key factor in their decision-making. Incentives and special offers are also attractive – 59 percent said they would take brands up on offers.

About the findings, Stacey Paul, Head of Travel Innovation at UNiDAYS said: “It’s clear that Gen Z seeks out new experiences and has the spending power to check things off their bucket lists. Travel brands will attract this influential generation if they abandon the one-size-fits-all marketing mentality and develop programs tailored to Gen Z with compelling offers aligned to their travel preferences. Gen Zers are at a time in their lives when they are just starting to make decisions about how and where they spend their money — and travel is quite clearly a category where this matters most. Brands that attract them now have a chance to create brand affinities that will last a lifetime.”

Meet Gen Z: the Traveling Generation is part of a year-long partnership between UNiDAYS and Ad Age Studio 30 that includes four global research studies exploring Gen Z attitudes among college students, ages 17 to 23 in the U.S., the U.K., Australia and New Zealand. Survey topics and questions are designed to highlight what’s newsworthy and trending, as well as showcase topics highly relevant to Gen Z and brands looking to attract them. For more insights and tips on how to engage Gen Z and build loyalty for a lifetime, visit GenZInsights.com, driven by UNiDAYS.

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