Social media main holiday inspiration for more than a third of Gen Z

More than a third of Gen Z consumers use social media as their main source of inspiration when bookings holidays, according to a new Advantage Travel Partnership report.

The study reveals 38% of Gen Z travellers – those born from 1997 onwards – look to TikTok and Instagram when deciding on their next overseas trip.

Jetsetting Into Tomorrow, which outlines future travel trends and the effect they could have on the industry, was unveiled at the consortium’s annual conference, taking place this year at the Grand Palladium Colonial Resort & Spa in Cancun, Mexico, on Thursday.

More: Advantage May half-term bookings ‘exceeding expectations’

Advantage chief executive Julia Lo Bue-Said said that while “there is a place for influencers”, consumers risk booking something completely different to what they expected if they only base their decision on what they see on social media and swerve the advice of a travel agent.

“What the industry must showcase is that nothing compares to the level of trust, breadth of experience and protection offered by agents,” she said.

“Travel has become so commercialised; people will book a hotel because they have seen an influencer visit it – but what these posts don’t explain is what happens if something goes wrong, for example.”

Lo Bue-Said added business owners should invest in the skills and expertise required to produce quality social media content “if they want to take it seriously”.

“It’s not just about having people who can sell travel [in an agency]; you need people who can market it using social media, and we’re seeing members diversifying their workforces to do exactly that,” she said.

Advantage chief commercial officer Kelly Cookes added: “When firms advertise for marketing roles now, it’s rarely just marketing, it’s social media and marketing or purely social media. They’re moving away from traditional marketing and going more down the social media route.

“A lot of our members are bringing in people who are specialised in social media and they’re seeing the return.”

Other key trends

The report also reveals that 46% of the Gen Zs polled say they are travelling “much more or more frequently” and are conscious of their impact on the environment, with a particular desire for train travel options.

Thirty-nine per cent of Gen Z travellers are taking the train more often and 34% said they want faster and more reliable rail services to aid their journeys.

Thirty-four per cent of those surveyed want to travel to lesser-known destinations while 25% are seeking community-based travel.

Sixty-three per cent would plan a trip out of season to get better deals, avoid the crowds and experience milder weather, while the report also notes a “huge increase” in bookings for tours of Japan, China, and the Far East, attributed to pent–up demand from the pandemic.

Multi-generational travel is “booming”, says the report, with 66% of Gen Z consumers looking to travel with their extended family.

All-inclusive is the most popular board option, accounting for 40% of all bookings.

Meanwhile, 38% of respondents said that they are now travelling to destinations for longer periods of time, capitalising on the freedom to work from anywhere.

Lo Bue-Said said: “Gen Z travellers are leading the charge towards more sustainable and culturally enriching travel experiences. Desire for train travel is surging and social media is a key source of inspiration.

“Consumers across generations are seeking purposeful travel, venturing to lesser-known destinations and extending their stays to immerse themselves in local culture.

“It’s an incredibly exciting time for travel right now and we’re really looking forward to helping our travel agency partners navigate the ever-changing landscape.”

The survey was commissioned by Advantage and undertaken by OnePoll, which surveyed 2,000 UK adults.

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