Travel Meets Tech: How the Industry Is Digitally Catering to Young Travelers

To cater to the next generation of travelers, the travel industry is tapping into the latest tech advancements…

Millennials want to get away. When we asked 18-34-year-olds the kinds of entertainment they spend on in an average month, 41% said travel/vacations, and we consistently see that when given the choice between travel and physical belongings, the majority will pick the escape. A recent study by Airbnb revealed that 56% of 18-35-year-olds from the U.S. are spending more on travel this year than last, and even placed getting away above purchasing a home in their list of priorities. Our holiday wishlist roundup also echoes their desire, with travel coming in second after money as the one item 13-34-year-olds wanted most for the gift-giving season.

Their wanderlust has been increasingly pushing the travel industry into high gear to cater to this next generation of travelers—something we’ve kept tabs on for years. We’ve seen chains remodel their locations, begin to focus on incorporating local culture, create social experience marketing, offer exclusive events, create Millennialized spin-off brands, and more. But now that free WiFi and touchscreen check-in are par for the course, we’re seeing travel brands experiment with more and more advanced technology to impress Millennial travelers. Convenience is always key for young consumers, and there probably isn’t an experience more in need of seamless solutions than travel, which is why, according to New York Times, traditional hotel chains are targeting young travelers through “customized experiences, digital convenience, and relevant information on social media.” Digital also plays a role in hooking in Millennial travelers before they even book their tickets: creative agency Blitz revealed that 84% plan trips based on someone else’s…

 
 

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The Newsfeed

“My work schedule can be hectic, so I snack on nuts, berries, or other non-deadly foods during any downtime.”

—Male, 32, KY

AwesomenessTV and fashion/beauty brands are coming together to make branded series for Gen Z. In the past, AwesomenessTV has worked with numerous brands to produce original content, including CoverGirl and Kohl’s. Now they’re planning a 24-part docu-series with Hollister called “This is Summer,” following teens’ high school journeys—while they’re clad in shoppable Hollister clothing of course. Our own Chief Content Officer explains that Ypulse has “found Gen Z to be fairly open to watching sponsored entertainment,” with 77% of 13-17-year-olds agreeing, "As long as the story is interesting, I don't mind that it is sponsored." (Glossy)

Fullscreen agrees that Gen Z is the generation that’s most receptive to branded content. Their survey found over half of Gen Z doesn’t mind even undisclosed branded content, and significantly more Gen Z teens than Millennials have engaged with social branded content (viewing photos, liking and sharing content and tagging friends) in the past six months. Influencer marketing wins out with the group, with over half of teens preferring influencer content to pre-roll, sponsored posts, banners, and traditional TV commercials. The sweet spot for advertisers may be branded video, especially when influencers are involved. (TubefilterAdweek)

Graduation spending is expected to reach a record $5.6 billion for the Class of 2017. Over half of the graduation gifts given will be cash, followed by greeting cards, gift cards, apparel, and electronic devices. Another trend for the year is more and more peers giving each other gifts, with a 6% lift year over year. Younger consumers will spend an average of $78.42 ,compared to 45-54-year-olds’ $119.84 and 65-and-over’s $112.34, and while greeting cards are also most popular, they’re also almost twice as likely to gift clothing. (ConsumerAffairs)

Instagram has the “most negative impact on young people’s mental wellbeing,” followed by Snapchat, according to a recent study. The image-centric platforms could “driv[e] feelings of inadequacy and anxiety,” and were rated the most poorly for their impacts on sleep, FOMO, and body image. Out of the top five most popular social media platforms, YouTube was the only one that earned a positive score. The silver lining? Some argue the evaluation is “blaming the medium for the message,” and social media/online communities are also Gen Z and Millennials’ top resource for learning about “mindfulness, meditation, and wellness,” according to Ypulse data. (The Guardian)

Lego is being called the “most powerful brand in the world,” beating out Google, Visa, and Nike. Brand Finance’s latest valuation report shows Lego’s brand value increased 68% over last year, looking at metrics like “familiarity, loyalty, promotion, marketing investment, staff satisfaction and corporate reputation.” At least some of the lift can be attributed to the successful movie franchise (The Lego Movie and The Lego Batman Movie) and its strategic partnership with Star Wars.

(Business Insider)

“I kind of don't like the commercialization of fandom culture…However, creating licensed products is one way a brand could interact.”

—Male, 24, MO

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