Younger travelers - those under 30 years old - represented 23% of all international arrivals in 2017, creating a market valued at more than $280 billion. It’s a valuable audience for brands, and understanding the preferences of these millennial and Gen Z travelers also provides a glimpse at future trends for the travel industry.
For air, preferred sites included Expedia (26%), STA Travel (15%), Skyscanner (12%) and StudentUniverse (11%). For accommodations, Booking.com topped the list with 41% of the bookings, followed by hostel specialist Hostelworld (32%), Airbnb (15%) and Expedia (3%).
Under-30 travelers also indicated they are doing more research as part of their trip planning. In the 2002 survey, respondents reported using an average of three information sources when planning travel. In 2017, that number increased to 10.5.
Friends and family are still the most important information source for young travelers, but the digital-savvy audience is placing increasing value on social media and comparison or referral websites.
When asked what they would be likely to splurge on, 37% of respondents indicated they would pay extra for food or drink experiences, followed by events or festivals (27%), fine or performing arts (18%) and extreme or adrenaline sports (16%). At the bottom of the list: traditional luxuries such as first- or business-class airfare (4%), extra legroom on a plane (6%) or an accommodation upgrade (10%).
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