How to Cater to the New Generation of Travellers: Gen Z Kids

16 March 2023 08:00

It was two years that tourism found itself locked up, standing completely still in time. It is now post-pandemic, and we’ve awoken to find that many of the previous generations of travelers, mainly millennials, have moved into much quieter lives, with less time and space in their life for long-term travel.

On the other side of the fever dream we experienced within the tourism industry, we’ve awoken to the dealings of the new generation of long-term travelers: Generation Z.

They’ve had two years to sit inside and plan how and where to travel once they’re let out of the cage, they’ve scoured through TikTok and Pinterest to plot their post-pandemic dream getaway. Now, the time has come for these guys to create their adventure.

It may feel like a bit of a shock after all we’ve had to change and adapt to within the last few years. Still, tourism vendors need to adjust their business approach to the different generations traveling by implementing modern and up-to-date technology, morale, and values.

With 72% of Gen-Zers planning a huge getaway in 2021 to see the world in 2022/2023, it is no doubt that they are the majority target market from here on.

Who Are Gen Z?

If you're not up to date on who's a millennial, a boomer, and gen Z, well, you've come to the right place. Don't worry; we’re here to fill you in.

Generation Z refers to the generation born between 1997 and 2012. With a majority turning 23 this year, they are, for the most part, the now ever-present backpackers of our society for the following years. They've done their remote schooling during the pandemic and are ready for their gap year adventure.

Unlike millennials, who were born during the great recession, this generation has grown up in a thriving economy with record low unemployment. Add the two years of working from home inside, saving pennies, and we emerge on the other side to find a generation that's cashed up and ready to live their best life traveling the world post-lockdown.

Compared to the generations that came before them, it is critical to acknowledge and truly understand that members of Gen Z are much more racially and ethnically diverse.

They care about sustainability and morale. They're also on track to become some of the most educated people we'll see walk this planet, so they may be young, but boy, are they smart. To top it off, this generation doesn't know a world without technology, so they're digitally native like it's their mother tongue. They have an intuitive knack for anything with a screen and harness a vast online presence, growing up within a world of social media.

Here are three expectations of the Gen Z traveler we suggest you keep in mind when shaping your tourism business to suit their needs.

1 – Digitalize Absolutely Everything

Growing up in a world of technology means not quite knowing how to do anything without technology.

Businesses of any nature need to adapt wherever they can to maximize growth. We hope you've been keeping up with the contactless post-pandemic trend here to stay and are well briefed on making your business as digital as possible.

If you're not much of a tech-savvy business owner, it might be worth bringing somebody on board who can help with digital PR or marketing. However, if you feel you can manage this on your own, there are many ways to do so.

It is essential you exercise your social media muscles now. Phocuswise thinks that TikTok could be our answer to recovering the tourism industry as a whole.

So let's leverage this! Generation Z loves Instagram and TikTok as they've grown up with socials surrounding them from all angles, so use this to your benefit by creating content aimed to entice these fresh young travelers to your product. If done correctly, your content can quickly go viral and attract young viewers to use your product.

We recommend scouring through UpWork or Fiver to find freelancers looking for a gig if you're on a smaller budget. Many creatives on this platform are professional and passionate and have affordable rates.

There are many digital nomads out there who work remotely in the creative industries and travel full-time. You can reach out to influencers or freelancers via Instagram if you like the content they produce and offer free stays at your accommodation or a free tour in exchange for creative work.

Remember that it is essential to pay fairly for any creative work done and understand if executed correctly — it is an investment well worth making.

2 – Implement Cultural Morale and Sustainability Wherever You Can

Sustainability held paramount importance with millennials, but it has even greater significance with Gen Z.

If you’ve been paying close attention to the shape-shifting happening within our industry, sustainable tourism should not be a new concept. 73% of travelers post-pandemic said they would choose accommodation that proved to place higher importance on day-to-day sustainability in their operations.

Remember: Gen Z will call you out for empty promises. If you’re looking to become more sustainable in your approach, we’d recommend coming from an authentic place rather than a financial one. By showing the new generation that your sustainable mindset is authentic and not just a ploy to make money, you will gain the trust of your new clientele.

If you want to brief yourself further on sustainable tourism, we’d recommend having a read of

3 – Ensure Your Product Is Unique

Gen Z are always looking for unique experiences. A cookie-cutter, run-of-the-mill tour won’t do it with these guys.

Of course, if you’re offering a product in an exotic location or unique cultural experiences or food, this will naturally be a piece of cake for you. However, for operators working with a saturated market, we’d recommend thinking outside the box on how you can offer a bespoke, custom-tailored service.

If this is not an option for you, brainstorm how you could offer unique upsell options or add-ons to your existing product to make it more desirable

Thinking creatively about what you’re offering allows you room to provide something different and attractive. And if you plan on trying to make it big on social media to attract your Gen Z crowd, the more unique it is, the better!

Whether you like it or not, Gen Z are the new kids on the block. And businesses must adjust.

Those who do will thrive. Those who don’t move with the times will find themselves falling behind and inevitably causing themself further suffering in an industry that’s already dealt with enough.

Check out the SocialBee blog for more tips on how you can grow your tourism business.