Thursday, December 15, 2016

Younger Generations and Social Sharing are Changing Tourism

Take a second and think about your family. Consider yourself, your children, your parents, and grandparents. Pinpoint which generation each member is a part of. Now that you’ve got that down, think about their travel habits: How often do they travel? Where do they go? Do they consider traveling a luxury or a priority? Etc.

Chances are, the older generations traveled less, traveled for different reasons, and didn’t expect to travel as a part of life.

In 2013, nearly 290 thousand American students studied abroad for academic credit. That number has since jumped to over 313 thousand in 2016! On top of that, there’s a rise in American young adults who travel for volunteer and internship positions worldwide.

If I think about my life, the first time I went out of the country was my sophomore year in high school. Since then, I have traveled to 6 different countries on three different adventures. My parents on the other hand first left the country on a cruise back when they were newlyweds. My mother now has no desire to travel outside the US and my dad visits to Scotland solely for golfing excursions.

So why is that? Well, there are a number of reasons as you can imagine. Millennials and Gen Z might have more disposable income than the Boomers had at our age; they definitely spend it differently. Younger generations tend to be stuck in a “right here right now” mindset instead of planning for the future. Traveling is easier than it was when our parents and grandparents were young adults. Alongside all of those easy to assume reasons is the less obvious answer of social media.

Yep, that’s right. Social media fills people with wanderlust. In fact, Millennials and Gen Zers are more likely to choose a travel destination from what they see on social media than any travel ad they may view. For younger generations, the word of another carries much more weight than an advertisement. Eighty-four percent of Millennials and Gen Zers will even make travel plans based off what their friends or influencers post online.

Comparing my dad’s travel plans verses my own shows firsthand the vast differences: he uses a travel agent; I use Pinterest and online blogs. He communicates directly with the hotels he will be staying at; I book online. He takes pictures to keep to himself; I take pictures to post on social media.

With this, how do advertisers get in front of these young travelers? Like in all areas of advertising, they have to adapt and evolve with the changes. Continuously put paid media in front of viewers without them thinking they’re viewing an advertisement. The use of social media is vastly important as well as native content, influencers, and user generated content. 

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