Yes, generation buzzwords like "millennial" and "Gen Z" are constantly being thrown around. And it's right to question the feasibility of defining an entire generation with a single keyword.
However, the truth is that generations are changing. Two siblings, one millennial and one Gen Z (I'm talking from experience here), are likely drawn to different goals, priorities, and even social media networks.
Now it's time to start thinking about Gen Z. Consisting of young people born late 1990s to 2010s, this generation will soon start setting off on their adventures -- and it's likely they're going to be very different adventures from our own. Here are some predictions for how Gen Z will force the travel industry to catch up and keep up.
1. They are conservative spenders with big ambitions
Gen Z will be more conservative with their money, though not fearful of splurging on trips that enhance their views of the world, says Skift in their report "Megatrends Defining Travel in 2016".
We're talking one-off opportunities that are remembered for a lifetime, be it diving the Great Barrier Reef, living with the Maasai people in Kenya, or kayaking amongst icebergs in Greenland. Here at TrekkSoft we're coming into contact with an increasing number of tour and activity providers that offer once-in-a-lifetime-experiences at accessible prices.
2. They are inspired by the world
Gen Zs have global aspirations and draw inspiration from all over the world, says Upfront Analytics. Travel has always been a fundamental drive of our creativity and understanding, but it will be particularly interesting to see how this generation responds to their global adventures in creative, business, and social terms. As 55 percent of Gen Z want to start their own business (says a poll by Universum), the Gen Z global outlook could lead to some pretty fascinating startups and social enterprises.
3. Catching their attention is the ultimate challenge
8 seconds is the time it takes for a Gen Z to process information, consider what it means, and move on to the next thing that catches their eye (Source: Skift). In 2000, the average for this age group was 12 seconds. This is going to revolutionize marketing. To convince a Gen Z traveller to book a tour or travel experience, visual marketing, personalized recommendations, and a speedy online booking system will be basic requirements.
4. They're won over by video
Gen Zs watch two times as many videos on mobile than other generations, and 70 percent spend a hefty 2-plus hours on YouTube per day, says Upfront Analytics. It's not surprising that streaming video will account for more than two-thirds of all consumer Internet traffic by 2017 (Source: Cisco). As travel companies respond to this trend, we'll have a lot of inspiring videos of exotic destinations to look forward to, folks.
5. They want a good story
To appeal to Gen Z, it's not just about and mobile-optimization and being on the right social networks. It goes deeper than that. For one, a major trend accompanying the surge of video is a story well-told, and particularly effective is a blend of storytelling and visual content marketing. Visual storytelling is already a crucial focus for destination marketing organizations, but it is likely to only be emphasized further.
6. They're going to change the world
60 percent of Gen Zs want to change the world, compared with 39 percent of millennials (Source: Upfront Analytics). This could involve a search for meaningful work, a courageous creative project, or impactful travel that directly or indirectly influences the lives of others. As with millennials, Gen Zs are likely to be money poor, time rich, meaning more time spent in a destination than the average tourist - and an opportunity to do more than sightseeing. Gap years and volunteering abroad are becoming increasingly popular, as opportunities to both expand a resume and make an impact.
Key takeaway: Gen Zs are still young, but the world they are growing up into is changing fast, as are generational perceptions and priorities. Tourism providers wanting to attract young travelers need to be prepared to catch up, keep up, and prove why their travel experience is worth giving attention to. A core part of this will be snippets of powerful and inspiring content that can be consumed in seconds. We're excited to see how this changes travel and emphasizes the truly transformational adventures out there.