Economic woes impact travel outlook for Gen Z and millennials, study finds



Dive Brief:

  • When it comes to travel, 47% of Gen Z and millennials say hefty spending could negatively impact their experience, according to a new study by Razorfish done in conjunction with Vice Media Group.
  • Many travel decisions are linked to excitement and spontaneity, with many Gen Z and millennial travelers leaning into the idea of finding challenges and taking risks, according to the study. Only 14% of respondents feel they need to be pampered on their trip.
  • Results from the study heavily allude to the changing travel landscape resulting from economic woes and the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, which has left many craving fulfilling experiences that don’t break the bank.

Dive Insight:

As the COVID-19 pandemic persists and inflation hits a 40-year high, it’s no surprise that Gen Z and millennials’ thoughts on travel have begun to shift, as shown by the Razorfish and Vice Media Group’s study, which reveals that less may be best. Notably, 90% of respondents believe the most important takeaway from a trip is a great story to tell. The findings arrive amid predictions of a summer of revenge travel after two years of staying close to home and underscore insights marketers can leverage to craft campaigns for these audiences.

“The public health, cultural, geo-political, and economic shifts over the past few years have undeniably transformed the travel industry,” said Malavika Rao, senior director of brand strategy at Razorfish. “Pent-up travel demand and rising inflation have created a unique confluence for travel brands.”

The growing digital landscape and surge in remote working have had an impact on travelers and may prove to be a major opportunity for marketers, with 75% of those surveyed responding that they are actively considering or would consider becoming a digital nomad, working remotely from various locations.

Gen Z and millennial travelers are there for the experience, with 75% responding that the trips they value most are those that don’t cost a lot of money and 40% saying they are willing to spend more than half of their travel budget in pursuit of a truly memorable moment or experience, per the study.

The desire to travel may be emotionally driven, especially as the pandemic has enhanced mental health concerns including anxiety and depression. Seventy-nine percent of respondents said that traveling isn’t about getting to a new place, but instead, it’s about the personal growth that comes along with it and 87% of travelers believe stumbling upon an experience is more rewarding than planning it. Forty-three percent of respondents want to get out of their comfort zones while traveling and 39% are searching for risk and excitement. Gen Z specifically is chasing the thrill, with 64% (vs. 42% overall) saying that the more challenging the trip, the better.

The top source for travel inspiration is travel blogs and websites (48%) followed by restaurants and food (44%). Men are more likely to find inspiration for a trip from newspapers (24%) than women (14%), who are more likely to find travel advice and recommendations from friends and family (73%) compared to men (55%).

There’s also a divide in what men and women seek from their trip, with 58% of male-identifying respondents saying the purpose of traveling is to capture a single, epic moment compared to 28% of female-identifying respondents who are looking for longevity.

The Razorfish report, titled “Epic Travel Experiences of the Thrifty Traveler,” is based on interviews with members of the Refinery29 and Vice Media Group’s online communities and an online survey of 548 “budget travelers.”



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