Industry Report: Mind the generation gap – how social media influencers inspire Gen Z

Industry Report: Mind the generation gap – how social media influencers inspire Gen Z

Social media influencers are inspiring one in five young travellers to head off on holiday – but their impact drops dramatically over the generations, new research shows.

A poll carried out for World Travel Market London – the leading global event for the travel industry – found that 19.7% of those aged 18-24 said that they got information about holiday destinations from social media influencers.

That proportion declined across the age categories, falling to 10.6% for those aged 25-34; 8.9% for the 35-44 age group, and 7.1% for those for aged 45-54. 

The rate plunged to just 1.7% for those in the 55-64 age group and a mere 0.6% for those aged 65 or older.

It shows how travel decisions of Generation Z – those born in the late 90s and into the noughties – are much more influenced by platforms such as Instagram and TikTok than the older generations.

Overall, social media influencers were cited by 7.8% of the 2,000 adults who were asked: “How do you get information about your holiday destination of choice?”

The most popular answers were the internet (36.4%) and websites (22.1%).

Information from friends, family, colleagues was cited by 15.4% – while traditional travel agents were tipped by 8.4%, putting them just ahead of social media influencers.

Lower down the rankings were brochures (4.2%), newspapers (2.9%) and magazines (1.9%).

However, when asked “How did you book your next holiday?”, those in the 18-24 age group were most likely to book with a travel agent (cited by 25.4%), while those aged 65+ were the least likely (11%).

More than a third of all respondents (37.5%) said they had not yet booked a holiday; and a similar proportion (35.4%) said they booked themselves using online tools.

Booking with travel agents was cited by 16.7% across the whole range of respondents.

Furthermore, when asked “Do you think travel agents do a good job?”, six in ten (59.6%) replied ‘yes’, a quarter said ‘don’t know” (26.1%) and 14.4% responded ‘no’.

Juliette Losardo, Exhibition Director at World Travel Market London, said:

 “It’s not surprising that the youngest generation of travellers are the most likely to be inspired by social media influencers when choosing where to visit – but it is interesting that those aged 18-24 are also the most likely to book with a travel agent.

“Conversely, just 11% of those aged over 65 cited agents when asked about booking – although that may be because they’re least likely to have bought a holiday this year.

“Diving into the findings of the survey shows about a fifth of those aged 18-34 had not booked a holiday – and the proportion of non-bookers increased as we looked at older age groups.

“Half of those in the 55-64 bracket hadn’t booked, and the figure rose to 55% for those over 65.

“It seems the younger generations were leading the way when it came to booking holidays after Covid travel restrictions were lifted back in March, while many older consumers were more cautious and wary of catching the virus.

“Hopefully, as we continue our return to normality, everyone – no matter their age – will be keen to book a break in 2023 and satisfy their wanderlust.”

Delegates at World Travel Market London can find out more about marketing for different generations; how post-pandemic trends are influencing the way consumers seek information about holidays; and how travellers book their trips.

One session entitled ‘Future of Travel Marketing’ will feature leading marketing experts discussing the ‘new normal’ as we head into 2023.

For more detail on Gen Z – and their younger siblings in Generation Alpha – delegates can attend the session called ‘Recognising the Value of Youth & Student Travel’.

For a concise guide to social media influencers and travel marketing, check out this article on the WTM Blog:

Future of Travel Marketing

Recognising the Value of Youth & Student Travel–student-travel.html

Read more about social media influencers and travel on the WTM Blog

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