A new study from Expedia Group Media Solutions explores how the world’s youngest generation is influencing family travel.
We’ve been bombarded with media takes and analysis covering the millennial generation for what feels like forever. Members of Generation Z, or those “loosely” born between 1995 and 2010, according to McKinsey, are now starting to make their mark on societal shifts as well. But what comes next?
Enter Generation Alpha, or those born after 2010. They’re the children of millennials, the first generation born entirely within the 21st century, completely digitally native, and tech-savvy from a young age. The phrase was coined by Mark McCrindle, a social researcher in Australia, who forecasts that there will be 2 billion members of Generation Alpha globally by 2025.
Members of Generation Alpha may be young, but they’re already influencing the decisions that their parents and families make, especially when it comes to travel. In order to understand how these youngest travelers and their families travel and how they get to their travel-related decisions, Expedia Group Media Solutions partnered with Northstar Research Partners to conduct a global survey of nearly 10,000 travelers with a child or grandchild born in 2010 or later. Here are four key takeaways from the study:
Fun comes first: There are a number of elements that travelers consider when they’re planning family vacations and the activities, experiences, and attractions they’ll partake in while on the trip. But first and foremost comes making sure that the family is in high spirits. Ninety-five percent of respondents agree that “keeping their family entertained and happy is of the utmost importance” when planning a trip, and travelers are most likely to seek out theme parks and attractions (74 percent), water activities (67 percent), and outdoor activities (55 percent) to keep their families entertained.
Convenience trumps price: It’s not particularly surprising to hear that budget is top of mind for those planning family travel. Eight out of 10 respondents agreed that budget is a primary factor when researching and planning a trip. But convenience is perhaps even more important. Fifty-two percent of travelers said they choose their transportation based on convenience, compared to 34 percent who said they choose based on what’s most affordable. Meanwhile, accommodation-related decisions are most likely to be based on location (41 percent), family needs (39 percent), and price (36 percent). Showcasing convenience, while backing it up with an attractive deal, is key to attracting these travelers.
Children play a role in planning: Eighty percent of respondents said they talk about travel with their Generation Alpha child or grandchild at least somewhat frequently, and 43 percent said that these children influence family travel decisions. Generation Alphas are most likely to influence the destination chosen (64 percent) and the activities on the trip (57 percent) — though adults make the final decisions.
Family travel decisions are shaped by multiple channels: For most families, the travel planning process is a collaborative one — but children and their parents and grandparents are obviously influenced by different messaging. According to their parents and grandparents, imagery or information that show kid-friendly activities and attractions and travel-related imagery or information they see on television have the most sway over these younger travelers. Meanwhile, parents and grandparents are most likely to make their decisions based on travel review sites and online travel agencies, recommendations from family, friends, and colleagues, and search engine results. In order to appeal to both older and younger groups, messaging should contain appealing imagery, deals, and informative content, but should also be interactive and highlight fun and entertainment.
For more insights on how traveler behavior is changing, download the full study.