Skift Take

Millennials and Gen Z are steering travel trends with a focus on technology, sustainability, and a quest for distinctive and meaningful experiences.

What are the preferences and behaviors of Millennials and Gen Z travelers across the United States, the United Kingdom, and Germany?

Skift Research’s latest report, “Exploring Gen Z and Millennial Travel,” offers analysis of these groups’ journey logistics, destination experiences, loyalty considerations, and more.

We found key differences between young travelers from the U.S. and Europe. Those from the UK and Germany leaned towards more adventurous travel behavior and were open to enjoying more vacation days. Half of U.S. Millennials exhibited a penchant for domestic travel, with a strong preference for exploring the diverse landscapes within the country. Higher international travel rates were seen in the UK and Germany.

Economic factors, including airfare costs and international tariffs, may play a role in influencing Gen Z’s inclination towards domestic travel.

The report underscores the influence of digital platforms on travel decisions, with 57% of individuals relying on social media channels for travel planning. Instagram, YouTube, and Facebook are primary platforms for travel inspiration, indicating a shift towards online and visual mediums. Gen Z displays a clear preference for TikTok and Snapchat.

There is a clear inclination towards direct booking. Millennials and Gen Z prefer direct online channels for flight bookings, with Gen Z showing a higher reliance on Online Travel Agencies (OTAs).

There is also a tendency toward last-minute bookings and short-term and flexible travel planning.

Hotels remain the dominant choice for accommodation, with boutique hotels and vacation rentals gaining popularity. Vacation rentals are more favored by Gen Z compared to Millennials.

Destination experiences highlight varying transportation preferences and in-destination activities. Millennials and Gen Z express a significant interest in wellness activities. The survey indicates a shared interest in prioritizing and seeking out tourism operators adhering to social and environmental standards, underlining a preference for sustainable travel practices among these generations.

Loyalty considerations reveal a higher inclination of Millennials towards airline loyalty programs compared to Gen Z. Both generations use loyalty points to reduce travel expenses. Hotel loyalty program participation shows a narrower divide between the two generations, with a consistent pattern of active engagement.

Technology and work dynamics showcase a higher frequency of digital tools usage among Millennials, reflecting variations in reliance on these tools for travel planning and during travels. The data highlights a significant trend of blended travel, with a higher percentage of Millennials extending their recent business trips for leisure compared to Gen Z.

Societal and economic factors indicate a positive outlook for the travel industry, with respondents anticipating an increase in total travel spending over the next 12 months. Millennials exhibit slightly higher optimism towards increased travel spending. Concerns about climate change, tourism’s impact on local communities, and the balance between travel and work responsibilities underscore the growing significance of social and environmental considerations in travel decisions.

What You’ll Learn From This Report

  • Travel Preferences and Motivations
  • Journey Logistics
  • Experiencing the Destination
  • Loyalty and Financial Considerations
  • Technology and Work Dynamics
  • Societal and Economic Factors

This is the latest in a series of reports and data products that Skift Research puts out to help you analyze the biggest trends in the travel industry. Tap into the opinions and insights of our seasoned network of staffers and contributors. More than 200 hours of desk research, data collection, and/or analysis goes into each report.

By subscribing to Skift Research, you will gain access to our entire vault of reports conducted on topics ranging from technology to marketing strategy to deep dives on key travel brands. You will also be able to access our proprietary Skift Travel Health Index, Skift Travel Company Tracker, Hotel Tech Benchmark, and data from our regular traveler surveys.


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Tags: accommodations, adventure travel, AI in travel, blended travel, booking trends, flight bookings, loyalty, skift research, traveler behavior

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