With Travel Up 5 Percent, UNiDAYS and Ad Age Studio 30 Unveil Gen Z Travel Behaviors in New Report

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More than 46 million Americans will hit the road this Fourth of July holiday, and many will be a new travelers – Gen Zers who are traveling independently (some for the first time) this Independence Day. Gen Z: The Traveling Generation study reveals surprising findings from over 11,000 students aged 17-23 in the U.S., U.K., Australia and New Zealand.

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Brands that attract Gen Z now can create brand affinities that will last a lifetime,” says UNiDAYS Head of Travel Innovation Stacey Paul.

More than 46 million Americans will hit the road this Fourth of July holiday, and many will be a new travelers – Gen Zers who are traveling independently (some for the first time) this Independence Day.

According to a new study by UNiDAYS and Ad Age Studio 30, 99 percent of what Gen Z ers like to travel and they have the interest, independence and means to do it – independently. These are among the many findings in the new study, which sets out to quantify Gen Z’s preferences for travel, dispel myths, and outline what marketers can do to attract this always-on-the-go, digital-native generation.

Called “Meet Gen Z: The Traveling Generation,” the report is based on qualitative research generated by a survey of 11,661 college students between the ages of 17 and 23 in the U.S., U.K., Australia and New Zealand and on the UNiDAYS network, the world’s leading Student Affinity Network. The full report can be accessed at http://www.adage.com/genzinsights.

Gen Z commands up to $143 billion in spending power in the U.S. alone. The survey identified how the young adults spend discretionary funds on travel, including: how often and how far they travel, how much they spend, where they go, where they stay, what they do, and what incentives attract them to a destination. Key findings include:

  • Gen Z has means. A majority (62 percent) say they work and save to finance travel, and 69 percent describe their travel style as affordable with an occasional splurge. U.S. students spend between $250 and $750 per trip, on average, and only 18 percent of all surveyed rely on parents to pay for trips.
  • Unlike their Millennial counterparts, Gen Zers actually prefer hotels over Airbnb and vacation rentals.
  • Spring break-style, all-night parties are a thing of the past. In fact, partying came in at a distant sixth place in a list of things Gen Zers like to do when traveling. Instead, the No. 1 activity on a trip is eating out.
  • A large portion of Gen Zers are college students, and value is important. When it comes to booking their flights, 76 percent said price was the key factor in their decision-making. Incentives and special offers are also attractive - 59 percent said they would take brands up on offers.

About the findings, Stacey Paul, Head of Travel Innovation at UNiDAYS said: “It’s clear that Gen Z seeks out new experiences and has the spending power to check things off their bucket lists. Travel brands will attract this influential generation if they abandon the one-size-fits-all marketing mentality and develop programs tailored to Gen Z with compelling offers aligned to their travel preferences. Gen Zers are at a time in their lives when they are just starting to make decisions about how and where they spend their money -- and travel is quite clearly a category where this matters most. Brands that attract them now have a chance to create brand affinities that will last a lifetime.”

Meet Gen Z: the Traveling Generation is part of a year-long partnership between UNiDAYS and Ad Age Studio 30 that includes four global research studies exploring Gen Z attitudes among college students, ages 17 to 23 in the U.S., the U.K., Australia and New Zealand. Survey topics and questions are designed to highlight what’s newsworthy and trending, as well as showcase topics highly relevant to Gen Z and brands looking to attract them. For more insights and tips on how to engage Gen Z and build loyalty for a lifetime, visit GenZInsights.com, driven by UNiDAYS.

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UNiDAYS is the world's leading Student Affinity Network. Today, UNiDAYS connects brands to more than 10 million Gen Z college students around the world, giving them the power to make every experience more valuable and rewarding. The UNiDAYS award-winning marketing platform provides student verification technology and integrated marketing solutions to some of the world's most recognizable brands, including Levi's, Adidas and Samsung. Founded in 2011 by CEO Josh Rathour, and headquartered in Nottingham, U.K., UNiDAYS also has offices in London, New York and Sydney. UNiDAYS was honored as one of the top ten fastest-growing companies in the UK by the Sunday Times Tech Track 100. For more information, visit http://www.myunidays.com/genz

About Ad Age
Ad Age is a daily must-read for an influential audience of decision makers and disruptors across the marketing and media landscape. Created in 1930 to cover a burgeoning industry with objectivity, accuracy, and fairness, Ad Age continues to be powered by award-winning journalism. Today, Ad Age is a global media brand focusing on curated creativity, data and analysis, people and culture, and innovation and forecasting. From vital print editions to must-attend events and innovative platform offerings, its industry-leading offerings include the coveted A-List & Creativity Awards, the Ad Age Next Conference, and proprietary data such as the Leading National Advertisers Report from the Ad Age Datacenter. Ad Age Studio 30 is the custom content arm of Ad Age, specializing in the creation of branded content that resonates with the Ad Age audience.

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Ellen Hartman

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