Culture and trends
min read

3 ways Gen Z are disrupting the travel industry

Published on
February 14, 2024
Last updated
February 16, 2024

What this article covers

Subscribe to our newsletter

Subscribe to receive the latest blog posts to your inbox every week.

Subscribe

By subscribing you agree to with our Privacy Policy.


We’re officially in the depths of winter: the latter side of pre-December festivities and fun. The time of year where getting up early seems an impossible feat, you’re craving some much needed Vitamin C, and are practically salivating over the thought of sitting on a balcony overlooking a beach.

It’s no wonder that searches for holidays always spike during this time of year, and why, (according to our data), the Average Order Value for the travel sector doubles in February.

Thanks to Gen Z, however, the world of travel is evolving quicker than you can say “all inclusive”. This cohort of spenders are turning the travel industry on its head, with new trends already disrupting 2024 plans.


Read on to learn three of the hottest movements that your brand needs to know as we approach a new year (and new destinations…).

TikTok: The New Travel Encyclopedia

Move over, Google. Gen Z has found a new guru in the world of travel recommendations – TikTok. With a staggering 410% increase in views on travel content since 2021, the short-form video platform has become a hotspot for inspiration and advice. 

But why TikTok?

Well, the visual nature of TikTok is the secret sauce. Forget lengthy articles; Gen Z craves quick, engaging content that not only tells a story but shows it. Stunning landscapes, hidden gems, and travel hacks are all on display in 15-second clips. It's like a travel documentary on fast-forward, and Gen Z is here for it. 

Travel content not only showcases the beauty of the world – it does so in a way that drives FOMO for young consumers. “Come-with-me” style videos make users crave experiences, whilst influencer partnerships can show them the best way to get these experiences at a lower price point.

@journee Beth and Jamie filled in the Journee Questionnaire and we did the rest. All they had to do was show up at the airport and reveal where they were going. Where will we match you? Fill in our free questionnaire to start your Journee 🎉 #journee #surprisetrip #tripreveal #exploremore #traveltrends2024 #traveldeeper #croatia #visitcroatia #adventure ♬ Summer Vibes - Nico Sainato Tracks & Slip.stream

How is Gen Z engaging with travel on TikTok?

Price point is still king – but social presence is chasing hot on its heels

Gen Z aren’t always about finding the cheapest deal: in fact, a lot of the time, they’ll prioritise experiences. They're willing to pay a little extra for that perfect Instagram-worthy moment. Social media presence is the new currency, and travel decisions are often swayed by the allure of breathtaking views, exotic locales, and the promise of an unforgettable adventure. In fact, 42% of Gen Z want a travel brand to have a fun and entertaining marketing presence.

One example of this is creator Nicole Sunderland, who runs a luxury TikTok travel account with over 1.4 million followers. Nicole has built her community through visual storytelling and creating enviable travel content (linked below, in case you want a nosy…). 

It’s not just about showing off, however. In fact, the key to Nicki’s success is through affiliate marketing – Nicki works with travel brands to offer users special deals, discounts and even tailored itineraries.

For many, the promise of these experiences overtakes the price point: social media means that the question is no longer, "Can I afford it?" but rather, "Will it make my followers jealous?" 

Wonderlust through an eco-friendly lens

They might be chasing picture perfect experiences, but young consumers have made it clear they want to do this through an eco-friendly lens. In fact, a massive 77% have changed their behaviour in the last five years to be more sustainable. Travel choices are just one example of this: from swapping short-haul flights for coaches or going for eco-friendly accommodation, Gen Z are championing responsible practices.

This shift is challenging traditional notions of luxury. It's not just about plush hotels and fancy amenities; it's about responsible tourism that leaves a positive impact. Brands that align with these values are winning the hearts (and wallets) of the environmentally-conscious Gen Z. 

One example is Intrepid Travel. In 2018, Intrepid became one of the first global travel operators to be B Corporation-certified. It has been operating as the world’s largest carbon-neutral company since 2010, carefully measuring and taking care to offset all unavoidable carbon emissions for 13 years.

Whilst it has an enviable Instagram presence, the gold star truly goes to Intreprid’s TikTok account, which is solely run by their travellers and is jam-packed with first hand experiences and visuals.

@intrepid_travel

This adventure has been epic. I got so lucky with a beautiful group of travellers (and new friends) and have a newfound love for Türkiye!✨ 🔍 Premium Turkey in Depth

♬ original sound - Intrepid Travel

Ready to learn more key stats about TikTok and the travel industry? Check out our infographic, jam-packed with exclusive stats and data cherry-picked from Gen Z...

1,000+ brands trust Pion

Ready to see how Pion can supercharge your sales targets?