As summer 2023 kicks off, millions of consumers are packing their bags to explore a new city, embark on an exciting adventure, or take some much-needed R&R. And with so many movies and TV shows inspiring us to update our travel vision boards, many travelers are seeking ways to live like their favorite characters, even on a budget.
From all-inclusive resorts to food-themed destinations, grab your passport and check out some of this year’s latest travel trends among Gen Z and Millennials using data from MarketCast’s Social Research Insights and our Ad Solutions in-market ad measurement teams.
1. Younger travelers turn to social media, film, and TV for inspiration for travel destinations.
Who hasn’t binged a show and wished they could experience the same luxuries and adventures as their favorite characters (without all the murders)? The latest trend among Millennials and Gen Z is set-jetting, where travelers plan their trips around their favorite streaming content, from staying at exact resorts to finding iconic on-screen locations (restaurants, beaches, buildings, etc.)
A recent American Express survey reported that social media has inspired 75 percent of respondents to travel to a specific destination. The same study found 70 percent of Gen Z and Millennial respondents agree they’ve been inspired to visit a destination after seeing it featured in a TV show, news source, or movie.
According to Business Insider, the Four Seasons Maui’s web traffic increased by 425 percent after season one of Max’s (HBO) The White Lotus aired (excuse me while I live out my Jennifer Coolidge dreams.) Other entertainment titles that are sparking travel inspiration include Emily in Paris (Paris), Wednesday (Romania), Lord of the Rings: Rings of Power (Auckland), Barbie (Santa Monica), and more.
In addition, shows like Netflix’s Street Food and social media food content creators have helped spread awareness surrounding different cultural foods, sparking travelers to curate their itineraries around restaurants and foods they want to eat. In fact, the American Express survey found that 47 percent of Gen Z and Millennials planned a trip specifically around a visit to a particular restaurant.
2. Most consumers prioritize budget-friendly travel hacks above convenience or amenities
Just because travelers want to vacation like the cast of The White Lotus doesn’t mean they have to spend like them. According to a survey conducted by NerdWallet, 92 percent of those planning to travel in summer 2023 chose their accommodations and flights based on price (39 percent and 34 percent, respectively) instead of amenities or convenience. This may not come as a surprise, given the price for flights, hotels, and car rentals have yet to come down following the post-pandemic travel surge in 2022 (caused by what many have dubbed “revenge travel.”)
When looking at younger travelers specifically, a study by StudentUniverse found that two in three Gen Zs look for the cheapest options when traveling and shared they are willing to wait to purchase their flights and travel expenses on days when prices are lower.
Many people still seeking a more luxurious travel experience are taking advantage of credit card points and miles to get better deals, such as flying first class, staying in larger suites, or earning exclusive experiences. There is even a trend among newlyweds using credit cards for all their wedding expenses and using the points to fund their honeymoon. In fact, according to MarketCast’s Social Research Insights team, posts including #weddingcreditcard has garnered 9.5M views on TikTok.
Those looking to travel within their budget also turn to all-inclusive travel options, which have been gaining popularity in recent years. A study by ABTA found that 29 percent of people plan to take an all-inclusive holiday in 2023 to help them manage their finances.
Even big-name hotels are investing in all-inclusive stays and packages. Marriott recently created a new brand called “All-Inclusive by Marriott Bonvoy,” while Hyatt acquired Apple Leisure Group in November 2021. Princess Cruises also shared they’ve seen an 18 percent increase in all-inclusive packages booked by guests in the UK and Ireland sailing this year.
3. Gen Z viewers don’t relate to traditional ads in the travel industry compared to older generations
With so much social media conversation happening about travel, we wanted to understand how traditional TV and CTV ads were performing with audiences across demographics. We tapped the MarketCast Ad Solutions team to understand the in-market performance of the top ads in the travel category using our industry-leading Brand Effect measurement platform.
When looking at the entire category, Walt Disney Resorts & Parks’ ad “Wake Up: Summer Offer” had the strongest Brand Recall (the percentage of viewers that remember both the ad’s content and the advertised brand) across all generations, except for Gen Z.
Although Disney Resorts’ ad had the lowest Brand Recall with Gen Z, it has the highest Brand Appeal with the generation compared to the others. This tells us that even though Gen Z did not remember the specific content of the ad as well as Millennials, Gen X, or Boomers, they still showed interest and liked what they saw.
However, Gen Z did have stronger recall of ads from Airbnb and Disney Cruise Line when compared to booking websites such as Priceline. In fact, Airbnb’s ad “Islands: Voicemail” performed the best among Gen Zers and even scored the highest for Booking Interest (viewers’ likelihood to book/stay based on the ad) compared to the other ads we measured in the category.
Gen Z’s attraction to Airbnb is evident, as their high Likeability Linkage (Brand Appeal) score and staggering Booking Interest score showcase their enthusiasm to explore unique accommodations and experiences offered by the Airbnb brand. The love of exploration and unique experiences rang true for Millennials, as they also demonstrated a keen interest in booking vacations with Airbnb.
Booking.com’s captivating ad, “Somewhere, Anywhere,” featuring the talented Melissa McCarthy, has also struck a chord with viewers, making it engaging across all age groups. The ad’s irresistible charm formed a positive impression of the brand, enhancing its reputation and inspiring potential customers to book their next travel adventure.
At MarketCast, we love to help travel and hospitality brands understand what’s driving audience interest and engagement with their products and services. The MarketCast Social Research Insights team has a finger on the pulse of sentiment and behavior for all generations and our Ad Solutions team will help you optimize your ad creative and measure in-market performance. Give us a shout to get started!