A survey conducted by TourRadar - the world’s largest online marketplace for multi-day tours - found that younger travelers are key to tourism’s immediate recovery. Approximately 42% of survey respondents under the age of 35 years old are still hoping to travel in 2020 compared to 28% of respondents over 55 years old. The survey also found that compared to travelers over the age of 55, travelers ages 18 - 34 are less likely to wait for a COVID-19 vaccine or acquired immunity.
“The tourism industry is experiencing a rapid shift in its marketing focus for the immediate future,” says Christian Wolters, Chief Marketing Officer at TourRadar. “Travelers over the age of 55 have been a driving force for tourism over the past decade, but when it comes to travel’s recovery, 18 to 34-year-olds will lead the way in the short term.”
Aizaz Sheikh, Global Marketing Director at G Adventures, says the company's own research aligns with that of TourRadar, with millennials (25-39) more likely to travel first, with 20% saying they want to travel as soon as late-2020.
"In recognizing the different travel preferences of younger travelers we have created a dedicated Instagram feed for our '18-to-Thirtysomethings' travel style. The tone and images are different, as are the stories we tell. This is a generation that really wants to make a difference in the world, so they will not only be key to the return of travel, but also how we can travel in a more responsible way post-pandemic," says Sheikh.
To reach younger travelers, brands may want to shift their offerings and meet this audience on social media where they interact the most. In 2019, almost 30% of the tours booked on TourRadar by 18 to 34-year-olds were those that fall under the ‘Adventure’ travel style, compared to only 11% of the share bookings by travelers over the age of 55 for that category. Businesses offering RV trips and glamping have also seen success so far in 2020 as travelers, especially younger ones, look to get outdoors. In terms of marketing channels, reports have shown that nearly 90 percent of Gen Z members get trip planning inspiration from online social networks such as Facebook, Instagram, and Snapchat.
Flexibility is a Must
According to the report, The single best thing a travel brand can offer right now is flexible booking dates. Following COVID-19, 67% of travelers will now expect travel companies to offer the ability to change dates or receive a credit voucher. 51% expect access to travel insurance covering COVID-19 related situations, and 50% expect mandatory health assessments of all travelers on-site prior to travel. In April, TourRadar implemented its own flexible booking option for select operators to boost traveler confidence.
Multi-day Touring is Here to Stay
On a positive note, 90% of all respondents showed interest in embarking on a multi-day tour once they are able to travel again. 66% shared that they would prefer to take a guided group tour following COVID-19. 68% of participants said the situation caused by COVID-19 either had no impact on their likelihood to take a private guided tour or made it less likely.
Travelers Want Smaller Groups
The majority of participants (53%) are inclined to tour with up to 10 people, this includes people interested exclusively in private self-guided experiences (15%). A significant portion (31%) would also travel in medium-sized groups of up to 20 people.
Still Euro Dreaming
63% of travelers of all respondents said they want to visit Europe on their next vacation.
This consumer survey was distributed to TourRadar’s global email subscribers and collected responses over a period of 18 days in June. Over 5,000 people participated.