As this Report dives into the changing preferences of travelers by generation, below you’ll find a summary of research findings within each travel segment.
Baby Boomers (ages 57 - 74):
Food and dining are an important part of the travel experience for Baby Boomers. Restaurants and culinary experiences are their top priority for their travel budget (45%), and they seek out local and regional cuisine when traveling (86%). Notably, Baby Boomers appear to prefer in-person dining rather than take-out or grab-and-go options. Baby Boomers are also less likely to embrace QR codes than their younger cohorts.
While many Baby Boomers recognize the benefit of technology, they really appreciate the ‘human’ factor of hospitality. They are more than twice as likely to say the ‘human’ factor of hospitality makes the travel experience rather than that technology helps reduce travel stress. Service is paramount.
Gen X (ages 43 - 56):
In many ways, Gen X falls between Baby Boomers and Millennials in their travel preferences. While technology is an important part of their booking and travel experience, it is not as important as among the younger generations. Gen Xers still expect their personal devices to be able to work seamlessly while traveling (79%) and say it is important to be able to book their travel entirely online (79%). Like Millennials and Gen Z, they want to experience something new when they travel (84%) and want to feel taken care of or pampered (78%).
And like Baby Boomers, Gen X travelers prioritize restaurants and culinary experiences (45%), and they seek out local and regional cuisine when traveling (87%). They also like having a good hotel restaurant (81%) and enjoy a unique hotel bar (65%). Gen Xers appreciate getting local advice on where to dine.
Millennials (ages 27 - 42):
Millennials agree it is important that they feel cared for while traveling (83%), and they are willing to spend more for comfort and convenience while traveling. When travel budgeting, two in five Millennials prioritize indulgence and pampering (36%) and wellness-focused experiences (37%).
Millennials want to rest and recharge (60%) but also prioritize exploration and adventure (52%). Notably, the experiences they seek can be quite diverse. About one in three Millennials prioritize cultural events (33%) or live music experiences (30%) in their travel budget, and about one in four prioritize sporting events (26%). Millennials also look for ways to get outdoors and enjoy a hike or a beach.
Many Millennials have reached the stage in their life where they are more established in their careers and starting their families. Having family-friendly options is especially important to Millennial parents when traveling (91%).
Gen Z (ages 16 - 26):
Gen Zers are starting out their adulthood and in search of adventures and experiences. Many see travel as a path to self-discovery and growth. Two in five Gen Zers say it is very important that they experience something new when they travel (43%), and the top priority for their travel budget is exploration and adventure (52%).
While travel is a priority in their budget and they plan to spend more on travel in 2024 (72%), they are still early in their careers and may have budget and time limitations.
Planning and budgeting for travel is stressful for Gen Zers, and technology will play a key role in the future of travel for this age group. They say it is important that they can book their trips entirely online (83%) and bundle their reservations and services with their hotel bookings (74%). It is important that they are able to use their personal devices seamlessly while traveling (84%). And three-in-four Gen Zers say QR codes have improved the dining experience (74%).