The Gen Z Generation: Who They Are and What They Stand For

September 2, 2023

Studying the different generations and what makes them tick is fascinating and can play a very important role in how we communicate with different age groups as well as market to them. Gen Z, those born between 1997 and 2012, just might be the most interesting generation to appreciate, especially when it comes to business and business travel. They have grown up in the digital age, have the world at their fingertips, and have high expectations for themselves and the companies they do business with.gen-z-woman.webp

The Emergence of Gen Z in the Business Travel Landscape

Unlike their parents and grandparents, Gen Z intuitively uses their mobile devices and convenient apps for just about everything. No more travel agencies, no more paper tickets, no more strict schedules. These digital natives, as they are coined, are redefining business as usual and creating a new normal that is blending business and leisure to create “bleisure”.

Gen Z Travel: A New Era in the Corporate World

As this growing population becomes a major percentage of the workforce, they bring a fresh, new approach to their career expectations. They see business travel as an opportunity to explore, learn and grow personally. They are extremely interested in finding a less stressful work/life balance. They are also seeking out companies that have the same beliefs as they do. They want to see and experience the world and are incorporating leisure travel into their business schedules.

How Gen Z Is Shaping Business Travel

Gen Z has quite strong perspectives and personal values that are transforming business travel. As they become a major contributor to the workforce, their expectations for internet connectivity, personalization, and flexibility are becoming key factors in their decision-making.

Gen Z Travel Trends: A Blend of Business and Leisure

Take a look at three travel trends which are important to this growing age group:

  •  Bleisure Travel : Gen Z wants to take advantage of any time away from home by blending business commitments with leisure. Extended stays, getting to know the local culture, and looking for experiences are common themes.
  •  Experiential Travel : Gen Zs are looking for enjoyable experiences and new things to see and do. You might say it’s not just about getting to their destination, it’s all about the experience of getting there and being there that adds value and meaning to their journey. They want to travel with a purpose and will take extra steps to accomplish this.
  •  Workations : COVID lockdowns and the rise of remote work opportunities changed the traditional 40-hour, 9-to-5 work week forever. Gen Zers, with mobile device in hand, enjoy working remotely and are happy to take their work on the road. This ability to combine work with vacation, called workations, focuses on scenic and culturally rich locations.

The Impact of Technology and Digitalization of Gen Z Business Travel

Gen Z has never lived without the internet. It is now second nature to them, and they depend on the latest technology to help them navigate their day. Cell phones, smartwatches, and mobile devices are always able to access the internet and keep them connected and informed. This is a game changer and will continue to grow stronger into the future.

  •  Artificial Intelligence : (AI) leads the way in assisting Gen Z to discover exciting and personalized recommendations for everything, including off-the-beaten-path places to eat, see, and explore. These travelers expect seamless tech solutions for business travel including booking, checking in, reserving transportation, and managing their itinerary.
  •  Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality : Gen Z will research and plan their own itinerary and learn about where they are headed in advance. Virtual onsite visits, budget friendly accommodations, virtual business meetings, and online tours are popular and continue to trend.gen-z-digital.webp

The Future of Business Travel: Through the Lens of Gen Z

Gen Z sees business travel as an opportunity to learn, grow, explore, and enjoy their lives. Mixing business with pleasure and finding a work-life balance is vital. They are also focused on eco-friendly options and favor doing business with like-minded companies.

Sustainability and Social Responsibility: The Gen Z Approach to Business Travel

Gen Z has grown up in a time when climate change and other environmental issues have flooded the news. They are also focused on social well-being and supporting local communities where they travel.

  •  They Care About the Environment: Gen Z will prioritize environmental travel options including airlines with lower carbon footprints, electric vehicles, and eco-friendly hotels. They will favor businesses that focus on protecting the environment over those who don’t make these issues a priority.
  •  They Are Sensitive to Local Impact: Gen Z cares about how their decisions impact the communities where they do business. They will spend time and money with companies that give back to their local community while intentionally not supporting those who don’t.
  •  Their Stays Are Longer : In an effort to reduce their carbon footprint, Gen Z business travelers prefer less frequent, yet longer trips. This approach also allows them to experience new cultures for longer periods of time.
  •  Tailored Experiences : This generation has grown up with streaming services, personalized ads, and other online approaches customized specifically for them. They look for business travel solutions that consider their individual preferences.
  •  Seamless Technology : This digital native generation expects seamless technology to help them plan better, including researching accommodations or finding interesting experiences.
  •  Flexibility Matters : The business landscape has changed from the traditional workday to a more flexible, remote normal. Gen Z prefers travel options that are adjustable and fit into flexible schedules.
  •  Focus on Health & Wellness : Health and wellness is a priority and Gen Z will look for options that include better air circulation on airplanes, healthier food options in hotels, and destinations that offer mental health and physical fitness amenities.

The Role of Gen Z In the Post-Pandemic Business Travel Revival

As people get more comfortable with post-pandemic travel and the world returns to business travel, Gen Z will lead this exciting revival. Airports are fuller, hotels are offering more bookings, and many hitting the highways and airways are Gen Z. Their fresh perspectives and flexible preferences are causing major pivots that are trickling down into many aspects of business travel.

Post-Pandemic Business Travel: What Gen Z Travelers Expect

Gen Z has specific expectations that are fundamentally changing the travel industry. Their attitudes, and personal preferences, teamed with the ever-changing and improving digital world, hold the key to the future.

Take a look at how this generation is influencing business travel.

  •  Connectivity Everywhere All the Time : Gen Z views the internet as essential as water. Whether booking airfare, hotel accommodations, or transportation, no matter what time of day or night, constant connectivity is a priority.
  •  Eco-Conscious Decision-Making: Gen Z will research and find businesses that specifically provide eco-friendly practices.
  •  Authentic Travel with Experiences : This generation is not afraid to mix business with pleasure. Business is the primary reason but they are always on the lookout for fun, interesting side trips.

How Gen Z is Pioneering the Return to Business Travel Revival

The pandemic has opened everyone’s eyes to safe and secure travel choices, but safety is paramount to Gen Z travelers.

  •  Digital Age Masters : Gen Z’s routine use of mobile devices has accelerated the use of digital health passports, no-contact payments, and an array of virtual collaboration travel tools.
  •  Flexibility Key : Gen Zs grew up in the middle of the remote working trend and are used to being adaptable. They appreciate flexible lifestyles and will find resources that respect this view.
  •  Self-Care Priority : Self-care is important to this generation. They will select accommodations that offer activities like yoga, exercise classes, and meditation for stress relief.

Impact of Gen Z On the Future of Business Travel: An Industry Perspective

Business as usual is changing and businesses that want to reach this important target market must listen and adapt. Technology and consecutiveness are front and center, but much more plays into addressing Gen Z values and preferences.

Gen Z Business Travel Preferences: Implications for Hotels and Airlines

The future of business travel is shifting, thanks to the expectations of Gen Z. As mentioned earlier, this age group is seeking something different from earlier generations. Hotels and airlines that are recognizing these shifting trends will gain their trust and loyalty by providing younger travelers with information and experiences that matter.

  •  Social Media : A Marketing Must: Taking advantage of social media and social media influencers to share positives of what a company has to offer is no longer a back-burner marketing tool. It is the first place a Gen Z will go. Traditional advertising is not interesting to them. They are looking for multiple authentic, customer-approved reviews, and relatable travel opinions that they can use to plan their trip. Gen Z doesn't depend on a travel agent: they take this responsibility on their own and design a personalized experience.
  •  Peer Review : Search Engines are as outdated as The Yellow Pages. Gen Z depends more on peer reviews and algorithmic recommendations (like TikTok).
  •  KISS Marketing Approach : The ‘Keep It Simple Stupid’ marketing approach will reach the Gen Z target audience. Their attention spans are bombarded with information, and to get a message seen and understood, it must be quick and effective. They would rather see an attention-getting funny catchphrase that gets to the point rather than read lengthy, complex details.
  •  Continual Connections: Businesses that use social media to create ongoing connections after a Gen Z creates an order will keep them engaged. Travel partners can share a variety of things purchasers can do during their stay, tips for efficient packing , stories about previous customer experiences, and other useful digital content.

Redesigning Business Travel Experiences for the Gen Z Workforce

Unlike past generations that saved up for traveling, Gen Z members like to travel at least three times each year even with annual incomes of less than $50,000. They don't want to wait to experience new places, so prefer to find ways to budget and enjoy traveling now. How Gen Z is shaping business travel and the demographic’s strong influence is making the travel industry rethink traditional methods in order to create an "experience economy." Gen Z wants to explore and connect instead of owning material items.

Here are ways to get ahead of the Gen Z curve:

  •  Focus on Emotion : Gen Z is seeking connections with others and enjoying them in common locations. Both airlines and hotels, for example, should create welcoming spaces that encourage connecting and meeting others. Businesses can create spaces with benches instead of chairs, coffee shops with long tables, multiple chairs, fire pits, comfortable lounge areas with worn-in-looking fabrics, rock climbing walls, and other socially-focused furnishings.
  •  Create Add-On Packages : Instead of loyalty points and traditional travel packages, create experience-inspired add-on components like food tours, wine-tasting events, kayaking, festivals, and other fun activities. Create videos for social media to generate excitement and reviews.
  •  Add Green Spaces : Gen Z cares about the environment. Creating green spaces in airports, hotels, and other common spaces will show this generation that you care about the environment and are taking measures to align with their beliefs.

Preparing for Gen Z Business Travel: Recommendations for Companies and Travel Providers

Incorporating Gen Z values into business travel policies is key to reaching this important generation. They will reward your efforts with loyalty and future business. It’s not too early to digitize your marketing efforts, add eco-friendly policies to your agenda and allow them to customize their experiences. The sooner you focus on these changes, the more likely you'll attract Gen Z customers and encourage them to do business with you.

Reserve a Parking Spot for A Seamless and Predictable Experience Today

Your friends at The Parking Spot recognize how Gen Z is shaping business travel, and continue to offer programs that make airport parking an easy and enjoyable experience, no matter someone’s age. Our easy-to-use app tracks every important detail you need when you need it. This and many other seamless convenient features make business travel a breeze. Learn more today about how The Parking Spot is making business travel a simple, predictable, and personal experience.

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