[dropcap size=big]A[/dropcap]ccording to a study by cruise company Royal Caribbean International, Generation Z (those born between 1995 and 2010) have a powerful influence on the holiday-booking decisions their parents make.
The research shows that 95 per cent of parents believe their children’s happiness is more important when going abroad and consult with their offspring about what they want from a trip before booking.
Generational expert Dr Paul Redmond says: “For the travel industry, Generation Z is an incredibly important cohort. Not only do they exert a powerful influence on their Generation X parents – who are extremely tuned into their well-being and personal development – but they are a generation that care more for experiences than possessions.
“Moreover, as a generation which has grown up with more digital technology at their fingertips than NASA used to launch the Space Shuttle, they expect to see innovation embedded in the experiences around them.”
Redmond continues: “Gen Z seek out experiences that can be shared with others; they want variety, choice and options and – even more importantly – a certain amount of autonomy and independence from Mum and Dad.
“It’s so important that the travel industry listens to them – the annual, two week ‘fly and flop’ holiday on the beach is not going to cut it for them and holiday companies will need to take this into consideration when shaping the holidays of the future.”
What does Gen Z want from a holiday?
Royal Caribbean International spoke to a handful of youngsters who highlighted activities such as Thai boxing, squash and rock climbing, as well as exploring new cultures, swimming with dolphins, making friends and ice cream.
Demonstrating its belief in the power of Gen Z, the cruise company has appointed these children as consultants for its forthcoming ships to “help future-proof its family holiday proposition”.
They will share their feedback directly with Royal Caribbean International’s president and CEO, Michael Bayley, and their first task will be to assess the Independence of the Seas following the ship’s multi-million pound makeover this month.
Although a bit of a marketing gimmick, the cruise company is on to the right idea in listening to what younger generations want from the travel experience. “Pester power” has always been acknowledged as an effective way to manipulate parents and even when children don’t use this tactic, care givers are just as prone to more subtle means of manipulation when booking a holiday. Just look at the success of Disney World.
A final note – the group of kids Royal Caribbean International has chosen are aged between about six and 11. Strictly speaking, those under age eight belong to Generation Alpha, and the company has neglected to consult with older Gen Z reps in the form of teenagers and even those in their very early twenties who might still holiday with their parents.
According to The New York Times, there are more than 2.5 million Gen Alphas born globally every week. When they have all been born (2025), they will number almost two billion.