3 things brands can learn from Gen Z's Wanderlust

When I told my parents a few months ago that my main holiday destination for 2018 would be the Philippines, there was frowning in all possible directions, followed by the comment: “Why always so far? We didn’t do any of this at your age.” Which brings me straight to the essence of this blog: blame it on my being part of the next generation, the tech-savvy experience-seeking AND Wanderlust generation: the so-called tripsters.


To quote the Urban Dictionary (or just Wikipedia), Wanderlust can be defined as ‘having a strong desire for or impulse to wander or travel and explore the world’ – which is basically something lots of the next generations (including me) ‘suffer’ from. According to a Ypulse study, 96% of our generation is interested in traveling and getting out of our comfort zones. We aim to explore the world, discover new places and spend our money on unique experiences (rather than big purchases), which leads to us going on at least three or four trips a year – the further, the better.


Okay, so we are true experience seekers. We love mapping our own itineraries and planning our trips, pushing boundaries, embracing the ordinary, and discovering shortcuts that will allow us to cut costs without sacrificing any part of the experience. But above all, we aspire an authentic connection with others and with the world around us. The further we travel, the closer we want to be to other travelers on the one hand and to locals on the other: think locally-owned accommodation, the charm of local guides, visits to local producers and artisans and buying their products. Connecting with and contributing to the local community makes us feel we are doing the right thing – which fits perfectly with our quest for (macro)meaning.

Also, we are still a social(-media) generation, using our mobiles from beginning to end as a reference item, from searching for Instagram-worthy locations and making bookings to mapping out our routes and keeping our social channels up-to-date with pictures and (live) videos.


In short: we, the next generations, are suffering from Wanderlust big time, and at the same time we are redefining the travel landscape as you know it. This makes us the fastest-growing (and most interesting) customer segment within the travel/ hospitality industry.

But how can brands attract and evolve together with us, young adult travelers? Here are three things to remember:

srprs roadmap

1. Offer us an experience to remember

The last few years, a lot of new travel and hospitality initiatives have popped up to offer young travelers an optimized travel experience, and successfully so., for example, offers trips to surprise destinations based on your personal preferences. Another one is the Ark, a five-day festival cruise that takes you along different cities and islands whilst you can sunbathe and dance the night (and day) away. The power is in the mix, one could say, and it’s true. Just think about Tomorrowland’s Global Journey packages and their new initiative Tomorrowland Winter, combining the best of both (the festival -and winter holiday) worlds.

Also, the hotel business is now all about creating and selling experiences, with brand-new packages and offerings especially for the younger generations: Marriott Moxy ChainHilton Curio and Thomas Cook’s Casa Cook are but a few of the cool examples.

Advert Sun Island Resort & Spa

2. Appeal to our best travel pal: our mobile

Being an impatient generation that wants to get things done whenever we want, wherever we want, one can assume our mobile is our main travel pal. We use it for every step of our travel cycle: before, during and after. And that’s where brands come in. There already are a lot of travel apps out there to assist us in every step, yet lately travel and hospitality instances have been experimenting with more advanced technology in travel marketing, introducing AI and VR. A lot of tourism instances for example now offer 360° VR videos, to help you choose your destination. Emirates Airlines turned its banner ads into chatbots, to help travelers with questions and bookings. And if you need packing assistance, there’s KLM’s smart packing assistance, an interactive voice-driven pack assistant on Google Home. And these are only some top examples, so a lot more of time-saving initiatives will come our way.

Experiences view recently

3. Let us go glocal

Whilst discovering the world, young travelers are more inclined to design their trips around authentic, cultural experiences. Go global and meet the local is very hot in travel business lately, with for example Airbnb also offering local experiences (like cooking classes, guided local tours, etc.) to travelers, next to their accommodation platform offer. And hotels are also participating: global hotel group Accor hotels, for example, launched AccorLocal, an app to connect travelers with local businesses and offer non-guests the chance to use their hotel services.

Yet again, the power is in the mix; whatever works to contribute to the next generations’ Wanderlust giant bucket list, right?

So, summer’s coming and travel plans are being made. Where will you be heading?

Want to explore how your brand can connect with this woke consumer? Discover what our Gen Z research toolbox and expert power can do for your brand!

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