January 11, 2018

Expedia study: OTAs are the preferred way to book, especially amongst Gen Z

OTA’s spell convenience for travelers, with 80% of Americans saying it is helpful to book all accommodation on one website. Younger generations specifically prefer to book this way.

Expedia.com® released the results of a multi-generational travel study, exploring consumer behavior and travel preferences of American adults from Generation Z (age 18-22) to Baby Boomers (age 55-65). 1 Results illustrate that people are shifting away from a society of stuff (products like clothes, electronics, jewelry), to a society of experiences, and are specifically saving for travel.

“Insights into younger generations preferences are as good as a crystal ball, and currently their trends are pointing towards a great future for the travel space,” said Sarah Gavin, Vice President of Expedia, Inc. Global Communications. “Knowing what travelers of all ages prioritize is important, but the younger generations’ growing love for travel is what keeps us going as we prioritize customer centricity, offering the best deals and the convenience of booking everything at once, all in one place.”

Experiences Over Possessions

Social media is influencing consumer purchasing decisions, with 36% of Gen-Z saying they’ve chosen a travel destination because they saw it on social media. However, priorities are shifting from posting a new handbag to live streaming a ziplining experience.

- 74% of all US respondents said they would prioritize spending spare change on experiences rather than products, especially millennials, with 65% disclosing that they are currently saving money to spend specifically on travel.

- Nearly 20% of Gen-Z respondents said they have stayed at a specific hotel or destination in order to score a positive response from followers on posts on their own social media channels.

- Nearly half of Millennials said they would sell their clothes or furniture to travel more.

Overwhelmingly, travelers prefer to book through online travel agencies

With technology impacting the everyday lives of American consumers, the way Americans prefer to book travel is shifting towards convenience versus brand loyalty.

- Overwhelmingly (80%), each generation studied declared that they preferred booking all travel and hotel accommodations on one site, versus booking each travel item separately.

- 87% of Gen-Z respondents said they find booking all travel components in one place helpful and most (55%) would consider booking entirely through an OTA, with no comparison shopping when asked, “Would you book an entire trip through an online travel agency without visiting any other sites?”

Younger Generations are postponing breakups for the beach

The youngest generations surveyed, Gen-Z and Millennials (age 22-35) focus their purchasing decisions on travel, with 65% currently saving for a trip this year. Younger generations tend to prioritize impressing their peers, along with seeking out adventure and disconnecting for relaxation.

- Travel-obsessed millennials are also extremely independent, with one in every four millennials having traveled alone on a leisure trip in the past year.

- 71% of Gen-Z respondents said they would get a part-time job just to save up for a leisure trip.

- 11% have actually postponed a breakup due to a previously planned trip with their partner.

The shift in consumer purchasing intent from products to experiences signals a promising road ahead for the travel industry. Furthermore, younger travelers trust online travel agencies to have a breadth of choice, technological simplicity and savings that help satisfy their increasing appetite for travel. This proves that the American thirst for travel and adventure isn’t subsiding anytime soon, especially if the younger generations have anything to say about it.

Get the full report at Expedia (PDF 6.8 MB)