A new Generation is establishing its place in the travel industry. After Millennials and their indecision and Generation Z's open-mindedness, now we have the Generation Alpha (born after 2010). A group is rapidly finding its voice when it comes to making travel decisions along with their families.
Although you might be thinking that these are still kids, their digital knowledge is much better than the previous generations, which makes them valuable in the travel-tech era.
With travel being a racing game for companies in the industry, some important players such as Expedia, are wasting no time in trying to breakdown the numbers and understanding Gen Alpha's impacts throughout the touchpoints of the travelers' journey.
The latest Expedia Group study called “Generation Alpha & Family Travel Trends” starts by showing that in 60% of the families, thinking about the next family trip involves both the children and the adults. Taking into consideration that these families normally go on 3 or more trips per year, focusing on the young target is equally important as focusing on adults.
This Generation presents a great opportunity for marketers. The families are opened to any source of online inspiration, and usually have to choose between two destinations, therefore, content can be very helpful when trying to convert. But, like all targets, this one also has its unique characteristics. So before making any moves, companies should consider which behaviors Gen Alpha families have.
A trip with Gen Alphas' family
For this group of people - kids and adults - convenience is key, therefore some aspects can easily win against low prices. The most important factors for these families in a deal is that it provides activities for everyone, it is in all ways kids friendly - so parents do not have to worry about the safety of the children - and that it is a once in a lifetime experience. These aspects are more valuable and will have a greater impact when it comes to deciding which deal to take.
The Expedia study shows that on top of taking over three vacations per year, each family vacation last about 7 days and the preferred destinations are domestic ones. This data can be great for OTA's, for example, when developing holiday packages.
Moreover, themed parks and water activities are the top listed entertainments by the families, but not the only ones. Keeping in mind that these are tech-savvy kids, the range of technology available during a trip is also very important. Access to online entertainment such as videos, games and social media needs to be part of the entertainment set. And if the parents happen to be millennials, these features gain even more value.
Apart from OTA's, hotels are also benefiting from this young generation. As for now, it is the preferred type of accommodation for Gen Alpha's families. With that in mind, hotels should up their game and develop new kids-friendly strategies to attract and retain these customers. Otherwise, it is not hard to predict that other vacation rentals such as Airbnb's will start moving towards this trend and making it very convenient.
If kids are now involved in the decision-making process of a trip, shouldn't marketers be talking to them?
It is true that this Generation is making marketers work harder. They are digitally-native, have the longest living expectations, are more well educated than the others and expected to reach 2 billion in 2025. But, they are still kids, which means that they lack what marketers need: financial power.
Although Gen Alpha kids are involved in the decision-making process of a trip, they do not have the final voice. Advertising to kids is not the right path to take but, when it comes to connecting with the adults, the Expedia research shows that there are a few things marketers can do to communicate better. Some of the factors that can influence their decisions are appealing imagery (54%), deals (53%), informative content (50%) and helpful reviews (44%).
There is a lot of potential surrounding this new Generation and its trends. But, as per usual, things develop fast in the travel industry, and the necessity of high-end digital channels and destination content becomes more eminent as generations pass. DMO's, Hotels, OTA's and all remaining players in the industry need to keep track of these kids, always bearing in mind that they are the adults of the future.