As George Bailey quipped in the classic film It’s A Wonderful Life, the three most exciting sounds in the world are anchor chains, plane motors and train whistles. Why? Because humans have always had the itch to travel and explore. The travel and hospitality verticals will always be a thriving part of the global economy as long as human beings feel the Call to Adventure (and we don’t see that stopping any time soon).
Businesses in the travel and tourism spaces have seen an especially large shift in how they market themselves over the past decade. One simple reason is society’s explosive access to information via internet and cellular technology – particularly visual + audio info. Instead of having to rely on travel books and pamphlets, an entire generation has been raised with a very clear and specific idea of what it’s like to travel anywhere at anytime.
Indeed, millennials are reportedly twice as likely to travel as their parents. It’s a brave new world out there, and they’re ready to see it all! And to top it off, younger travelers are eager to follow in the footsteps of those they look to most for entertainment, unbiased opinions and relevant content: social media influencers.
By this point, the effects that digital content creators have had on how consumers approach travel purchases is well-documented. Thousands of social media influencers have grown loyal, highly-engaged followings through photos, videos and other content featuring stunning destinations. Travel influencers were some of the first creators to amass such huge audiences, and it’s easy to see why. Their content is inherently exciting, aspirational, and the result is that everyone wants a little bit of that “travel lifestyle.” After almost a decade, 41 percent of millenials now consider “Instagrammability” when planning their next vacation.
The fact is, we live in a photo and video-centric society. Only two percent of travelers report NOT taking a photo on their vacations. And be honest – would you miss the chance to document a one-of-a-kind experience? People have indulged the urge to capture and share their adventures since photography was invented.
But modern travelers aren’t just affected by social media influencers – they seek a fundamentally different kind of experience than previous generations. They’ve been shaped by their unique economic experiences, changing values, childhood media, and behavior of their peers – and the result is a generation unlike any other.
Millennials and Gen Z report seeking authentic experiences, cultural exchanges, and opportunities to make lasting memories that change their worldview. 69% percent report Trying Local Foods as one of the most important factors when deciding where to visit, ahead of Partying and Shopping. For younger travelers, a trip is more than a vacation – it’s a chance to return home with a little more growth and maturity than they left with.
Simply put, younger travelers are the generation that grew up on Eat Pray Love (and that’s a good thing, it’s one of our favorite films). No wonder Uproxx has a popular article with 64 (64!) Top Influencers to Follow to “Fuel your Wanderlust.”
Now if you’ll excuse us, we have a plane to catch. Watch our video below to learn more about why YOU should be working with travel influencers this vacation season.