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Roberta Esposito

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The tourism environment is constantly evolving. Just when we started understanding Millennial generation, the Gen Z is about to enter our market. We don’t know yet much about them but what the industry need to know is that they are ready to travel!

Who are they?

Gen Z is the generation formed by 8 to 18-year-olds born between 1998 and 2008. Today they represent 1/4 of the population and they are rapidly growing. By 2020 Generation Z will account for 40% of all consumers and will have the full disposable income to travel. Therefore, they will represent a big share of the market.

However, tourism marketers need to understand that Get Z are really different from Millennials.

The digital generation growing up on mobile is truly different to the generation who grew up discovering mobile.

Gen Z is a multi-tasking and a multiple screen generation (TV, iPhone, laptop, desktop, iPad etc.) with a really short attention span of 8 seconds. That is something that marketers should carefully consider when creating content for that generation.

Get Z also approach social media in a different way compared with the previous generation. They give high value to privacy and prefer apps like Snapchat and Whisper. Even more interesting is the fact that 25% of this generation abandoned Facebook in 2014. This is because Gen Z spend most of their time looking for content on social media instead of social networking. Also, apps like Youtube and Instagram are the most preferred ones.

We are in front of a generation that doesn't only share things, but creates things. Gen Z can be defined as “curators”, they want to contribute to the conversation and be part of it.

Connectivity is also fundamental for this generation, it is a given, not a variable. Be connected at every stage of their trip is a must for Gen Z.

Gen Z: the Snapchat generation

It’s clear now that Snapchat is here to stay. But few travel brands seem to have understood why or what to do with it. Low-fare airline Wow Air aimed at reaching Gen Z audience with their new campaign encouraging consumers to show off their Snapchat skills for the chance to be a content creator and travel the world. The short term benefit to this campaign is definitely the PR generated from it. However, the long terms are about getting more people interested and connected with their bands, by staying top of mind in a crucial market segment.

Marriott Hotels is one of the first hospitality brands with a presence on Snapchat. Marriott ran a three-month campaign to drive engagement and raise awareness. They teamed up with four influencers and handed over their account. The goal was not to increase room sales but to promote the benefits that come along with staying at a Marriot Hotel in each city.

Screen Shot 2016-07-04 at 16.01.34

Successively, W Hotels, from Starwood brand, became the first hotel brand to launch Snapchat sponsored Geofilters. They can now be used at all W Hotels and the brand help promote activities, perks and experiences.

W_Hotels

Why travel brands should be on Snapchat?

Few topics inspire people like travel and Snapchat gives travel brands the opportunity to share creative content, for example, take travelers behind the scenes at local events, generate awareness and showcase the experiences unique to your destination or hotel.

Using Snapchat stories, users feel like they are part of something rather than being just a marketing objective. 

So, my tips to how to market to Gen Z?

- team up with Gen Z to build your destination brand together and amplify the story around it
- tap into creative expression, entrepreneurialism, the search for a greater sense of purpose
- think about how your destination can engage Gen Z in a participatory way involving them in crafting your brand

How do you market your destination or business to Gen Z? Share your thoughts and experiences in the comments section below!

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