New kids on the block: Gen Alpha

Move over, millennials and Generation Zs. A new generation of travellers – Generation Alpha – is becoming an emergent force in influencing travel purchase decisions, and industry players are taking note.

While the youngest members of Gen Alpha are still toddlering, they’re already ruling the roost when it comes to family travel, said Wendy Olson Killion, global vice president, business development, Expedia Media Solutions, who shared research findings from the group’s Generation Alpha & Family Travel Trends study at WIT 2019.

Generation Alpha is an influential force in family travel decisions

Gen Alpha, which refers to those born after 2010 – the same year that iPad and Instagram debuted – are expected to be truly “digital natives”. Added Killion: “Kids have always influenced family travel, but Gen Alpha will be the first generation to do so with data.”

According to the Expedia study, which surveyed more than 9,000 parents and grandparents across nine markets, many travel decisions that families make are done to satisfy Gen Alpha, even if this tech-savvy generation has yet to make any travel purchases themselves.

On average globally, families with Gen Alphas are taking more than three family trips a year, including at least one bleisure trip. For family travellers, location (41 per cent), family needs (39 per cent) and price (36 per cent) weigh heavily in accommodation decisions, significantly more than the appeal of deals and promotions (21 per cent).

This spells good news for travel marketers, as families with Gen Alpha are prioritising experiences over expenses, Killion stated.

Millennial parents plan and revolve their travel plans around family needs: Zelia Leong

Zelia Leong, co-founder & CEO of Anywhr, a Singapore-based travel curator that plans mystery trips for clients, also noted that price is a lesser concern for family travel, for whom safety and convenience are bigger influencing factors.

“Millennial parents are not ready to give up travel, but instead plan and revolve their travel destinations around their family needs,” she shared. For instance, her clients with young families would ask for hotels to be picked based on the availability of nearby attractions or beaches, or the itinerary to be planned with just one core activity each day.

However, industry watchers caution against neglecting other market segments. After all, it is senior travellers who are still driving the majority of revenue in the travel industry, said Sojern’s chief solutions officer Kurt Weinsheimer, based on data the travel marketing technology company has found.

“Multi-generational travel is funded by the older generation to destinations chosen by the younger generation,” he remarked.

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