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Generational Marketing In Travel.
In today's digital landscape, multiple travel companies are discussing how to market to newer generations using generational marketing. In the current age, as each generation ages, the marketing strategies age with them and never remain stagnant. To be ahead of the curve, travel companies should be tailoring their customer experience to each different cohort of individuals.
Generational marketing is a strategy that uses audience segmentation to target different individuals based on when they were born. There is no 'one fits all' approach to generational marketing within the travel industry as there will always be customers that don't follow the expected trends. However, by looking at several years of data, you can start to build a marketing approach that caters most to the generation you are targeting.
To start, let's outline each generation:
The newest generation is considered to be gen Z or more appropriately nicknamed the 'i-gen'. Gen Z contains individuals born after 1997 up to the present day and are often mistaken for Millennials due to the over-use of the millennial term through media outlets. With that in mind, Millennials and Gen X do share a considerable amount of characteristics since they are considered the most 'connected' generations, and both grew up with easy access to the internet.
Millennials are categorised by being born from 1980 to 1996 and currently makeup 31.5% of the population, being the largest generation now, according to Bloomberg. The most notable difference between Millennials and Gen Z is that Millennials grew up as the current technologies matured, whereas Gen Z was born into a digital age. While Millennials did have personal computers and the first iterations of mobile devices, Gen Z have their own tablets, smartphones and apps.
Following Millennials, the next generation is Gen X, born between 1960 and 1980. This generation differs largely from the Millennials due to being introduced to the digital environment when already mature. These individuals are more likely to remember 'the firsts' for example, first computers, phones and as such.
Finally, the last relevant generation to today's travel market is the Baby Boomers. The Baby Boomers were born between 1946 and 1964. Born at the end of World War Two, this cohort of individuals has a very different relationship to technology compared to other generations.
When considering today's travel market, there are definite strategies used for each generation to feed their individual needs. The most significant change in approach to note is the planning aspect of booking a trip or journey and cost.
With Gen Z and Millennials being the largest generations currently, it is worth focusing on their travel habits and understanding their needs to be ahead of the curve. Gen Z and Millennials are more inclined to book last-minute getaways, with 48% of Gen Z travellers booking within a month of travel. They also tend to take more trips a year than any other generation with 82% of Millennials travelling within the last year compared to only 72% of the different generations with 80% of trips being international instead of domestic. They also value cost more significantly than other generations, spending less on average over the year than previous generations even though planning more trips. These trips are also shorter, with a focus on finding the best deals for the location. Along the lines of being cost-effective, these individuals are less likely to pay for extra legroom or a higher class seat on a flight.
Gen Z and Millennials are also more likely to book, and research using a mobile device so many travel brands are focusing on marketing on social media platforms. It’s worth noting that, Tom O’Hara, head of coach tour company Busabout states that 45% of Gen Z individuals follow more than ten online influencers but prefer user-generated content over traditional influencer content.
Considered the biggest family travellers would be Generation X, who aline most, if not all, of their trips with the school holiday timetable. 61% of Gen X have children, so it's a massive consideration for them when booking holidays. They are also considered the second biggest spenders, just behind the Baby Boomers.
The most affluent generation is the Baby Boomers who, on average, spend $2000 more on a journey than Millennials. Out of all generations, Baby Boomers are more likely to take domestic trips over international trips. However, when they do go international, they tend to travel to those 'bucket-list' destinations, which accounts for their more significant spend. They are also more concerned with that luxury or long haul trips. The Baby Boomers are the least likely generation to stay in an AirBnB with only 10% saying that they would consider it. They are also the most loyal, with 75% of Boomer’s booking flights through loyalty programs.
How you can target each generation effectively
Each generation has specific needs and wants when considering booking a journey, and as a business, you want to capture these different individuals. Generational marketing allows you to serve the relevant content to each group of individuals and capture their interest, uplifting your ROI. It's worth considering if any of these generations are your primary focus when implementing a generational marketing strategy as you may want to focus on one generation solely.
Millennials and Gen Z both want to feel a part of the business or campaign. Using personalisation tools that include their name on the page would be an excellent first step towards capturing this audience better by in terms of contextual marketing this is old news As stated above, this generation is more likely to be searching for last-minute or less expensive holidays, so displaying these options on your landing page is another successful personalisation strategy alongside using tactics such as location IP recognition for nearest departure airports. It's worth noting that these are also the least loyal generation and are more focused on the best deal rather than the company themselves. Personalisation is something they have grown up with, so they are extremely unlikely to notice basic personalisation attempts.
The family-focused Gen X should be served family options on the landing page of your site. They are also more likely to be a higher spenders, so consider adding more luxury options and up-sell options too. Gen X wants a more effortless purchase experience, so make sure your deals are clearly placed and simple to purchase. As they have a focus on family holidays, they are more interested in the amenities available to them, consider having these listed in the digital experience.
Finally, baby boomers are the long haul, luxury-seeking holidaymakers. Making sure they are exposed to luxury content is a must. They are incredibly loyal to their favourite companies, so if you are targeting new business from this generation, it's worth offering something in return. All of these additions can be added using a successful personalisation strategy that uses generational traits to segment the audience.
Many different CMS' have personalisation features, but Sitecore is the platform of choice here at Sagittarius. When using Sitecore, you can utilise the inbuilt experience profile and experience database to gather data and develop audience profiles and personas. Using profiles, you can collect further data on your customer's behaviours and use this to create a well rounded, automated personalisation strategy.
Need help with your personalisation strategy? Get in contact with the Sitecore experts here at Sagittarius Agency who can help you implement a successful strategy, delivering ROI.
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Having joined the agency in 2013, Sarah has been part of the agencies growth story and leads the marketing team in delivering great internal and external brand experiences, driving sales and developing relationships with key strategic suppliers.