Generational Travel Trends You Need to Know About in 2022

Joslyn McIntyre

August 3, 2022

It’s a given that people of all ages love to travel. But how can you attract specific new audiences when you know nothing about them?

From generation to generation, what people enjoy, the way they hear about new things, and how they make decisions varies. For instance, millennials are trendsetters when it comes to bleisure travel – combining business with leisure when they hit the road. Baby Boomers, on the other hand, are the least likely to travel for work, but appreciate a good vacation. Generational travel preferences vary among Gen X and Gen Z folks, too.

As a museum or attraction, you may have one particular age demographic in mind as the ideal audience, but if you focus in too closely, you miss out on entire audiences and the potential revenue they bring. There may be other audiences you could be targeting with generational travel marketing that’s specific to different age groups.

We recently polled 2,000 people from across the US, of all ages, to deconstruct their particular travel preferences. Tune into this data to appeal to different generations with different marketing and offerings.

Gen Z (18-24)

Karsten Winegeart

The youngest generation Tiqets polled is just entering the world of travel as autonomous adults and employees. While they haven’t yet had a ton of experience, they love to travel – especially when it involves great food. Here are the Gen Z highlights from our poll.

50% of Gen Z travelers visit three museums or attractions on a trip

Whether traveling for work, pleasure, or bleisure, Gen Z travelers typically visit three museums or attractions during a trip. Knowing you’re not strictly competing against every other nearby attraction gives you the leeway to partner with others in your marketing and to encourage young travelers to buy passes to multiple museums. 

56% of Gen Z travelers get out in the morning

On bleisure trips, the majority of Gen Zers prefer to visit museums and attractions in the morning. If this is a typically slow time at your venue, it’s a great opportunity to invite in younger visitors for morning experiences, perhaps tempting them with a lobby coffee cart for good measure.

63% of Gen Z travelers enjoy a boat cruise or hop-on hop-off bus 

Of all the types of experiences one can have in a new city, Gen Zers are most drawn to boat cruises and hop-on hop-off buses when they’re on a business trip. But interestingly, when traveling strictly for pleasure, this crowd prefers a well-known local restaurant, exploring gardens and parks, and one-day tours. While these are their top choices, they want to try new things in general, and your museum or attraction could be one of them.

40% of Gen Z travelers would love to try an exclusive dinner, brunch, or other food experience

They love to try new things, and they really, really love to try new foods. While your museum or attraction might not ordinarily be a culinary destination per se, there are certainly ways to tap into the Gen Z foodie yen. Bringing in food trucks, hosting special dinners, partnering with nearby restaurants on a combo deal, or even turning attention to revamping your own cafeteria offerings can all be ways to get Gen Zers’ mouths watering.

54% of Gen Z travelers most trust the recommendations of travel booking sites and apps

Gen Z goes straight to the source for travel ideas and advice: travel-booking sites and apps that will both advise them and make it easy to buy tickets. If your museum or attraction does not have a digital ticketing option that’s incredibly easy to use, especially on a mobile device, you may be missing out on Gen Z customers.

Millennials (ages 25-41)

Photo via Shutterstock

You probably won’t be surprised to hear that millennials are more apt to hit the road while working than older generations. The majority – 70% – have traveled for work in the last six months, 92% would extend a business trip for pleasure, and 63% travel while working remotely. For millennials, the lines between work and pleasure are blurred, and they’re more likely to squeeze a museum visit into a workday than any other demographic. But if they have multiple choices of places to visit, here’s how they prioritize.

40% of millennial travelers love iconic landmarks

Millennials love iconic landmarks: 40% cited them as the kind of attraction they're most likely to visit on vacation. When in Paris, they want a selfie at the Eiffel Tower. Rome? The Colosseum. Only around a quarter of this audience called out amusement parks as a must-visit. If your attraction is an iconic city landmark, this is your crowd.

49% of millennial travelers are deterred by distance

Millennials don’t want to go way out of their way. The distance from where they are staying, working, or co-working makes a big difference. Nearly half cite distance as a deterrent from doing more things. The takeaway for you? Market to hotels, Airbnbs, and coworking spaces close to your venue.

30% of millennial travelers make plans to visit a museum or attraction only 24-48 hours ahead

Millennials are likely to plan ahead, but not that far ahead. A third typically plan an outing to a museum or attraction 24 to 48 hours in advance, and 25% only require a few hours' notice. Getting on their radar for last-minute adventures and offering them eleventh-hour deals can ensure you profit from their planning habits.

They love an element of personalization 

Millennials crave a special experience. They’re willing to pay extra to get more than the basic museum tour. 

  • 33% would pay to interact with the animals at a zoo or aquarium
  • 28% would pay a premium for entrance to an exhibition of a temporary seasonal event
  • 27% would pay for a tour guide to lead the experience

Appeal to their desire to be special with hands-on, personalized experiences like these.

34% of millennial travelers take a cue from social proof

Where older generations may have traditionally consulted Fodors or Lonely Planet to plan their travels, millennials are more comfortable asking their peers. They’re also the most likely generation to consult travel blogs, online publications, and social media to discover things to do. If you’re not taking full advantage of these types of digital marketing platforms, you may be missing out on millennials. 

Want to hone in on millennials? Don’t miss Attracting Millennials to Museums: Your Complete Marketing Guide

Gen X (ages 42-57)

While millennials are often thought of as “the experience generation” that prioritizes spending on memories over collecting materials goods, Gen X still tends to be ensconced in a traditional “work to make money” mindset. In just the last six months, nearly half of the Gen Xers Tiqets polled (45%) first started traveling and working remotely, which makes them a potentially new audience for you.

They’re a bit more conservative about scheduling an adventure during a work trip, though. “Too much work to do” is the largest blocker preventing Gen X from doing more cultural activities while traveling for work or working remotely. How to convince them to put the keyboard down and spend some time at your museum or attraction?

43% of Gen X travelers prefer to visit a museum or attraction after work

Gen Xers prefer their cultural experiences when they’re done with their workday. Staying open later and even offering evening slots is the key to capturing this crowd.

Gen X travelers enjoy a broad range of experiences

When it comes to what they like to do, Gen Xers are all over the literal map. When asked to name a few of their favorite kinds of experiences, 40% enjoy visiting iconic landmarks, 35% prefer museums and art galleries, and 32% choose historical sites and monuments. When it comes to attractions they haven’t yet tried, they’re curious: 

  • 29% would try a group activity like a murder mystery, puzzle, or escape room
  • 29% like the idea of seasonal themed tours
  • 29% are into the idea of concerts, festivals, and silent discos

To catch their attention, why not offer a murder mystery experience at your museum? Or host a spooky Halloween-themed tour of your landmark?

23% of Gen X travelers make plans to visit a museum or attraction 24-48 hours ahead

Like millennials, the majority of Gen Xers are apt to plan an outing only 24-48 hours in advance. Make sure you’re capturing this market with last-minute offers and deals. 

44% of Gen X travelers “give it a Google”

Gen X’s top choice for discovering things to do while traveling is to turn to a search engine such as Google or Bing. To capture this segment, ensure you’re doing a knockout job with your search engine optimization (SEO) – we have some tips here.

Baby Boomers (age 58+)

Spencer Davis

Of the generations, baby boomers are the least likely to travel for work (44% never do), and the least likely to opt into traveling while working remotely (48% say “nope”). But Boomers love leisure travel, and the percentage of them that do travel for work or while working remotely still represents a healthy potential audience. Here’s what you need to know about Boomers to appeal to their tastes and habits.

56% of baby boomers are driven by the excitement of exploring a new place when they visit attractions

They’re in their golden years, checking things off their bucket lists, and those things might very well include your museum or attraction.

46% of baby boomers prefer to visit a museum or attraction after work

Like their Gen X kids, bleisure traveler baby boomers prefer to schedule their cultural experiences after work, rather than during a lunch break or first thing in the morning. Give them solid evening options.

baby boomers have particular cultural affinities: forget about amusement parks and silent discos. Baby boomers are into culturally edifying, picturesque venues. Their favorite vacation attractions:

  • Exploring historical sites and monuments (44%) 
  • Visiting zoos and aquariums (36%) 
  • Wandering gardens and parks (32%)
  • Visiting landmarks (32%) 

If you find yourself on the list above, don’t miss out on marketing to this crowd.

49% of baby boomers worry about the price

While the most common reason Boomers are deterred from visiting an attraction is price, for the right experience, they’re not afraid to pay top dollar. Boomers are most willing to pay extra for the following to improve their experience at an attraction:

  • Food and beverage package (30%)
  • Transport to and from the attraction (29%
  • A guided tour through the experience (27%)

A healthy 40% of Boomers would pay for exclusive dinners, brunches, or food experiences at an attraction. They’re not afraid of the finer things in life, so give them opportunities! In fact, a less expensive entry ticket can often be offset with a higher price on optional extras.

51% of baby boomers trust their friends the most for recommendations

Word of mouth is the most important way baby boomers decide what to do. They’re far more likely to take the word of “Jonathan from that dinner party” than a celebrity influencer – which, incidentally, is their least likely way of finding out about cool stuff. A recommendation from a friend, colleague, or family member is a boomer's top choice to be convinced to visit an attraction when traveling for leisure.

To tap into word-of-mouth marketing, stay on the radar of those who’ve already visited your attraction. Periodic reminders of your brand, as well as offers to “give a friend a promo code,” can be powerful persuaders. 

Curious about the rest of the generational travel data from our poll? Read the full report: New Research: The 2022 Travel Industry Trends You Need to Know for the High Season.

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