Is the travel industry doing enough to reach Gen Z? Research shows TikTok drives 40% of travel bookings for young people

Is the travel industry doing enough to reach Gen Z? Research shows TikTok drives 40% of travel bookings for young people
Edited by Travel Weekly


    As the travel industry rebounds from the challenges of the past year, Australia’s largest experience network, Big Red Group, is calling on tourism operators to tap into the power of TikTok to connect with Gen Z travellers.

    New research from The State of Student and Youth Travel in 2024 report reveals that TikTok has emerged as a primary source of travel inspiration for Gen Z, with 89 per cent saying they discover new travel destinations and experiences through the platform, and 40 per cent admitting they booked a holiday as a direct result of watching TikTok content.

    For adventure marketplace Adrenaline, one of Big Red Group’s consumer brands, the role of social media has changed significantly as its influence on younger consumers continues to evolve.

    The company’s TikTok account now serves as a valuable tool for customer service and feedback in addition to delivering brand awareness and engagement gains – and Adrenaline regularly advertises on the channel to ensure its reaching younger Aussies, with a recent campaign delivering a reach of 2 million and 70,000 clicks to the website.

    Big Red Group CEO, David Anderson, emphasises the transformative potential of social media as a marketing tool for small businesses.

    “We’re currently observing a significant shift in how Gen Z travellers discover and decide on their next travel destinations, with TikTok emerging as a dominant influencer in this landscape. It’s clear that the platform plays a pivotal role in shaping travel preferences and choices for this demographic.

    “Consequently, tourism operators have a prime opportunity to engage Gen Z travellers on TikTok by providing compelling content that speaks directly to their interests by showcasing their experiences. By leveraging TikTok’s creative potential and establishing authentic connections with this audience, tourism operators can effectively capture attention and drive bookings in an increasingly competitive market.”

    A number of operators that offer experiences through Big Red Group’s consumer brands – RedBalloon, Adrenaline and Experience Oz – have already seen the positive impact TikTok can have on a business, including:

    Oz Jet Boating:

    • Utilised Tik Tok’s popularity during Taylor Swift’s Era’s tour to introduce “Swiftie Spins,” a unique sing-along experience.
    • A TikTok video shared by the company garnered over 2.6 million views, contributing to increased sales of over $25,000 during Taylor Swift’s visit.
    • Marketed the experience organically on TikTok, initially offering three sessions which expanded to 23 due to high demand.

    URBNSURF:

    • Can see the direct link between online growth and business expansion.
    • Set to open their second surf park in Sydney, making them the world’s only surf park with two locations.
    • The new $75 million park is expected to generate $250 million in economic benefits over two decades.
    • URBNSURF boasts 180,000 Instagram followers and a growing TikTok following of 20.8K.
    • Despite no spending on marketing, the company credits social media, particularly TikTok and Instagram, for their success in driving engagement and growth.

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