The Philippine Star
August 11, 2023 | 12:00am
MANILA, Philippines — Travel is no longer about crossing destinations off a checklist for millennials and Gen Zs in Asia-Pacific as experiences are now the first consideration when planning for a holiday, trumping accommodation and flight options for this group, according to a survey conducted by leading travel and experiences platform Klook.
Klook said one in three millennials and Gen Z travelers is ready to spend at least $2,000 and more on travel, more than double the average monthly income in Asia ($1,069).
“Embracing a new era of travel, experiences have emerged as a new coveted currency for the next generation of travelers, particularly among millennials and Gen Zs. Unique experiences and activities take precedence in their travel plans as the first thing they look at, with 85 percent of travelers willing to invest in experiences during their holidays. This remarkable shift is a testament to their increasing desire for authentic experiences, with their decisions fueled by social media over traditional sources like search engines and travel guides before embarking on their next travel adventure,” Klook COO and co-founder Eric Gnock Fah said.
As travel becomes more intentional, a majority of travelers are also prioritizing experiences and making them a focal point of their trip, with 63 percent booking their experiences before they fly, the survey said.
More than 90 percent of millennials and Gen Zs place importance on unique and memorable experiences during their travels, with 85 percent signaling a willingness to invest in them during their holiday.
Notably, 89 percent of travelers from the Philippines have a strong desire to spend more on nature and outdoor experiences like island tours and canyoneering, water activities like whale shark watching and parasailing, and sightseeing experiences through cruises.
Surprisingly, Gen Zs, who are just beginning to embark on their careers, are not far behind their millennial counterparts in splurging on travel.
According to the Klook survey, one in five Gen Zs is willing to spend over $3,000, slightly trailing one in four millennials who share the same sentiment.
The biggest spenders across Asia-Pacific are from mainland China (58 percent) and Hong Kong (39 percent), taking the top spots in willingness to spend beyond $3,000 on their next holiday.
More price-conscious travelers originate from India and Vietnam (willing to spend below $2,000) and the Philippines (willing to spend only less than $1,000), still more than double their average monthly income.
The survey also showed that social media is the top inspiration tool for Gen Z travelers, with more than half using the platform to discover new destinations and experiences, favoring it over search engines and travel guides.
While millennials still prefer to use search engines (59 percent), social media comes a very close second (55 percent), indicating its rising influence over how travelers seek out information, according to the survey.
In fact, nine out of 10 millennials and Gen Zs check online reviews before making their bookings, and rely on travel content recommendations on social media when planning holidays.
The survey found out that creating social media-worthy content is of utmost importance for a large majority of travelers (87 percent) especially for travelers from India, the Philippines and mainland China.
For Filipinos, top platforms where they draw travel inspiration from are Facebook (86 percent), TikTok (71 percent) and Instagram (63 percent).
“The rise of social media as a travel inspiration and planning tool is largely due to their interactive nature, especially with short-form videos and mobile apps,” Fah said.
“It has undeniably become a powerful and dynamic source of travel inspiration among millennials and Gen Zs. This lies in its ability to offer authentic storytelling and personalized real-time recommendations. This paradigm shift is indicative for the demographic’s desire for meaningful connections and seamless exploration,” he added.
Majority of millennials and Gen Zs across Asia-Pacific are becoming more intentional travel planners, with 65 percent planning their holidays at least two to six months in advance. Travelers ranking highest among this bracket come from Singapore (74 percent) and the Philippines (58 percent), while nearly half of travelers from mainland China, Vietnam, and Thailand prefer to make holiday plans in less than two months.
Additionally, Filipino millennials and Gen Zs are increasingly opting to travel closer to home domestically (58 percent) and within Asia-Pacific (26 percent).
The top three destinations on the travel wish list of Filipinos are Japan, South Korea and Singapore. These findings indicate a rising trend of younger explorers putting focus on the desire to explore and seek new experiences over the actual destination itself, Klook said.