The Technology Millennials & Gen Z Can’t Leave Behind with Summer Travel
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With the 4th of July holiday next week, and more than 46 million Americans (a record) about to head to travel destinations, the team here at Domio wanted to take a closer look at what technology young travelers (18-34 years old) can’t leave home without.
We’ve seen first-hand in hosting more than 40,000 guests to date at our alternative accommodations that millennial and even Gen Z travelers (yes they’re getting old enough to travel on their own!) are demanding more technology-related amenities than any previous generations.
However, while forward-thinking hospitality companies such as ourselves have added technology like on-demand concierge services, Bluetooth entry and voice-activated rooms, tomorrow’s traveler also wants to find comfort at their destination by simply being able to bring, plug-in and play all of their favorite technologies from home.
To find out what technology millennials and Gen Z’ers consider essential to have available during their summer travels we recently commissioned Domio’s Millennial and Gen Z Summer Travel Tech Survey of 750 U.S. respondents aged 18-34.
We also equally weighted the sample size for Gen Z (18-24) and Millennials (25-34), so we could analyze if those Gen Z’ers born after the mid-1990’s differ from their older millennial peers.
Here’s what we found!
‘Home’ is Where You Can Login to Netflix
Sometimes travelers want to come home at the end of a busy day of touring and exploring, and comfortably collapse into a big bed to pick up where they left off at home with their favorite binge-worthy show.
To do so, the vast majority of respondents to our survey (69%) noted that Netflix was the digital video streaming service they were most interested in signing into on a Smart TV as they retired to their rooms.
Hotels and hospitality vendors aren’t in the dark in understanding that these cable cutting generations aren’t looking for local television channels when they turn on the TV. Just last week Netflix announced that it was partnering with Dish’s Evolve hospitality to offer guests the ability to sign into their Netflix account via 4K, internet-connected, TV’s in their rooms. The video streaming leader also has a similar deal in place with Marriott.
In our survey, Netflix was even more popular with Gen Z (72%) than with millennials (68%) when it came to their preferred digital streaming service to log into and watch while they travel away from home.
While most would probably think the biggest competition to the king of online streaming would come from Amazon Prime, Hulu (11%) was actually the second streaming service that young travelers said they were most interested in signing into on a Smart TV.
Perhaps that Spotify-Hulu bundle has gotten the attention of Gen Z and millennials?
Closing out the list of streaming services that young travelers want to log into on the road was Amazon Prime Video (8%), HBO Go (7%), and YouTube Red (5%).
Get Rid of the iPod Docks and Plugin the Sonos Speakers with Spotify?
Speaking of Spotify. When it comes to the desired streaming service that millennial and Gen Z travelers want to use for their road trips, on planes and on Sonos speakers within their accommodations, Spotify topped the list (32%). However, this race among young travelers was much closer, with Pandora (24%) coming in pretty close behind in second and Apple Music (17%) rounding out the top three.
You also may want to think twice before making fun of the person on your flight who is using an iPod straight out of the 90’s and likely has a history of using Youtube to MP3 converters, because when we split respondents by generations, millennials were just as likely to say “I still use my CD’s or iPod” as Apple Music (14% for both)!
Maybe there is a reason your hotel still has that drastically out of date, bedside iPod dock?
Perhaps not surprisingly, Gen Z was less likely to say they still use CD’s, which predate them and iPod’s, which Apple introduced around the time they were five (11%).
For this subset of even younger travelers, Apple Music (21%) was the clear number three choice.
Is Gen Z Falling Out of Love with Ridesharing?
At Domio, we’re big fans of ridesharing. We’ve even offered guests a $25 credit towards a Lyft from the airport to their Domio accommodation.
That’s why we were surprised to see – at least for Gen Z – that nearly half of respondents (47%) noted they would not be using ridesharing to get around their travel destination. This was actually higher than the number of millennials (42%) that said they wouldn’t be using ridesharing while they travel.
So is this rapidly growing alternative to taxis, public transit and owning a physical car already jumping the shark with the next “it generation”?
Certainly, Gen Z’ers aren’t unfamiliar with ridesharing. Some have even been using their parents accounts before becoming their own riders, and numerous college campuses across the country enable Gen Z’ers to use their campus cards for Uber.
So if they aren’t unfamiliar, maybe they just really want to drive to and during their summer travels on their own?
Some data and research on Gen Z indicate that this next generation may be more into traditional ownership than millennials. In fact, one early study on Gen Z found about two-thirds aspired to own both houses and cars in their lifetimes.
Of course, we’ve all seen the hoopla around scooter startups likes Bird over the last few months, so maybe Gen Z is also looking for more portable modes of travel during their trips that they can use supplementally along with pubic transit.
At least one ridesharing company – Lyft – is trying to cater towards this way of getting around by recently launching the Friends With Transit campaign, which aims to make the relationship between public transportation and ridesharing tighter and more convenient for riders.
However, Lyft may still has some work to do to catch up to Gen Z’ers that said they would use ridesharing to get around their travel destinations in our survey. Of those, 78% said they would be using Uber and 22% said they would be using Lyft.
Millennials, on the other hand, were slightly more likely to note they would use ridesharing to get around their travel destination (58%).
Of millennials that said they would use ridesharing to get around, the breakdown between choosing Uber (77%) or Lyft (23%) was nearly identical to their younger peers.
Finding Places Via Photos Overtakes Traditional GPS & Recommendation Apps
Gone are the days of whipping out guidebooks to discover local restaurants, tourist attractions and fun things to do nearby.
Millennials and Gen Z’ers prioritize immediate information and proximity, so it wasn’t surprising that Google Maps was the app of choice (52%) to use for finding restaurants, tourist attractions, and cool stuff to do nearby their travel estimation.
Yelp (22%) was next on young travelers lists followed somewhat surprisingly by Instagram (9%). Instagram beat out more traditional travel and ‘stuff nearby finder’ apps such as Foursquare (2%) and TripAdvisor (2%).
Instagram influencers have become a bit of a thorn in the side of hotels as they become a more prominent player in the hospitality industry’s marketing mix and it seems they also have an influence on where travelers are looking to go once they check into their hotels.
Meanwhile, for Gen Z’ers, Snapchat (10%) actually overtook Instagram (9%) as the third most popular app for finding cool stuff to do nearby.
This likely points to Gen Z leveraging Snapchat’s Map feature, which shows hot spots of Snapchat users wherever you are in the world. This tool may continue to grow in popularity in the coming years as Gen Z’ers acquire more money and the means to travel.
We Came to Facebook for the Travel Friends
Facebook’s new advertising campaign, which has been making the rounds after its privacy issues, notes that “we came here for the friends and we got to know the friends of our friends.”
It seems young travelers are still coming ‘here’ for new friends as the majority of respondents (42%) noted that they would most likely use Facebook to meet new people as they travel. Facebook-owned Instagram (22%) was next on the list and the third choice was Twitter (8%).
When we filtered answers among generations, millennials, ‘None’ (8.3%) actually jumped ahead of Twitter (8%) to come in third.
This might illustrate at least some desire by the slightly older demographic to go off the social media grid and serendipitously meet people in the real world as they travel.
For Gen Z, Twitter remained in third and was followed by Tinder (7.7%) in fourth. It seems Gen Z’ers may be a little more interested meeting friends, and perhaps ‘more than friends’, as they travel than their elders.
Regarding genders, women were more likely to want to meet new people on Facebook (47%) and less likely to want to meet people on dating apps such as Tinder (4%) or Bumble (3%) as they travel.
Although Tindering on the road may not be that much different than Tindering while at home, women may be taking an extra step to ensure they aren’t ‘catfished’ in an unfamiliar city.
Young Travelers Ask Amazon Echo For a Kleenex
Previous research found that Amazon Alexa was on 68 percent of all smart speakers sold last year. Our research indicates that Amazon is also at the top of young travelers minds when it comes to having a smart speaker in their room.
Of those that picked an actual brand of smart speaker that they’d be interested in having in their accommodation/room, 50% picked the Amazon Echo, 35% went with Google Home and 15% chose Apple Homepod.
Chances are, if young travelers have exchanged words with a smart speaker to date in a hotel room it has probably been Alexa-powered. Amazon has made lots of ground in this area of the hospitality market.
First it partnered with Volara, a voice-powered concierge service running on AWS’ Alexa for Business. Then, last week the company officially announced Alex for hospitality with Marriott as a launch partner. Using customized Amazon Echo devices, Amazon will add onto what they’ve done with Volar in the past in turning Alexa into a full-service, voice-powered concierge.
Guests will be able to ask about the hotel with pre-populated answers ready to respond, and also able to book services like in-room dining or spa treatments directly through these smart speakers.
Meanwhile, hotels like Hilton are looking to deploy their own proprietary smart speaker concepts as the idea of the connected room takes off.
One word of warning for hotels planning big things around smart speakers? When not filtering respondents to our survey that picked an actual brand of smart speaker, ‘what is a smart speaker’ (29%) was the second most popular choice behind Amazon Echo.
The takeaway? It may be better to rename this category (a la Kleenex) as the Amazon Echo market for the foreseeable future.
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