Understanding the changing demographic trends is an important part of staying ahead in the travel industry. Travel tech, travel habits, travel trends, and even travel mobility are all wrapped up in generational differences that exist between groups of people. These differences can sometimes lead to huge consequences inside the travel industry such as where they go, what they do, and how they accomplish their trip goals. With all that in mind, it is important to consider the future of the travel industry by looking at Generation Alpha and if they are going to change the travel industry. And if so how?
Generation Alpha is the next generation after Generation Z. Generation Alpha is generally the kids of Millennials or of Generation Z – currently, even the oldest of Generation Alpha is only 9 years old. Generation Alpha is generally presumed to have started in about 2010. However, although this generation may be quite young, we can begin to forecast based on the trends of their parents what this generation might be like going into the future. Certainly, things we know about Generation Alpha are that they are by far one of if not the, most technologically savvy of all generations.
Unlike the Millennials who grew up during the invention of the technologies or Generation Z who grew up during the honing and fine-tuning of these modern technological wonders, Generation Alpha is getting to live in a fully developed state where the technologies that run our lives such as the internet, online gaming, and instant access to worldwide communication networks through the drop in price of smartphone technologies are all things that they have always known. Their generation is significantly more proficient in their utilization than previous generations were.
This tech-savvy extends all the way to travel tech as well. So a question many individuals are asking in the travel industry is how will Generation Alpha differ from Generation Z and from the Millennials in how they travel?
Forecasting the future
One of the most important things to know in forecasting the future when it comes to Generation Alpha and their potential future travel habits is their travel mobility which is expected to be by far one of the highest of any generation. This is because of the improvements that have been made to the travel industry as the use of travel tech and travel mobility enhancements that allow for cheaper, easier access to the world.
In addition, it is also easier to keep track of family, flights, and itineraries than ever have been available previously which makes the parents of Generation Alpha more willing to let their kids travel with less supervision. Individuals nowadays can get text messages and emails letting them know if a plane is going to be delayed and can begin making informed choices about their travel with up-to-the-minute information available.
The enhanced traveling among the parents of Generation Alpha is likely going to continue as Generation Z and Millennials have both begun catering to the idea that personalized experiential-based trips are far more preferred ways of enjoying a vacation than simply visiting run-of-the-mill tourist destinations. We can only expect this customization to continue to grow with Generation Alpha as well as their emphasis on personalized travel freedom.
Generation Alpha is likely to be even more desiring of customized vacation destinations and travel experiences than either Millennials or Generation Z. Because of this, the importance of travel agents is going to go up in a way that it has not since its heyday. Travel agents can do something that many individuals cannot and even the internet with all its power still has trouble with interpersonal interaction. Individuals can create a customized kind of travel experience that exists nowhere else.
The internet is good for many things but it is not good at creating customized experiences for individuals in a way that a travel agent or travel agency can. Because of this, the travel industry is going to start to reflect this trend offering not just trips to popular destinations but also more off-the-beaten-path destinations. Smaller towns, more rural areas, and places that heretofore have been overlooked by major tourist destination areas are going to become increasingly popular for Generation Alpha in their desire to find unique experiences off the beaten path.
Creating those unique individualized experiences will be an important job for travel agents as they assist with the travel mobility of Generation Alpha, they have unprecedented abilities to learn about and access information on even the most remote places of the world and oftentimes just as it has been with the Millennials and Generation Z they will find particularly remote areas that strike their own customized idea of an idealized trip. And having a travel agent who can help make that trip or one similar to it a reality will continue to become increasingly important.
Of course, it is impossible to fully predict how Generation Alpha will differ from the Millennials or Generation Z and ultimately how their travel habits and travel trends will affect the travel industry but what can be said with certainty is that a tech-savvy generation like Generation Alpha will certainly be able to use growing and even emerging technologies to improve their travel mobility in ways that have not yet even been conceived. Keeping an eye out for these kinds of trends as well as creating and laying the groundwork for individually customized experiences can be a great way to help get ahead of this travel trend as it is likely Generation Alpha will want to travel faster, farther, and deeper than any previous generations. The remote areas that their parents visited will no longer be good enough and they will need the next distant destination made for their enjoyment. With all that in mind, it will be important for the travel industry to keep a close eye on this upcoming generation for the exact ways in which it will need to change and adjust to meet its advanced needs.