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New Horizons 5 survey
Gen Z, OTAs and group travel
WYSE News | December 1, 2023

Many factors shape the type of accommodation chosen by travellers, including supply in the destination, duration of stay, purpose of the trip and budget. When it comes to budget, hostels are an affordable option for travellers looking to get the most out of their time in the destination.

The 2023 New Horizons survey of international youth and student travel indicated that hostel users are some of the most activity-intense travellers, reporting on average 9 activities per trip vs just 6 for Airbnb and hotel users.

OTAs for the Gen Z jet set

The use of OTAs to book accommodation remained the same for young travellers in 2023 as in 2017, with about 30% booking this way. Direct bookings also remained at a similar level when comparing 2023 with 2017, with just under 30% of young travellers indicating that they had booked travel accommodation direct with the supplier.

Three major OTAs managed to increase their usage within the youth travel market since 2017, with, Airbnb and Expedia all showing growth in use. Hostelworld use by young travellers remained flat between 2017 and 2023, with about 15% of young travellers reporting they booked their accommodation this way. The most popular OTA for hostel users was actually, used by nearly 55% of international youth travellers.

Why does it matter? Technology has a golden opportunity to help property and revenue managers move the needle on direct bookings and next-gen digital hostel-tality experience.

The group is go

Apparent in New Horizons research between 2017 and 2023 is an increase in the use of tour operators to book travel accommodation. Ten percent of young travellers reported booking their accommodation with a tour operator in 2023 vs 5% in 2017, suggesting that group travel was a popular option for young travellers heading out on an international trip post-COVID.

Why does it matter? With growing interest in the social benefits of helping people in destination, group travel providers have an opportunity to attract attention to meaningful social connections possible between tour groups and locals and within tour groups. Gen Z is conscious of issues relating to sustainable travel and communicating the environmental efficiencies and social impact that can be achieved with group travel could help them to close the ‘say vs do’ gap that currently exists around sustainable travel.

For more insights on the near future of travel and tourism, join the world’s largest network of specialists in youth and student travel, WYSE Travel Confederation.

WYSE Research Team

Greg Richards

Research Advisor,
WYSE Travel Confederation

Wendy Morrill

Wendy Morrill

Head of Research
& Education,
WYSE Travel Confederation