Gen Z's Secret Travel Agent: How Is TikTok Reshaping Budget Travel?


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Gen Z's Secret Travel Agent: How Is TikTok Reshaping Budget Travel?

Everyone loves a cheap getaway!

With TikTok fast becoming Gen Z’s favourite travel agent, the generation is no longer relying solely on traditional travel agencies or guidebooks. 

Instead, they’re turning to TikTok for insider tips, secret destination recommendations, and most importantly, ways to jet-set for less.

With 81% of Gen Z stating that budget is the biggest factor in their choice of destination - how are they finding the best deals?

To find out, we held a live focus group and here’s what we found:

TikTok's Role in Finding Budget-Friendly Destinations

For many in the group, TikTok has become an invaluable resource for finding affordable travel experiences. They use the platform to discover hidden gems, activities, and budget-friendly adventures. 

As one participant explained, within the research stage they search for specific keywords and hashtags in the platform, such as "Happy Hour in Barcelona," to unearth a wealth of cost-effective ideas. One Gen Zer, remarked, “I like to live a boujie lifestyle but on a budget!”. So once the destination has been selected; it's about finding ways to make your money go further, with the demographic actively seeking out pocket-friendly deals...

Transparency and the New Era of Travel

Our focus group highlighted the importance of price transparency when it comes to discounted trips. Rather than shying away from the cost of the experience, Gen Z want to see a clear, cost breakdown of the savings. The reason? They want to know how much of a bargain it really is! So how can brands be transparent?

Influencers and Recommendations

This is where influencers take centre stage. Our focus group unanimously agreed that user-generated content, such as “Spend a day with me” videos, were the most effective methods of conveying price transparency.

When it comes to travel, 61% of Gen Z and millennials are in agreement that the main reason they choose a destination is because it “looks great” in videos and photos shared on social media. Yet, it’s not just about the aesthetics but also about real experiences and opinions within influencer content.

Micro Versus Mega Influencers

Are micro or mega influencers more effective? From our focus group we found that while Gen Z likes the aspirational content created by mega-influencers, they lean towards micro content creators when seeking budget-friendly experiences.

"If big influencers are at a destination, my first thought is that I won't be able to afford it. But if I see tips and tricks from small travel bloggers, it makes me think, maybe this is the place for me."

So for travel brands, prioritising transparency and authenticity will be paramount when capturing the attention and trust of the Gen Z crowd.