[Research] Green Travel Trends 2020: Gen Z and Beyond

 

Today’s consumers are more aware of their impact on the environment than ever before. And that’s affecting their buying decisions.

Criteo’s Global Green Traveler Study

Here at Criteo, we wondered how all of this might be influencing the way people plan and book travel. We surveyed over 13,000 travelers around the world to learn more. Here’s what we discovered:

1. Germany boasts the most green travelers.

According to our research, Germany leads the pack when it comes to eco-conscious travel. Twenty-two percent of the German travelers we surveyed were “green travelers” by our definition: Travelers who, at least once in the last six months, decided not to book travel in order to reduce their carbon footprint. France, Spain, and the United Kingdom were also among the top five countries with the highest percentage of green travelers.

Source: Criteo Travel Study, May-June 2019. N=13,188 — Green Travelers: N=783

Given the variety of domestic and intercontinental holiday destinations that Europe provides, combined with the ubiquity and relative ease of train travel, look for even more travelers across EMEA to choose greener options.

2. Younger generations are the greenest travelers.

Our study indicates that Gen Zers and Millennials may be more acutely aware that travel behaviors need to change now, as other research also shows.1 Of the travelers Criteo surveyed, 62% of those who’d cancelled a trip in the last six months were Gen Zers or Millennials.

Source: Criteo Travel Study, May-June 2019. N=13,188 — Green Travelers: N=783

According to a study by Booking.com, 54% of Gen Zers say that the environmental impact traveling has on destinations is an important factor when deciding where to book travel, and 56% would want to stay in a green or eco-friendly accommodation.2

If the rise of international phenom and environmental activist Greta Thunberg (who refuses to fly) is any indication, the travel industry will feel mounting pressure in 2020 to appeal to young travelers in earth-friendly ways.

3. Green travelers are a small but mighty group.

Green travelers are a minority, but a significant one. A study by Mandala Research found that travelers who seek out and book accommodations marketed as more “sustainable” stay, on average, three days longer than other guests.3

If you’re a travel provider, along with rethinking your overall travel loyalty program, consider special incentives that attract and retain a growing audience of climate-conscious jetsetters — those who are trying to reduce their carbon footprint. They’re on track to have outsized influence on their peers and the industry at large in the future.

Takeaways for Travel Marketers

1. Eco-conscious travel is trending.

According to the same survey by Booking.com, 87% of all tourists want more sustainable travel options, and 67% are willing to spend at least 5% more on their travel to ensure it has as low of an impact on the environment as possible.

So no matter what size or kind of travel and hospitality marketer you are, take this as an opportunity to reimagine your offerings and cater to the preferences of people who like to travel with a clear(er) conscience.

2. One-size-fits-all marketing falls flat.

The small but growing cohort of carbon-conscious travelers won’t be compelled by general awareness campaigns. If you’re a travel marketer, take extra care to develop messages that appeal to their values to ensure they’re striking a chord.

Our Why We Buy research shows that 46% of US consumers and 51% of UK consumers dislike when ads show them products they’re not interested in.4 Our Why We Book study shows that only 25% of Gen Zers are members of a travel loyalty program, indicating there’s room for improvement on creating incentives that matter to them.5

3. Get green traveler traffic through targeted campaigns.

Take steps now in order to identify who these people are in your CRM database and cookie pool, and launch ad campaigns that understand their sustainable travel preferences.

When it comes to travel, many people are looking for ways to reduce their impact. With its ability to target different audience types and bring them back to your site, the Criteo Ad Platform can help you create a loyal base of green travelers. Learn more here.

About the data

  • Definition of Green Travelers: Travelers who, at least once in the past 6 months, decided not to book travel in order to reduce their carbon footprint.
  • Base for calculations:
    • For the graph by country: Travelers who, at least once in the past 6 months, decided not to book travel for any reason (weather, regional politics, the economy, etc).
    • For the graphs by demographics: All (travelers having done at least one personal trip for personal reasons within the last 6 months).
  • Our survey defines age groups as follows — Gen Z: born after 1994 (under 25), Millennials: born between 1981 and 1994 (25-38 years old), Gen X: born between 1965 and 1980 (39-54 years old), Boomers: born between 1946 and 1964 (55-73 years old), Silent: born before 1946 (74+).

Sources

1 https://www.globenewswire.com/news-release/2019/01/10/1686144/0/en/CGS-Survey-Reveals-Sustainability-Is-Driving-Demand-and-Customer-Loyalty.html
2 https://www.travelagentcentral.com/running-your-business/stats-87-travelers-want-to-travel-sustainably
3 https://www.washingtonpost.com/lifestyle/travel/with-eco-friendly-travel-more-popular-than-ever-approach-green-claims-with-skepticism/2017/05/18/617cfef2-358f-11e7-b373-418f6849a004_story.html?noredirect=on
4 Criteo “Why We Buy” Survey, US, February 2019, N=1003​ and Criteo “Why We Buy” Survey, UK, March 2019, N=1020.
5Criteo “Why We Book” Travel Study, Global, May-July 2019, N=13,000.

Explore the Tableau Workbook, with even more green traveler findings, here:

Michelle Pruett

Michelle is an ice cream enthusiast who writes about tech, trends, and culture. Her work has been featured in Entrepreneur, Business Insider, The Motley Fool, The Huffington Post, AdWeek, MediaPost, eMarketer, Luxury Daily, Domino, DuJour, and more. She's lived on three continents and is proud to be a New Yorker at heart.