Online travel agents (OTAs) are the most popular option for booking flights and accommodation within the youth and student market.
A survey of more than 57,000 travellers aged under 30 by WYSE Travel Confederation found this age group booked around 40% of its flights and 47% of accommodation through OTAs during 2017.
The most popular websites used to book flights were Expedia, STA Travel, Skyscanner and StudentUniverse, while Booking.com was the top option for accommodation followed by Hostelworld, Airbnb and Expedia.
The New Horizons IV report found more than 80% of bookings were made online by under-30s in 2017, with an increasing number of bookings being made on mobile devices and through social media channels.
Despite these changes, the majority of flights and accommodation sales are still completed on a computer, although the proportion of bookings through smartphones or tablets is higher for tours and surface travel.
Booking tours, activities and attractions was much more fragmented in terms of the OTA used with GetYourGuide taking a 25% share of the market, followed by TourRadar (17%) and Viator (16%).
It was a similar story with surface transport with the top OTAs being GoEuro (28%), CheckMyBus (16%) and Wanderu (7%).
The report also looked at different booking patterns between Generation Y, also known as millennials, (born between 1977 and 1994) and Generation Z (born from 1995 onwards).
While both generations are just as likely to make online bookings, the younger age group uses OTAs and third-party websites less often than Generation Y.
Nearly 75% of Generation Z used their smartphone to make at least one booking last year – this was up from a figure of 52% in 2012. The study also shows they consult fewer resources when researching for their trips than millennials.
“[Generation Z] are significantly less likely to use tourist information offices, travel agents, tour operator brochures and websites than their older counterparts,” adds the report.
The youth and student market accounted for an estimated 23% of all global international arrivals in 2017 – adding up to 304 million trips worth more than US$280 billion. The average length of respondents’ main trip was 52 days.
Click here to read the press release.
NOTE: The full 70-page report is free for WYSE Travel Confederation members and available for purchase by non-members. The "booking channel" and "booking medium" charts above and some of the other statistics used in the article are from behind the paywall and reproduced with permission.