Gen Z & Millennial Travelers Embrace Travel Agents for Luxurious Trips

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In the world of luxury travel, travel agents and advisors play a vital role in creating unforgettable experiences. According to Flywire’s latest travel survey, a staggering 92% of luxury travelers have either used or are likely to use a travel agent or advisor for their upcoming trips within the next 18 months. In fact, an overwhelming 81% of respondents believe that partnering with travel experts is the only way to truly immerse themselves in a luxury travel experience.

Interestingly, it is the younger generation, specifically those classified as Generation Z (Gen Z) or Millennials, who are most inclined to seek the assistance of travel agents or advisors compared to their older counterparts. Among respondents aged 18-44, an impressive 96% expressed their intention to utilize the services of these travel professionals, whereas it was 90% for Generation X travelers aged 45-60, and 89% for Boomers+ aged over 61. Additionally, this younger demographic is also more willing to spend more on their travels this year compared to the previous year, with 88% of Gen Z and Millennials planning to increase their travel budget, compared to 81% of Generation X and 61% of Boomers+.

Considering that over half of the global population falls into the Gen Z and Millennial categories, it comes as no surprise that they significantly contribute to the luxury travel market. Although the younger members of Gen Z are still in their early teens, the older ones are rapidly gaining financial independence and seeking to invest their hard-earned money in once-in-a-lifetime travel experiences. In fact, three-quarters of Gen Z and Millennial travelers emphasized that they could not fathom traveling without the assistance of a travel agent or advisor.

Personalization is highly valued by Gen Z and Millennials when it comes to their travel experiences. An overwhelming 90% of these travelers believe that travel agents and advisors are instrumental in creating tailored itineraries, with the sentiment that a truly luxurious experience can only be achieved through their expertise. In contrast, less than half of travelers aged 61 and above share this perspective, as they are more confident in arranging luxury trips independently.

The survey also revealed that Gen Z and Millennial travelers, to a certain extent, prefer using Online Travel Agents (OTAs). Among this group, 64% have utilized the services of an OTA, whereas 59% have engaged with a travel advisor, 50% have sought the assistance of a travel concierge, and 45% have utilized a destination management company (DMC). These preferences highlight the comfort and familiarity that Gen Z and Millennial travelers have with online services. As the first generation to have grown up with constant internet access, often referred to as “digital natives,” it is expected that they would gravitate towards online options. However, it is noteworthy that when compared to travelers aged 61 and above, Gen Z and Millennial travelers are twice as likely to utilize travel services to book their vacations. Furthermore, their reliance on travel agents extends beyond the booking stage, as an astonishing 87% of Gen Z and Millennial travelers acknowledged using travel agents or advisors to manage their itineraries in real time, in contrast to only 50% of Boomers+ travelers.

When examining the reasons behind the use of travel agents, several factors emerged as key drivers. A significant 62% of respondents cited the fact that travel agents take care of every aspect of their trip, while 60% appreciated their ability to communicate the latest travel restrictions. Additionally, 59% recognized that travel agents are adept at problem-solving, and 57% valued the peace of mind that comes with their services. Notably, 63% of Gen Z and Millennial travelers emphasized the peace of mind that travel agents provide, compared to 54% of Generation X travelers and 45% of Boomers+ travelers.

Travel agents also play a crucial role in the payment stage of vacation planning. Given that the average cost per person for summer/fall 2023 vacations is projected to be $5,798, 60% of travelers expressed a preference for making payments through a single entity, such as a travel agent or advisor. It is worth mentioning that luxury travelers have become increasingly concerned about the security of their payments over the past year, with 74% expressing apprehension, marking an increase from 69% in the previous year. Gen Z and Millennials are particularly cautious, with 82% of them expressing concerns about payment security, compared to 71% of Generation X travelers and just 50% of Boomers+.

In conclusion, the undeniable role of travel agents and advisors within luxury travel is evident, especially among younger luxury travelers who are beginning to accumulate their own wealth and are increasingly inclined to spend it on unique travel experiences. With their expertise, personalization, and ability to alleviate concerns, travel agents continue to be trusted partners for creating extraordinary journeys.

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