Why encouraging Gen C to travel isn’t just good for the balance sheet

Why encouraging Gen C to travel isn’t just good for the balance sheet

Young people are travelling more and spending more than ever before. Today’s permanently-connected young travellers also have a larger sphere of influence than any generation that’s gone before them. All these are good reasons to embrace Gen C and encourage them to put your destination, product or service on their bucket list.Montañas de Lugo, Autumn 2012

In the end though, the real value in encouraging Gen C to travel is because it’s good for them. The 2012 San Diego Declaration on Youth, Student and Educational Travel summed it up nicely:

For young individuals;

  • Travel is a form of learning
  • Travel is a way of socialising
  • Travel is a form of discovering other cultures
  • Travel is a means of self-development
  • Travel is a source of career development

When you think about it in those terms, the benefits of encouraging young people to travel become clearer. Of course, it very much depends on the attitude of the individual. When asked by Hosteltur, Span’s leading tourism news site how I could explain the herds of drunk English teenagers descending on the Spanish costas for their modern age spring break in the context of WYSE Travel Confederation’s research on the modern youth traveller, I have to admit they painted me into a corner!

Still, in my opinion the adage that ‘travel is the only thing you buy that makes you richer’ (here are some more quotes) still rings true whatever the destination as every travel experience, from a drunken weekend in Majorca to a once-in-a-lifetime backpacking tour of Australia will throw up experiences and memories to last a lifetime.

Explaining this concept in a language policy makers would understand was one of the key aims of the San Diego Declaration. At WYSTC San Diego in 2012 we sought to pool the beliefs about the benefits of travel and what could be done to improve conditions for it in one place. The document caught the imagination of the world’s tourism ministers and was subsequently approved by the UN. I encourage you to read more about it and download the Declaration here.

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‘Connected, curating, community focussed’ – why you should be keeping an eye on where Gen C are travelling…

‘Connected, curating, community focussed’ – why you should be keeping an eye on where Gen C are travelling…

Welcome to the first post of my first-ever blog, an initiative aimed at helping my colleagues in the global travel and tourism industry to understand Generation C – the connected generation – and their travel habits, today and tomorrow.

Sounds like an ambitious plan, right? With legions of bloggers, social media experts, tourism strategists and global consultants out there, what can I be expected to offer the world’s destination management organisations (DMOs), corporations and industry associations?

Firstly, I wouldn’t have started this initiative if I didn’t think it might be a useful resource for industry colleagues to consult, dip into or share. Almost every tourism conference you attend these days features a session on technology, trends, the ‘visitor experience’ being at the heart of the customer journey and of course the keys to making social media work for your brand. It’s all relevant stuff, and I will aim to use this blog partly to share some useful insight on those issues. However destinations need to plan ahead.

Secondly, even if short-sighted political expediency occasionally gets in the way, it’s essential to have at least one eye on where tomorrow’s visitors are going to come from and what they’re likely to expect. Those visitors are today known as Gen C -the connected generation- and they, together with today’s high-spending young traveller are the subject of this blog. Sir Albert hotel, Amsterdam

As you can see, the blog is work in progress (though I’ve already put up some useful resources), and I aim for it to be a great place to come for ideas and best practices. These are often best explained first-hand, so I’ll be inviting a range of industry colleagues (from a broad a spectrum of sectors and backgrounds as possible) to share their insight into Gen C and what DMOs can usefully do to catch their imagination and customer loyalty, often on a limited budget.

I’ll leave you with this quote by Benjamin Disraeli, stencilled on to the side of the Sir Albert boutique hotel in Amsterdam (click on the image to view a larger version) It’s not the best photo but a) I took it with my trusty Samsung Galaxy R, and b) you’re looking at typical Amsterdam ‘Tupperware weather’. I spotted the stencil on my way to my Dutch course this morning and immediately wondered whether for today’s traveller, it might be more appropriate to replace the verb ‘see’ with ‘experience’. Chew on that…

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