February 24, 2023

Young people’s revenge travel drives surge in hostel and hybrid hotel occupancy

David Chapman, Director General of WYSE Travel Confederation shares his thoughts on what makes young people hit the book button

The non-profit member organisation is representing the youth travel segment on the main stage at ITB Berlin.

What are the main factors which young people look at when booking a trip?
This depends on the kind of trip they are booking, whether its with a purpose or for a pure holiday, or what we are seeing more of today, a combination of the two. We are seeing more young people who are doing volunteering as part of their trip and then combining this with a vacation. This is often combined with working in a digital nomad environment. So it’s difficult to say what they are taking into account. They are certainly looking for accessibility, they are looking at how they are going to travel and increasingly choosing alternatives to flying. Of course flying is often cheaper than other options like trains or coaches, so if these are too expensive or not available they will revert to taking a plane.

What are the key trends which you defining the youth travel segment?
Currently, there is quite a lot of what’s known as ‘revenge travel’ going on. A large portion of young travellers ended up saving quite a lot of money during the global pandemic and have ended up with some spare cash in the bank. After the frustration of not being able to travel for several years, they are now catching up on their holidays. So whereas before, they might have done one or two trips, they are now doing five or six a year. This has particularly benefited the youth orientated accommodation segment, including hostels and hybrid hotels, who are seeing very high occupancy rates.

Young people will revert back to planned trips, but these will be blended with work or travelling with a purpose

How can travel companies better communicate with young people?
Again, there is no simple answer to this. Some segments prefer going down the TikTok route while others prefer the Instagram route. But I think the biggest point, whether we are talking about direct communication or information being provided on a company’s website, is that it all comes down to authenticity. They want to see authentic photographs, not commercial campaigns. They want to see mixed groups, in terms of ethnicity and sexuality, because these better represent their peer groups.

How does WYSE support and promote youth travel organisations?
We are the representative body for youth and student travel businesses around the world. We have around 300 members and are still re-recruiting after the pandemic. We advocate, support and represent the industry in places like ITB for example. Without us there is very little focus on what the youth travel segment is in the tourism industry over all.

How are you promoting the youth travel segment at ITB?
We have a slot on the main stage and will be running a workshop programme at our booth (Hall 4.1, stand 100), with a variety of different speakers talking about trends, issues and solutions within the youth travel market. We have 16 co-exhibitors with us this year, ranging from the hybrid hostel providers, through to universities, insurance and other services around the industry.

Hall 4.1 / Stand 100

Panel Discussion with David Chapman, Director General, WYSE

Youth, Adventure & Outdoor Track 
GenZ and the Transformation of Travel

Wednesday, 8 March 2023
> 2.00 – 3.00pm
Location: Hall 3.1 Green Stage

23% of international arrivals are youth travellers

WYSE is in the process of working out the latest figures for the youth travel segment, but numbers in 2019 valued it at USD 350 billion. The organisation will undertake what it described as the “largest consumer research” in the youth travel market later this year. Every five years, WYSE publishes its New Horizons report, which looks at the motivations of young travellers, where they are going, how they are funding it, how they are researching it and much more. Based on this research, the member organisation says youth travellers spend on average more time in an international destination and therefore also spend more.