Travel is no longer about crossing destinations off a checklist for Millennials and Gen Zs in Asia Pacific. Experiences are now the first consideration factor when planning for a holiday, trumping accommodation and flight options for this group, and they’re willing to spend on it too.
According to a survey conducted by leading travel and experiences platform Klook, travellers are ready to spend big on travel. 1 in 3 Millennial and Gen Z travellers are willing to spend more than double of the average monthly income in Asia (USD$1,069, approx. RM4,888)on their next holiday, which amounts to USD$2,000 (approx. RM9,145) and more.
Eric Gnock Fah, COO and co-founder of Klook, says “Embracing a new era of travel, experiences have emerged as a new coveted currency for the next generation of travellers, particularly among Millennials and Gen Zs. Unique experiences and activities take precedence in their travel plans as the first thing they look at, with 85% of Asia Pacific travellers are ready to invest in experiences during their holidays. This remarkable shift is a testament to their increasing desire for authentic experiences, with their decisions fueled by social media over traditional sources like search engines and travel guides before embarking on their next travel adventure.”
Experiences are Millennials’ and Gen Zs’ new travel currency
As travel becomes more intentional, a majority of travellers are also prioritising experiences and making them a focal point of their trip, with 63% booking their experiences before they fly.
More than 90% of Millennials and Gen Zs emphasise unique and memorable experiences during their travels, with 81% of travellers from Malaysia signalling a willingness to invest in them during their holiday. The drive for unique adventures is seen in preferred experiences: Leading at 56% is theme parks, followed closely at 70% by outdoor escapades including cave exploration and island tours. Cultural immersion including river cruises and city tours is vital for 61%, reflecting a yearning for a deeper connection with the destinations.
Surprisingly, across Asia, Gen Zs, who are just beginning to embark on their careers, are not far behind their Millennial counterparts in splurging on travel. 1 in 5 Gen Zs are willing to spend over US$3,000 (approx. RM13,705), slightly trailing 1 in 4 Millennials who share the same sentiment.
Regarding Malaysian travellers, a significant 71% express their willingness to allocate up to US$2,000 (approx. RM9,145) or less for their travel expenses. This amount is nearly double the average monthly income in Asia, which stands at USD$1,069 (approx. RM4,888).
Social media is the #1 holiday inspiration tool for Millennials and Gen Zs in Malaysia
Social media is the top inspiration tool for Gen Z travellers, with more than half using the platform to discover new destinations and experiences, favouring it over search engines and travel guides. More than 3 out of 5 Malaysians (65%) turn to social media as a tool for inspiration and recommendations, with 63% using the medium to discover new destinations and seek out activities to do. Capturing and sharing social media content has also become ingrained in the travel experience, further enticing travellers to embark on unique experiences.
In fact, 9 out of 10 millennials and Gen Zs check online reviews before booking, and rely on travel content recommendations on social media when planning holidays. Findings show that creating social media-worthy content is of utmost importance for a large majority of travellers (87%), especially for travellers from India, the Philippines and Mainland China, and one of the main reasons for travel.
“The rise of social media as a travel inspiration and planning tool is largely due to their interactive nature, especially with short-form videos and mobile apps,” says Eric Gnock Fah. “It has undeniably become a powerful and dynamic source of travel inspiration among Millennials and Gen Zs. This lies in its ability to offer authentic storytelling and personalised real-time recommendations. This paradigm shift indicates the demographic’s desire for meaningful connections and seamless exploration.”
Millennials and Gen Zs are organised planners, opting for more intentional short-haul trips
The majority of Millennials and Gen Zs across the Asia Pacific are becoming more intentional travel planners, with 59% planning their holidays at least two to six months in advance. Millennials and Gen Zs increasingly opt to travel closer to home domestically (64%) or within Asia Pacific (33%). 82% of Malaysian travellers also indicated their wish to go on short-haul travel.
The top 3 destinations on the travel wish list for Malaysian travellers are Japan, Thailand, and Indonesia. These findings indicate a rising trend of younger explorers focusing on the desire to explore and seek new experiences over the actual destination itself.
For more information and insights from Klook’s Travel Pulse survey, please look at the factsheet attached.