10 fun facts about Gen Z and millennial travelers in Asia Pacific

A regional survey by Marriott Bonvoy uncovers the key traits of travel-oriented, value-driven younger jet-setters.

Marriott Bonvoy, the award-winning travel program of Marriott International, recently conducted a survey to find the travel behaviors of Gen Zs and millennials in Asia Pacific excluding China (APEC).

The study revealed an emerging generation of travel-focused, value-driven “savvy explorers” in APEC who seek to maximize their travel dollars and collect unique travel experiences. 

According to the survey, travel in 2024 is a priority for Gen Zs and millennials, with 73 percent reporting their intentions to take at least two trips in the next 12 months; and 91 percent intend to spend the same, if not more, on their trips compared to the year before. 

According to the Marriott Bonvoy survey, travel in 2024 is a priority for Gen Zs and millennials. Photo by Jeshoots Com from Unsplash

The respondents view travel as an essential lifestyle component, and most are willing to reduce everyday spending on dining out (60 percent), shopping sprees (57 percent), and their daily coffee (54 percent) so as to spend more on a holiday. 

The findings are from a commissioned survey by Marriott International conducted in April 2024 on 1,000 Gen Z (18 – 24 years old) and millennials (25 – 41 years old) based in Japan, Korea, India, Australia, Singapore, Indonesia, Thailand, Malaysia, Vietnam, and the Philippines, who would budget for their own travels. 

The regional survey also uncovered 10 notable trends among Gen Zs and millennials across the 10 APEC (Asia Pacific excluding China) countries. 

1. Most likely to sacrifice dining out for a holiday 

The survey revealed that Australian (76 percent), Japanese (74 percent), and Indonesian (68 percent) travelers are the ones who are most likely to forego dining out to save up for a trip. Despite the renown of their culinary heritage, majority prefer to reduce eating out over giving up other everyday luxuries like monthly subscriptions.  

Photo by Philipp Kammerer from Unsplash

2. Most frequent travelers in APEC 

The region’s jet-setters are Southeast Asia’s Gen Z and millennials, with over a third planning to take more than three trips in the next 12 months. Indonesian (51 percent), Thai (39 percent), and Filipino (34 percent) travelers set to outpace others within the region.  

3. Top intra-regional travelers 

Japanese (71 percent), Thai (69 percent), and South Korean (66 percent) Gen Z and millennials prefer holidaying closer to home. Bucking the trend are Indian and Filipino travelers, with over 60 percent opting for more distant destinations.  

Indian and Filipino travelers opt for more distant destinations. Photo by Mesut Kaya from Unsplash

4. Top off-peak travelers

Off-peak travel maximizes destination experience, hence Gen Zs and millennials also carefully plan when to travel to make the most out of their trip. The majority (71 percent) of respondents say they would opt to travel during off-peak seasons so as to beat the crowds and get more out of their trip, while 67 percent feel they can do more during low-peak seasons.

Indians prefer to travel during peak periods. Photo by Harshavardhan Pentakota from Unsplash

Those who prefer traveling during the lean season are the Japanese (87 percent), Australian (81 percent) and Singaporean (79 percent) millennials and Gen Zs. Indians, meanwhile, prefer to travel during peak periods (58 percent).  

5. Most discerning when choosing their hotel 

Indonesian, Thai, and Vietnamese Gen Z and millennials, with an overwhelming 90 percent, prefer accommodations which are reflective of the local destination and/or are environmentally friendly. 

Photo by Ross Parmly from Unsplash

6. Top motivators to splurge on travel 

For Australian, Indonesian, and Singaporean Gen Z and millennial travelers quality factors such as hotel reputation and location are top considerations. In contrast, Japanese and Vietnamese travelers place greater weight on experiences such as in-hotel dining (Japan: 59 percent, Vietnam: 47 percent), while Thais prioritize hotel aesthetics (41 percent).  

7. Top countries for business travel

Going on a work trip? Top destinations for business travel include Vietnam (85 percent), India (81 percent), and Indonesia (78 percent). Over 80 percent are also likely to extend their business trips for leisure (Vietnam: 82 percent, India: 83 percent, Indonesia: 80 percent). 

Top destinations for business travel include Vietnam, India, and Indonesia. Photo by Tron Le from Unsplash

The study revealed that corporate backpackers are on the rise. Gen Zs and millennials are taking “bleisure” travel up a notch by capitalizing on the opportunity of a business trip to embark on multi-destination tours. In addition to extending their travel plans (68 percent), 84 percent plan to explore nearby cities and countries as part of their post-work itinerary. 

With more than 560 properties across 24 brands in 22 countries and territories in APEC to choose from, Marriott International offers customers a myriad of options to mix work with pleasure. 

8. Most valuable travel benefits 

For APEC’s Gen Z and miillennials, elevated hotel experiences like complimentary dining, spa, and room upgrades are top considerations. Nearly two in three Indian travelers (67 percent) are also likely to redeem unique travel experiences, while over half of Thai travelers (51 percent) prefer to receive exclusive merchandise.  

Nearly two in three Indian travelers are also likely to redeem unique travel experiences, while over half of Thai travelers would prefer to receive exclusive merchandise. Photo by Afif Ramdhasuma from Unsplash

Despite a desire to maximize their travel budgets where they can, their hotel is one area that APEC’s Gen Z and millennials are willing to invest extra travel dollars towards. While amenities remain key considerations, these guests value a seamless travel experience, with mobile-first customer service (61 percent), reliable WiFi (68 percent), and flexible check-out (64 percent) outpacing traditional benefits like lounge access (42 percent).  

9. Hotels have become a key destination in themselves

Almost all of the respondents (99 percent) believe their hotel choice can make or break their holiday. Photo from Marriott News

Hotel experience is key to winning the hearts (and dollars) of the Gen Z and millennial segment, with 99 percent of respondents believing their hotel choice can make or break their holiday. Hotels are also increasingly viewed as a key destination for exploration, going beyond the role of ‘accommodation’. Nearly four in five respondents expect their hotel to provide curated local programming and experiences, while 84 percent prefer to stay at a hotel with designs and activities reflective of its destination. 

10. Destination ‘dupes’ fuel intra-regional travel demand  

Destination “dupes” such as Boracay in the Philippines instead of Hawaii are fast gaining traction. Photo by Laurentiu Morariu

International travel has returned but APEC’s Gen Z and millennials remain committed to destinations closer to home. While iconic holiday locations like the Swiss Alps and Bora Bora maintain their appeal, 55 percent are opting for destinations within the region that provide a similar experience like Niseko in Japan instead of Salzburg, and Boracay in the Philippines instead of Hawaii.

These so-called “destination dupes” are fast gaining traction among this segment because they allow Gen Zs and Millennials to stretch their travel expenses (69 percent), discover something new (63 percent), and are easily accessible (62 percent).  As a reflection of robust intra-regional travel demand in 2023, Marriott International saw over 60 percent of bookings in APEC coming from within the region.  

Survey results suggest that Gen Zs and millennials in APEC are purposeful in strategizing how they can attain rewarding travel experiences. Photo by Element5 Digital from Unsplash

“Survey results suggest that Gen Zs and millennials in APEC are purposefully strategizing how they can channel value from their everyday spend toward rewarding travel experiences,” says John Toomey, Marriott International’s chief sales and marketing officer for APEC.

“They also prefer to be part of only one all-encompassing loyalty travel program which fulfills their needs. To this end, Marriott Bonvoy—which gives members access to over 30 brands in 10,000 destinations—is well positioned to deliver greater value and unlock more experiences for Gen Zs and millennials.”

To enroll for free or for more information about Marriott Bonvoy, visit marriottbonvoy.com

Associate Editor

The new lifestyle.