In a world where borders are no longer boundaries and experiences reign supreme, the next generation is set to redefine the very essence of travel.
Gen Zs and Millennials are prioritizing travel above material goods in the coming months and budgeting to spend bigger than generations before them. Well-traveled before reaching their peak spending power, these seasoned globetrotters are taking no less than three trips per year.
Gen Zs and Millennials’ robust appetite for under-the-radar and culture-rich destinations presents immense opportunities for Asia Pacific, especially with rising global wealth and increased demand for immersive experiences.
We see this trend especially pronounced in luxury travel - a sector fueling global travel growth. In a recent survey that we conducted, Marriott has identified the ‘Native Explorer’, a group of affluent Millennial and Gen Z travelers in Asia Pacific who are spending their travel dollars closer to home, with 84% believing that they have yet to fully discover all the region has to offer. Destinations in the region such as Japan, South Korea, and New Zealand rank top on their travel wish list.
Gen Z and Millennials are evolving the guest-hotel relationship
Hotels are no longer just a place to stay. They have become an influential source of travel inspiration. We are increasingly observing Gen Z and Millennials seeking out hotels and resorts that double up as travel guides to create unique and memorable travel experiences.
Our survey findings support this, with nine in 10 young affluent travelers in Asia Pacific preferring to lean on their hotels as destination guides, rather than research and hire a local guide of their own. Across the region, our portfolio of hotels and resorts are purposefully designed to reflect the local destination.
The newly opened The Ritz-Carlton, Fukuoka presents five restaurants and bar venues that celebrate Fukuoka’s rising reputation as a food capital and Japan’s rich culinary traditions; while JW Marriott Goa’s thoughtful architecture mirrors its tranquil surroundings and blends modern design with Goa’s aesthetic through wooden paneling, natural marble and stone water fountains, and mother-of-pearl detailing.
L: The Ritz-Carlton, Fukuoka, Diva restaurant; R: JW Marriott Goa
Loyalty amongst Millennials and Gen Zs is no longer won through discounts and deals alone. Our Marriott Bonvoy travel program inspires a growing 66 million members in Asia Pacific through new offerings and enriching programs that serve as a catalyst for travelers to explore.
For example, the Good Travel with Marriott Bonvoy program empowers guests across nearly 100 properties to make a positive impact on the communities they visit in the Asia Pacific region and contribute to environmental protection, community engagement, and marine conservation initiatives.
This year, The Ritz-Carlton Club Elevated Experience launched across Asia Pacific to present curated culinary journeys, and personalized encounters at every touchpoint of a guest’s experience, from pre-arrival to departure.
L: The Ritz-Carlton Club Lounge at The Ritz-Carlton, Perth; R: JW Marriott Khao Lak Resort & Spa’s Good Travel with Marriott Bonvoy Bamboo Shark Nurse
Technology will become vital to connecting with Gen Z and Millennial travelers who, as digital natives, experience the physical and digital world on a seamless spectrum. At Marriott International, we see digitalization as an opportunity to fuel demand and develop simple yet effective digital experiences.
Through Marriott Bonvoy, our hotels offer contactless touchpoints where guests can use their mobile app to check-in, access their rooms, pre-order, or order room service. We are building digital ecosystems to become a part of everyday life, such as co-branded credit cards with Shinhan Bank and Visa in Korea and American Express in Japan, airline partnerships with Singapore Airlines, Japan Airlines, and All Nippon Airways to expand our myriad of benefits for members. A testament of our success, Marriott Bonvoy app users increased 32% year-on-year in end-2022.
Asia-Pacific poised to become a major leisure travel hub for Gen Z and millennials
A dynamic market like Asia Pacific holds tremendous growth opportunities. Reaffirming our confidence in the resilience of travel demand, Marriott International saw robust Q2 2023 results with progressive growth in key markets of Japan, Indonesia and South Korea. Recent projections by The World Travel and Tourism Council similarly expect travel revenue contribution to APAC’s GDP to grow 32% by 2025, exceeding other regions.
We are also seeing greater collaboration between the public and private sectors to grow travel and tourism in Asia Pacific. I had the pleasure of participating in the recent US-ASEAN Business Council’s 2023 Indonesia Business Mission, where President Joko Widodo discussed the “10 new Bali Project” efforts to boost the future of Indonesia’s tourism, and the G20 Tourism Ministerial Dialogue in Goa, which provided a platform for representatives from the private and public sectors to discuss priorities and opportunities for collaboration.
These initiatives signal the emergence of new destinations and new growth in the region, attracting the next generation of travellers.
This generational shift heralds a new era of tourism in Asia Pacific. Understanding Gen Zs and Millennials’ distinct worldview and adapting to their fast-evolving preferences is not only a competitive advantage, but critical to powering a resilient future in travel and tourism.
Rajeev Menon - Follow
President - Asia Pacific (excluding China) at Marriott International
The future of travel is being reshaped by Asia Pacific’s Gen Zs and Millennials. A recent regional survey by Marriott International identified the ‘Native Explorer’ - an emerging generation of young affluent travelers who are seeking holidays closer to home, with 84% believing they have not yet discovered all the region has to offer. Click below to read more about my thoughts on these ‘Native Explorers’ and how they are redefining the essence of travel. #MarriottInternational