Airline loyalty programs are lost on Gen Z

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For Gen Z, the powerful and startlingly personal social algorithms are constantly feeding their inspiration, and fueling their aspirations.

All travel, whether low-key or adventurous, is an activity. After a pandemic that left them feeling cooped up, an economy that made luxury travel unattainable, and a sociological backlash against a seemingly shallow and materialistic generation before them, Gen Z travelers seek genuine experiences and local flavor over the perfect sunrise accentuating the perfect avocado toast. Search engines and travel sites can’t get them the recommendations they desire.

I would fly underneath the plane with all the luggage if it was cheaper

When it comes to Booking, Gen Z suffers zero fools. “I would fly underneath the plane with all of the luggage if it was cheaper. I have zero brand loyalty,” said one of our panelists. They haven’t had the life experience, or the credit card expenses, to accumulate miles with anyone, and the allure of a miles program is embarrassingly thin compared to the satisfaction of finding a good deal.

Gen Z is hungry for the authentic. “Authenticity” is a word that’s been used ad nauseam, to the point where it’s lost its meaning, and most likely elicits eye-rolls. There’s only one way to grab hold of Gen Z: actually provide good experiences and then amplify those offerings within the language of social media.

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