While experience is a driver for this generation, there is also a shift in how “loyalty” is perceived. They not only expect regular, predictable rewards from a loyalty program, they also expect reciprocal loyalty from brands they engage with.
They expect a brand to exhibit loyalty through personalization. That means customized offers and tailored content, and they’re willing to “pay” for it. Millennials and Gen Zers share a common bond with and through technology. As the first digitally native and the first social media generations, they are more accepting of data collection.
They expect brands to be interested in their data and behaviors and are open to granting access to information. They expect that this will result in more personalized relationships and brand engagements. In return for their data, they expect brands to offer experiences that are tailored and meaningful.
For vacation rental property management companies, the data can be gathered from first contact and throughout the booking process. This data can then be used to create more personalization by serving to inform business decisions resulting in the presentation of targeted inventory to give Gen Z customers a selection of travel services and products targeted directly to them.
Gen Zers are focused on value. In a recent study of multi-national travel trends, 54% of those surveyed responded that deals and value are important in their decision making process. The same study found that 66% of Gen Z travelers are destination indecisive.
This is another indicator that in order to gain loyalty, you need to adjust programs in “non-traditional” ways. For example, because Gen Z travelers are younger and may not have the high point balances that older demographics may have accrued, this means that traditional “platinum level” perks may not be available to Gen Z travelers. This makes personalized rewards even more valuable and effective at keeping them interested.
An example might be offering “points and cash” redemption or points for specific experiences like a scenic cruise or free kayak rentals. With this generation, loyalty programs needs to go beyond points. You need to think in terms of “dynamic” solutions to enhance the brand experience while giving Gen Zers what they’re looking for; personalized experiences. This can help lower customer acquisition costs and keep your brand top-of-mind during the research and booking phases.
As you begin to structure loyalty strategies, remember, if you are collecting data from first contact, that data can help you to understand and facilitate personalization by tracking customer values and habits. By offering targeted rewards based on Gen Z preferences, backed by data, expanding loyalty programs to include experienced based rewards and providing easier access to rewards by “points and cash” redemption, you can create a connection to Gen Z travelers, that will soon become the generation with the most disposable income.
As the largest growing segment of the population, Gen Zers will be shaping many aspects of the economy in the coming years including travel and tourism. According to an Expedia Group study, for Gen Z travelers, experiences and activities drive travel decisions and appealing deals and images are the most influential way of reaching these travelers as the make their booking decisions.
The travel brands that can establish a relationship with this generation and build trust through social media engagement and effective loyalty strategies will be able to capture more of their travel dollars in the coming years.