# Travel behaviour differences among Indonesian youth in Generations Y and Z: pre-, during and post-travel

Putu Diah Sastri Pitanatri (Center for Tourism Studies, Gadjah Mada University, Yogyakarta, Indonesia and Department of Social Development, Gadjah Mada University, Yogyakarta, Indonesia)

ISSN: 2752-6666

Article publication date: 13 December 2022

383

## Abstract

### Purpose

This study aims to explore the differences in the travel behaviour of Indonesian youth of Generations Y and Z in the pre-, during and post-travel stages and their associated use of information and communication technology.

### Design/methodology/approach

Data were gathered through a questionnaire that was distributed via the internet for six weeks; 569 people provided their full responses. Chi-square tests and linear regression were used for data analysis.

### Findings

These generations use digital media and word of mouth differently when searching for travel information. The differences are also apparent in the pre-, during and post-travel stages. Generation Z tends to use digital media and share travel experiences through a certain social media platform more frequently than Generation Y.

### Research limitations/implications

This study covers the travel history prior to and during the COVID-19 pandemic and equalises the situation in these two periods. The number of samples was relatively small to capture the current population of both generations.

### Practical implications

This study promotes a new understanding of the travel behaviours of the two generations based on the stages of the travel examined. The findings suggest that the travel industry can distinguish between promotional media and types of services to serve each of the generational cohorts more effectively.

### Originality/value

To the best of the authors’ knowledge, this is the first study to reveal differences in travel behaviour between Generations Y and Z in Indonesia.

## Citation

Damanik, J., Priyambodo, T.K., Wibowo, M.E., Pitanatri, P.D.S. and Wachyuni, S.S. (2022), "Travel behaviour differences among Indonesian youth in Generations Y and Z: pre-, during and post-travel", Consumer Behavior in Tourism and Hospitality, Vol. ahead-of-print No. ahead-of-print. https://doi.org/10.1108/CBTH-07-2021-0184

## Publisher

:

Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2022, Janianton Damanik, Tri Kuntoro Priyambodo, Moh Edi Wibowo, Putu Diah Sastri Pitanatri and Suci Sandi Wachyuni.

## Introduction

Numerous studies have focused on travel behaviour, including travel consumption patterns (Moutinho, 1987), the impact of behaviour on travel intentions (Polzin et al., 2014) and lifestyle (Chen et al., 2009). Kattiyapornpong and Miller (2007) investigated the conventions of travel behaviour based on demographics and personal ecology, whereas Swarbrooke and Horner (2007) elaborated the demographic, psychographic, socio-economic and geographic characteristics of tourists to shed light on the typology of their behaviours as consumers in the household lifecycle (pp. 92–95). Several studies analysed the differences in past experiences and the sources of travel information (Draper, 2016; Nishimura et al., 2006) or the psychological explanations underlying those behaviours (Kock et al., 2018). General discussions on travel behaviour have been subsequently explored in the analyses of the behaviour of the segmented millennial generation, which have implications for destination management (Veiga et al., 2017) and future trends (Ketter, 2020). However, these studies did not specifically underline the differences or similarities of tourist behaviour across generations.

Thus, critical discussion on behavioural differences between Generations Y and Z in the pre-, during and post-travel stages is lacking.

Examining the travel behaviour of Gen Y and Gen Z and the underlying theoretical framework will broaden our understanding of the uniqueness of the current generation (Corbisiero and Ruspini, 2018). Such uniqueness is captured within specific behaviours in the tourism cycle. With a clear understanding of this matter, tourism businesses could potentially offer facilities that are more compatible with the present generation’s expectations.

Previous research on Indonesian travellers have focused on the motivations for international travel (Wijaya et al., 2018) and consumption patterns of millennial tourists (Briliana, 2019). However, little attention has been paid to the variations in the consumption preferences of Gen Y and Gen Z tourists, which should provide a thorough portrayal of their behaviour and enable product development schemes to be tailored to their tastes.

Indonesia represents a globally growing market, contributing 11.7 million cross-border travel (Statista.com, 2022) and recording a growth of 23% in 2019 (United Nations World Tourism Organization, 2022). Hence, it is important to consider Indonesia’s Gen Y and Gen Z as a part of the future world market.

Studying Gen Y and Gen Z travel behaviour is also significant, as both generations represent two-thirds of Indonesia’s population (Badan Pusat Statistik, 2021). They represent a sizable local niche market that will have a significant impact on the Indonesian tourism industry over the next 10–20 years. An in-depth investigation of the characteristics of their travels can uncover new facets of their travel behaviour.

This study focuses on the differences and similarities of travel motives, consumption behaviour in relation to types and sources of information about travel services and travel behaviour in the pre-, during and post-travel stages. The analysis presented here can provide a more comprehensive understanding of the behaviours of both generations in Indonesia.

## Literature review

### Generations Y and Z

A generation is “a group of people with certain attitudes and behaviours in common that are different from other generations” (Kim et al., 2015, p. 278); these differences refer to “a set of historical events and related phenomena […]” (Parry and Urwin, 2011, p. 84). Influences of parents, peers, media, social and economic events and popular culture are accumulated in such a way that they lead to the formation of common life experiences and value systems that set a group of people apart from other generations (Smola and Sutton, 2002).

Experts have yet to reach a consensus regarding the generational boundaries of Generation Y. Dolot (2018) argued that Generation Y refers to people born between 1980 and 1995, whereas some experts limit this generational cohort to those born between 1977 and 1994/1995 (Huang and Petrick, 2010). The boundaries of Generation Z also differ. Turner (2015) specified the time span of people born between 1993 and 2005, whereas other experts specified those born after 1995 (Veiga et al., 2017; Dolot, 2018).

In the latter period, there was a change in global economics and politics and a massive development of information and communication technology (ICT). Historical experience, technological developments, behavioural patterns and attitudes are the differentiating factors of intergenerational characteristics (Dimock, 2019). In this study, members of Gen Y are those born between 1982 and 1996, whereas those of Gen Z are born between 1997 and 2004 (BPS, 2021). Even though both experienced major changes in the external environment and experienced the impact of the generous use of social media (Dimock, 2019), these generations have relatively different behavioural characteristics, including travel behaviour.

Members of Gen Y were still growing up when the use of instant communication technology, such as email, short message service or WhatsApp became popular. They are comfortable with an immediate and practical style of communication and follow less formal, friendlier and more familiar forms of communication (Bolton et al., 2013). When it comes to travelling, Gen Y likes challenging activities and quality experiences.

In contrast, members of Gen Z were born and raised in the world of Internet, smartphones, video games and so on. By being surrounded by the rapid development of advanced technology, their worldview is almost completely shaped by it (Dolot, 2018; Haddouche and Salomone, 2018; Betz, 2019). Parry and Urwin (2011) called Gen Z a good workforce in the digital age. Members of Gen Z prefer social activities, care deeply about the environment and are very interested in voluntourism activities (Cho et al., 2018; Haddouche and Salomone, 2018). They are concerned about widespread global warming issues and energy crises in their lifetimes. Thus, it can be concluded that exposure to information technology and environmental differences experienced from birth is a determining factor in the difference in behaviour of Gen Y and Gen Z. Both factors differentiate their behaviour in all phases of travel.

### Travel motives and behaviour

Pearce and Lee (2005, p. 228) defined travel motives as “the biological and sociocultural forces that drive travel behaviour.” Urges within the self are formed by needs, such as personal pride or happiness that demand to be fulfilled through travel activities (Kruger et al., 2014). Travel motives are strongly influenced by the environment, such as the availability of comprehensive travel information and affordable offers recommended by service providers.

Motives inspire travel and are correlated with travel activities (Crompton, 1979) and different types of tourism activities (Caber and Albayrak, 2016). The push factors include escape, relaxation, enhancing social relations and self-development (Pearce and Lee, 2005). Contrarily, the factors that attract travellers are external resources, such as the natural, cultural and artificial attractions present at a destination (Wong et al., 2013; Lesjak et al., 2015). Other experts claim that the motive to travel varies according to the tourists’ age, income, employment and country of origin (Kara and Mkwizu, 2020).

Richards and Morrill (2020) revealed differences in travel motives among East Asians and Central Americans; among Generations Y and Z of these regions, the motives for relaxation, combined with fulfilling personal challenges, are crucial. However, the travel motives of Generation Z are relatively more specific, namely, escape and the intention to explore popular culture (Robinson and Schänzel, 2019). These differences are also apparent in their travel consumption behaviour (Corbisiero and Ruspini, 2018), wherein Generation Z is more social in terms of concern for the group environment and the community it visits and tends to show friendly attitudes during travel (Haddouche and Salomone, 2018).

This leads to the following hypothetical argument:

H1.

The travel motives of Generation Y differ significantly from those of Generation Z, particularly in terms of seeking personal satisfaction.

Travel behaviour can be defined as decision-making processes during a trip that correlate with choices of travel time, mode, route and destination (Ramirez et al., 2021), as well as preferences for activities and destinations (Barbieri and Sotomayor, 2013). It is affected by feelings, emotions, perceptions, norms, beliefs, intentions and attitudes throughout the journey (Goulias et al., 2019). Further, Dimitriou and AbouElgheit (2019) identified five actions taken by the traveller:

• seeking inspiration;

• social recognition;

• seeking information;

• making a reservation; and

• post-booking evaluation.

This behaviour is generally related to the intensive use of ICT and social media in pre-trip phase and on-trip phase (Silva et al., 2017).

Although both use social media, Gen Z still needs to be accompanied by their seniors (Haddouche and Salomone, 2018) to choose a destination and plan a trip. The next difference is that Gen Y likes to use Facebook for obtaining destination information and sharing travel experiences, whereas Gen Z prefers Instagram and YouTube (Werenowska and Rzepka, 2020).

This leads to the second hypothetical argument (H2), that is:

H2.

The behaviour of seeking travel information differs between Generations Y and Z.

### Behaviour in the various stages of travel

The social world of Generations Y and Z is characterized by the ready availability of the internet. Technology is part of their daily lives and all of their activities are mediated by a screen (Slivar et al., 2019). Therefore, travellers plan their vacations directly as users (e.g. booking a room directly with a hotel) (Robinson and Schänzel, 2019; Kim et al., 2015) or indirectly through online travel agents. In the during-travel phase, travellers often use information about other tourists’ experiences that are easily accessible through online media and free of charge to view (Robinson and Schänzel, 2019). Simultaneously, they share their travel experiences on social media with their friends and relatives (Park and Santos, 2017). In the post-travel stage, travellers engage in various activities that will eventually impact their future behaviour, which includes continuing their journey. Foller-Carroll and Charlebois (2016) showed that travelling with certain motivations, such as voluntourism, is not only done because of the enthusiasm “for doing good” but also to improve one’s self-image and provide a competitive advantage in job searches later.

Previous studies showed that the value of co-creation is formed before tourists travel (Lam et al., 2020). Reviews from previous travellers uploaded on social media or personal blogs are an inspiration for others to travel (Assaker, 2020). For example, 80% of online users plan their vacation online, visit more than 20 websites and spend an average of more than 2 h searching for travel information through social media (Filieri, 2016).

With regard to on-site travel behaviour, previous studies have identified different market segments for different activity bases. For example, Xu et al. (2009) found that Gen Y choose beach destinations and prioritise fun and relaxation. Chinese students consider seeing famous sights and learning about other cultures and history more important, whereas British students consider having fun, socialising and adventure to be more important.

In the post-trip context, Mumuni and Mansour (2014) found that the behaviour of tourists is closely related to the type of activity. Travellers who participate in different types of tourist activities have different intentions in sharing their travel experiences (Bolton, 2020).

This leads to the following hypothetical arguments:

H3.

The behaviour of Generation Y differs from that of Generation Z in the pre-travel stage.

H4.

The behaviour of Generation Y differs from that of Generation Z in terms of the expenditure in the during-travel stage.

H5.

The behaviour of Generation Y differs from that of Generation Z in the post-travel stage.

## Methods

This study targeted members of Generations Y and Z in Indonesia. Generation Y comprises individuals born between 1984 and 1997 (24–37 years), whereas generation Z comprises those born between 1997 and 2005 (17–23 years). This age limit is also used by other researchers in Indonesia (Setiawan et al., 2018) and corresponds to the age category of Gen Z born between 1997 and 2004 (Indonesian Bureau of Statistics, 2021). Ethically, the age limit is appropriate for research because it is classified as dealing with low-risk and even almost no-risk subjects for the study (McNamee et al., 2007). Additionally, respondents are free to answer or not the questionnaire.

A convenience sampling method was used, taking into account availability and the ease of acquiring participants (Taherdoost, 2016; Jager et al., 2017). As they are highly familiar with the internet and social media (IDN Research Institute, 2020), it was possible to contact potential participants at any place and time freely (Jager et al., 2017) through ICT.

Convenience sampling was also used because, firstly, the sample could be reached through the Internet easily, secondly, the population unit was very large and could not be identified entirely (Stratton, 2021) and thirdly, “it is widely used in tourism studies” (Mumuni and Mansour, 2014, p. 243). In total, 843 responses were collected within a period of six weeks (September–October 2020) among which 569 (67.5%) were eligible for further analysis. Because the study used convenience sampling, the number of samples cannot be interpreted as representative of the population.

Items in the closed questionnaires were designed and constructed by adapting from previous studies. The questionnaire consists of four parts. The first part deals with the demographic profile (age group, gender, marital status, education level, employment status and travel frequency) of the respondents. The second part covers pre-travel behaviour, such as travel planning attributes, destination selection criteria, reservation preferences, travel modes and accommodation selection reasons (modified from Assaker, 2020; Filieri, 2016), motives, travel decision-making and the use of social media (adopted from Kara and Mkwizu, 2020; Richards and Morrill, 2020). The third section is related to during behaviour, specifically the types of activities conducted at the destination, sharing experiences and writing reviews on social media, and the allocation of finances during the trip (adapted from Mumuni and Mansour, 2014; Xu et al., 2009). The fourth section is related to post-travel behaviour, which includes preferences for revisiting, willingness to pay (WTP) and volunteer activities (adapted from Mumuni and Mansour, 2014; Su et al., 2020; Slivar et al., 2019).

Travellers’ behaviour was measured using the Likert scale ranging from 1 (strongly disagree) to 5 (strongly agree) to indicate the level of approval of statements related to pre-travel, on-travel and post-travel. The questionnaire was tested on 70 potential test subjects to ensure the clarity of the questions, the completeness of the answers and the response level (Draper, 2016). The validity and reliability of the instrument were also tested (Cronbach’s alpha = 0.702).

The questionnaires were distributed among students and non-students via email at three universities in Jakarta, Yogyakarta Special Region and Bali Island using Google Forms. They were informed of the terms and conditions for filling out the questionnaire as clearly as possible, namely, those who had travelled at least once in the past three years. They were also advised to distribute the questionnaire among colleagues who are within the Gen Y or Gen Z group. The hypotheses were tested using chi-square and t-tests.

## Results

### Social and demographic profiles

Two-thirds of the respondents are female, indicating an increasing proportion of women in the Gen Y and Gen Z tourist markets (IDN Research Institute, 2020). Most of the respondents (88%) are single, which allows them to have more mobility. Nearly two-thirds of the respondents have a higher educational background and the rest are attending school (Table 1). This finding confirms previous results on Indonesian millennial travellers (Briliana, 2019). Overall, 24.8% of the respondents are used. Both generations have ample travel experience and 62% of them have travelled at least three times in the past three years.

### Travel motives

Travel motives play a vital role in shaping behaviour. Mental–psychological–physical relaxation is a relatively dominant motive, although there are slight differences between the two generations.

More than half of Gen Y (51.5%) and Gen Z (53.6%) identify physical and psychological relaxation as their main travel motives, followed by seeking new experiences or self-development (39.9% and 41.2%) (Table 2). Visiting friends and relatives is much smaller and more salient among Gen Y, whereas altruism is insignificant. Both generations consider their daily life surroundings as becoming increasingly rigid and minimizing opportunities to escape from routines. Statistical tests indicate no significant difference between the two generations regarding the two main motives, namely, physical relaxation and seeking new experiences (ρ = 0.361 > 005); hence, H1 is confirmed. This finding supports previous studies arguing that there is no significant difference between Generations Y and Z in terms of travel motives (Srivastava, 2019).

### Differences in searching for travel information

Travel preparation is preceded by searching for information from numerous sources. Digital media serve as the main references for travel information sources for both generations, yet there is a noticeable difference between them. Overall, 55.4% of Generation Y and 65.1% of Generation Z opt for digital media. Sources obtained through word of mouth are slightly smaller (approximately 33.2% and 37.2%, respectively). The smallest portion refers to TV and print media. The statistical outcome regarding differences in the main sources of references for travel information is significant (ρ = 0.025 < 0.05); hence, H2 is confirmed.

### Behavioural differences in the pre-travel stage

Behavioural differences in the pre-travel stage were measured using these variables:

• travel planner;

• the top three criteria for choosing a destination;

• the means for reserving travel services; and

• the attributes of the selected accommodations.

Although most of them are more independent (Gen Z = 42.7%; Gen Y = 41.3%) in planning their travel, the role of a second party (their partner, travel companion or tour operator) remains significant. Chi-Square test results showed that Gen Z prefers to follow travel companions (31.25%), whereas Gen Y prefers to arrange with their partner (34.64%). Chi-square test results show that the difference is statistically significant (ρ = 0.000 < 0.05). In contrast with other studies (Dolot, 2018; Srivastava, 2019), this study shows that compared to their seniors, members of Gen Z tend to heed advice given by their travel companion or tour operator.

In terms of cleanliness, health, security, and the environment (CHSE) as a substantial destination criterion, it was only chosen by 10.8% of Gen Y in comparison to 48.0% of Gen Z. Nevertheless, differences in the order of value for money, quality of attraction and others remain obvious.

Data show that 9.30% of Gen Y and 14.80% of Gen Z selected their destination based on CHSE as the primary factor and attraction quality as secondary. In the subsequent choice, only 1.14% of Gen Y pointed to climate, whereas 0.95% mentioned the value of money as the destination criteria. Meanwhile, the distribution of each criterion in Gen Z is relatively different, which is 4.55% and 1.14%. Chi-square tests confirmed these significant differences, namely, the first-order (ρ = 0.000 < 0.05), second-order (ρ = 0.000 < 0.05) and third-order criteria (ρ = 0.002 < 0.05).

Furthermore, 60.1% of the members of Generation Z use online travel agencies (OTA), such as TripAdvisor, Traveloka, Agoda and Booking.com to reserve travel services, whereas the member for Generation Y amounted to a mere 39.3%. Travel agents are only used by 13.4% of Generation Z and approximately 26% by Generation Y. For Generation Z, direct contact with service providers (airlines, hotels, etc.) or via price finder sites is relatively rare. The chi-square tests reveal a significant difference (ρ = 0.000 < 0.05); hence, H2 cannot be empirically proven. This finding confirms Dimitriou and Abouelgheit’s (2019) statement that the penchant for using various information technology platforms, social media, mobile applications, websites and multi-device usage patterns makes it easier for Gen Z to plan, compare and search for all travel information simultaneously.

Further, the current study specified location, price, ample facilities, CHSE and customer reviews on social media as essential attributes of accommodations; 26.1% of Gen Y and 47.1% of Gen Z specified price as an attribute for selecting accommodations. There is also a difference in the CHSE attribute, wherein 44.4% is afforded to Gen Y and 41.11% to Generation Z. Interestingly, 16.99% of Gen Y still takes consumer ratings on social media into account, particularly when it comes to locations and lodging facilities. Gen Z, on the other hand, does not take these variables into account. This difference was statistically significant (ρ = 0.000) and confirmed H3. For millennials, consideration of accommodation brands is less important as they prefer the most practical and rational things (Dimitriou and AbouElgheit, 2019), such as the availability of the Internet.

### Behavioural differences in the during-travel stage

Both generations choose to engage in different types of activities at their destination. They opt for local cultural attractions as their main travel activities (42.5% and 42.4%), followed by culinary activities (36.6% and 38.9%, respectively); only a small number of them engage in shopping and adventure activities. Seeking new experiences based on local attributes is important for both generations.

Generations Y and Z share their activities and experiences with others online by writing about them directly on their web service provider or by posting reviews on the various social media platforms. The majority of Gen Y (95.4%) and Z (91.6%) share their travel experiences through TripAdvisor, Google Maps, WhatsApp and others.

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## Acknowledgements

The authors thanks to LPDP and the Ministry of Research and Innovation Republic of Indonesia for financing this research through the contract No. 201/E1/PRN/2020 and 4124/UN1.DITLIT/DIT-LIT/PT/2020.

## Corresponding author

Janianton Damanik can be contacted at: antondmk@ugm.ac.id