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

Janianton Damanik (Center for Tourism Studies, Gadjah Mada University, Yogyakarta, Indonesia and Department of Social Development, Gadjah Mada University, Yogyakarta, Indonesia)
Tri Kuntoro Priyambodo (Center for Tourism Studies, Gadjah Mada University, Yogyakarta, Indonesia and Department of Social Development, Gadjah Mada University, Yogyakarta, Indonesia)
Moh Edi Wibowo (Center for Tourism Studies, Gadjah Mada University, Yogyakarta, Indonesia and Department of Social Development, Gadjah Mada University, Yogyakarta, Indonesia)
Putu Diah Sastri Pitanatri (Center for Tourism Studies, Gadjah Mada University, Yogyakarta, Indonesia and Department of Social Development, Gadjah Mada University, Yogyakarta, Indonesia)
Suci Sandi Wachyuni (Center for Tourism Studies, Gadjah Mada University, Yogyakarta, Indonesia and Department of Social Development, Gadjah Mada University, Yogyakarta, Indonesia)

Consumer Behavior in Tourism and Hospitality

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.

Keywords

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.

License

Published by Emerald Publishing Limited. This article is published under the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY 4.0) licence. Anyone may reproduce, distribute, translate and create derivative works of this article (for both commercial and non-commercial purposes), subject to full attribution to the original publication and authors. The full terms of this licence may be seen at http://creativecommons.org/licences/by/4.0/legalcode


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.

In terms of travel expenditure, members of Gen Y tend to have greater expenses than Generation Z. As much as 46.4% of the members of Gen Y spend IDR5.5m (approximately US$407.41) [1] on one trip, compared to only 23.6% of the members of Gen Z. The members of Gen Y, with lower expenses (<IDR 1.5m), spend as much as 26.1%, whereas nearly half (49.5%) of Gen Z are included in this category. This is reasonable, as the members of Gen Y are commonly employed and have their own incomes in comparison to Gen Z, whose members are still attending school or university. Here, the cost allocation differs significantly (ρ = 0.000 < 0.05).

Though the largest portion of expenses goes towards transportation, the distribution differs between the generations. For nearly 46% of Gen Y and about 34% of Gen Z, transportation costs account for the largest share of travel expenses. The large proportion of spending on transportation costs is related to the habit of using vehicles instead of walking. Expenditure on accommodation is the second largest at 22.87% for Gen Y and 20.4% for Gen Z. Gen Z appears to be more adaptable to the simple accommodation compared to Gen Y. The difference in spending behaviour between two generations is significant (ρ = 0.018 < 0.05). Hence, H4 is statistically confirmed.

Behavioural differences in the post-travel stage

This study examined whether the two young generational cohorts exhibit behavioural differences in terms of their WTP and volunteering in the post-travel stage. Willingness to pay and volunteering are behavioural expressions manifested after having gone through diverse experiences at a destination.

Table 2 shows that Gen Y has a higher WTP than Gen Z if the destination provides a unique experience for them. In general, none of their behaviours accentuates voluntourism; both of these young generations behave pragmatically. However, members of Gen Y are slightly more responsive than Gen Z (total mean value = 3.55, against 3.35). The t-test significance level indicates a value of 0.000 < 0.05, which denotes a significant difference between the post-travel behaviour of both generations. Accordingly, H5 is supported. Members of Gen Y have more responsive post-travel behaviour than Gen Z in terms of WTP and volunteering.

It is very important for Gen Y and Gen Z to build, to some extent, unique personal experiences through a range of journeys where they can discover new experiences and even themselves. For this reason, they are eager to explore, interact and experience events that are different from their routine (Ketter, 2020).

Discussion

Gen Y and Gen Z are societal segments that maintain a better level of life stability compared to other generations. Looking for something different or escaping from the pressures of the daily environment is the way to maintain comfort; this serves as a significant reason to travel for these generations (Richards and Morrill, 2020; Ketter, 2020; Carty, 2019). The stereotype of Indonesian millennials is being self-referencing. Rather than referring to guidance given by their seniors, “they are happy to be who they are” or “always try to be happy with themselves” (IDN Research Institute, 2020, p. 3). The two generations have similarly strong characters in this case.

The behaviour of Gen Y differs from that of Gen Z in terms of consuming travel information. Although they are both travellers with open minds, the tech savvy and digital native attributes are more salient among members of Gen Z than their seniors, including all travel details. Their main sources of travel information are mostly accessible online, for example, OTA websites (Kim et al., 2015). They are more accustomed to using social media platforms to fulfil their need for travel information compared to the more selective members of Gen Y.

In spite of their common trait of referring to digital media information, members of Gen Z are far more pronounced than their seniors. Searching for travel information is not only conducted using one or two digital media platforms, but nearly every social media platform available to acquire more accurate travel information. They constantly access such media more intensively to learn about details on prices and types of attractions and to get more beneficial value for their money. Accessing various digital media platforms also enables them to get recommendations from their generational peers (Bernardi, 2018).

This reliance on OTAs has implications for local business owners’ readiness to digitally market their service businesses. Indonesian travellers, who have been very comfortable with conventional travel agents for decades, now have distinct preferences. Hence, digitalisation of all elements of the tourism product chain is essential. The quality of tourist service information on social media platforms also needs to be continuously improved. Both generations are very sensitive to the accuracy of each service available.

This study also found differences in pre-travel behaviour based on the criteria of CHSE quality and price. Members of Gen Z are relatively more price-sensitive in terms of accommodation costs because of their financial dependence on their parents, whereas their adaptation to low service quality correlates with a more open, pragmatic attitude towards viewing differences in their surrounding environment (Cilliers, 2017; Robinson and Schänzel, 2019). In contrast, given that the members of Gen Y have relatively more travel experience and financial independence, they critically evaluate the service quality and consider it to be a top criterion.

As both generations are driven by the desire to escape from their daily routines, they look for different things and local attributes attached to a destination during travel. Cultural attractions, such as the performing arts and iconic historical sites as well as culinary endeavours, are their favoured activities for finding unique experiences (Veiga et al., 2017). Owing to their unbroken connectivity to digital media, the members of Gen Y easily share their travel experiences with others. Meanwhile, the members of Gen Z value travel experiences even more than material possessions and share them online for public recognition (Gentina, 2020).

Behaviour in the post-travel stage, which relates to volunteering and WTP at a destination, is motivated by the attitude to travel experience. Such prosocial behaviour is not spontaneously developed at a destination; instead, it starts in the travel planning phase. A trip is planned to gain additional benefits for oneself and others. A strong motive to achieve satisfactory results – such as opportunities for in-field learning, career development (Cho et al., 2018), or simply the desire to experience new things – has a substantial influence on one’s volunteering behaviour.

These findings provide a correction to prior studies that asserted that Gen Y and Gen Z shared similar consumption patterns (Corbisiero and Ruspini, 2018). The parallels and variances in their behaviour at each point of the journey have been thoroughly examined in this study. For instance, there is a similarity in travel behaviour, specifically in terms of the experiences sought and the behaviour when sharing experiences online. However, there are considerable differences in other areas.

Conclusion

This study explains the differences between Generations Y and Z in terms of travel motives, consumption behaviour concerning the types and sources of information on travel services and travel behaviour in the pre-, during and post-travel stages. The theoretical implication of this research is that it strengthens the foundations of assumptions about the relationship of generational differences with differences in behavioural preferences for travel consumption, particularly between Gen Y and Gen Z, which are frequently considered the same (Kiatkajornvirat and Jin, 2021). Meanwhile, the study demonstrated the distinctions between the two generations and provided insights into how products and promotions should be tailored to their preferences.

The similarities between the two generations in terms of travel motives have implications for improving the capacity and quality of travel services in fulfilling their need for escapism and high-value experiences. Travel service providers should be more precise in developing niche travel products, particularly those capable of offering unique experiences to younger generations. The unique products should then be promoted and marketed entirely through digital media as both generations are very closely connected to it.

The assumption that both generations’ travel consumption behaviour is uniform needs to be revisited. In addition to their use of social media and diverse types of travel services, there are differences throughout every stage (pre-, during and post-) of travel. In general, CHSE quality is an absolute condition when choosing a destination, yet for Generation Z, for example, cost is a more pressing issue. These different pre-travel behaviours should be set as the basis for classifying products that meet the CHSE quality and the price standard, respectively. The behavioural differences between the two generations throughout these stages are strong indications that travel consumption behaviour will create new trends (Haddouche and Salomone, 2018; Ketter, 2020) and unique changes in the future. This study offers important information for understanding the significant differences in behaviour patterns in the travel phases between the two generations. This will have broad implications for adaptive policies to provide the appropriate travel services with the largest market share in the future. This study has practical implications as the results of this study can be used by stakeholders to adjust products and promotions according to market characteristics. Service providers, destination managers and decision makers should devise appropriate anticipatory strategies to capture these behavioural differences, which will in turn enable the tourism industry to reap the benefits of the travel aspirations of these two cohorts that will continue to dominate.

This research also has certain limitations. This study used a small sample size with a convenience sampling method. Besides, the study was conducted under two extremely different situations, namely, before and during the COVID-19 pandemic. This greatly affects the differences in travel behaviour because of restrictions on spatial mobility. However, they are not captured in the study. In addition, behavioural differences based on types of work and gender were not explored. Therefore, further research must investigate the differences in their pre-, on- and post-trip behaviour with respect to these changing social and environmental variables and a larger sample size. Such investigations will benefit tourism marketers in responding to the needs of both generations in the future.

Participants’ socio-demographic profiles (N = 569)

Socio-demographic profiles n (%)
Age group (years):
▪ 17–23 153 26.9
▪ 24–37 416 73.1
Sex:
▪ Female 382 67.1
▪ Male 183 32.2
▪ Not stated 4 0.7
Marital status:
▪ Married 67 11.8
▪ Unmarried 502 88.2
Education:
▪ </=High school 196 34.4
▪ Higher education 373 65.6
Type of employment
▪ Currently employed 141 24.8
▪ Currently unemployed 38 6.7
▪ Attending school/university 390 68.5
Travel frequency (in the past 3 years)
▪ 1 85 14.9
▪ 2 63 11.1
▪ 3 68 12.0
▪ >3 times 353 62.0

Source: Researchers’ calculations

Post-travel behavioural differences

Items Gen Y Gen Z
Mean Std Mean Std
Willingness to pay Pay more at better destinations 3.25 0.654 2.97 0.830
Higher tariffs at unique destinations 3.04 0.810 2.75 1.009
Visitors are not responsible for conservation 3.04 0.952 2.66 1.123
Volunteering Engage in social activities at the destination 3.28 0.782 3.19 0.719
Volunteering to find meaning in life 3.15 0.817 3.20 0.755
Volunteering makes me feel useful 2.00 0.000 2.00 0.000
Total 3.55 0.4852 3.35 0.4975

Source: Researchers’ calculations

Note

1.

As of December 2019, the exchange rate for US$1 is equal to IDR13,500.00.

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Further reading

Li, G., Wu, D.C., Zhou, M. and Liu, A. (2019), “The combination of interval forecasts in tourism”, Annals of Tourism Research, Vol. 75, pp. 363-378.

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

About the authors

Janianton Damanik is based at the Center for Tourism Studies, Gadjah Mada University, Yogyakarta, Indonesia and Department of Social Development, Gadjah Mada University, Yogyakarta, Indonesia

Tri Kuntoro Priyambodo is based at the Center for Tourism Studies, Gadjah Mada University, Yogyakarta, Indonesia and Postgraduate Tourism Studies, Gadjah Mada University, Yogyakarta, Indonesia

Moh Edi Wibowo is based at the Department of Mathematics, Gadjah Mada University, Yogyakarta, Indonesia

Putu Diah Sastri Pitanatri is based at the Postgraduate Tourism Studies, Gadjah Mada University, Yogyakarta, Indonesia and Department of Hospitality, Bali Tourism Polytechnic, Bali, Indonesia

Suci Sandi Wachyuni is based at the Postgraduate Tourism Studies, Gadjah Mada University, Yogyakarta and Sahid Polytechnic, Jakarta, Indonesia

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