Yet, with the rise of travel communities forming on TikTok amongst Gen-Z, it comes as no surprise that this trend has extended further into solo travel. It’s been reported that searches for single-traveller flights are 36% higher for 2023 than in 2022, with a survey finding that pre-pandemic only 14% of travellers were planning a solo trip, a figure which has since doubled for 2023.
How much of this shift can be attributed to social media? It was found that when planning a break, 1 in 2 people said that social media influences where they travel next. When this is combined with the statistic that TikTok's largest age group is between the ages of 18 and 24 - it’s no wonder travel brands are focusing their attention on TikTok when targeting Gen-Z.
Our focus group was unanimous on how they search for content: TikTok and Instagram first, then Google. The reason? Although you can edit videos on social media, the UGC feels authentic, with our focus group stating that it gives the impression that they’re seeing the “full version” of a destination and not an airbrushed, idealised image. With the influx of travel content on social media constantly updating, solo travellers are able to get an up-to-date sense of the destination.
Solo trips come with increased risk! Our focus group agreed that their first step in assessing safety is to look up tagged videos of the location or accommodation they are planning on visiting. So what is important in this initial search? Finding relatable content created by authentic creators, with the phrase “safety in numbers” being used by a member of the focus group to describe the importance of seeing multiple videos about a destination and their unique experiences. Travelling by yourself can be daunting! So, after checking the destination out on social media, Gen-Z’s next step is to turn to Google, vetting the information with various other review sites.
A common consensus amongst the group was that solo travel is frequently the most cost-effective way to see the world, with many stating that they would sift through flight comparison websites to find the best deals.
In terms of the booking process, the focus group was divided. Some liked to book trips months in advance to get the best deals, and others sought out last-minute deals. Yet, one thing was clear - they all agreed that social media is making solo travel easier, with travel influencers guiding the way.
We’ve all seen examples of where a TikTok “hidden gem” turns into a tourist hotspot overnight!
This was a common discussion point amongst our focus group, who stated that they liked seeing video content of places off the beaten track as it was a glimpse into the authentic destination and not the tourist cliches they would see within a Google search.
When looking to target Gen-Z, it’s all about striking the balance between authentic content and storytelling.
… Our favourite quote from the focus group?
"Social media has made the world feel a lot smaller..."