Canadian Gen Z & Millennial Travellers Go Abroad for Outdoor Exploration and Bucket List Experiences

Expedia Media Solutions Unveils New Data on Canadian Travel Shopping Behaviours Across Generations

BELLEVUE, WA, October 23, 2017 – New Canadian generational data released today by Expedia® Media Solutions, the advertising arm of the Expedia group, found that Gen Z and Millennials focus on crossing off their bucket list and embrace the ‘you only live once’ (#YOLO) mentality, while Baby Boomers enjoy worry-free, all-inclusive resorts and cruises. The findings, from a survey conducted by Northstar Research Partners, showcase broad travel trends in the Canadian market, including the motivations, preferences and attitudes of travellers across four generations: Generation Z, Millennials, Generation X and Baby Boomers.

Most Canadian travellers are deciding between two or more destinations when planning a vacation, and visiting family, relaxing at the beach or on a cruise, and sight-seeing are the most popular trip types. Value is of the utmost importance to all generations, and deals help guide their decision-making process. More than 90 percent of all generations said they look for deals before making a decision, and more than 50 percent said ads can be influential in their planning process.

“Interestingly, we saw a lot of similarities among the generations of Canadian travellers than we did in other countries, which is good news for marketers looking to attract this audience,” said Wendy Olson Killion, Global Senior Director at Expedia Media Solutions. “Marketers can efficiently reach a broader Canadian audience by highlighting activities and price through appealing imagery and deals, which are important to all generations. This research provides informative insights on traveller preferences and behaviour to help marketers optimize and successfully reach Canadians.”

Gen Z Visit Family, Sightsee, and Prefer Outdoor Exploration

Gen Z travels 21 days a year[i], and although they have a budget in mind when planning a trip, they are the most open-minded when it comes to destination inspiration. They rely on search engines and online travel agencies (OTAs) for planning and booking, prioritize activities and once in a lifetime experiences, and rank highest in the #YOLO mindset (81 percent) and going places where they can explore the outdoors and be active (84 percent).

  • Only one-third of Gen Z travellers have a destination in mind when they first decide to take a trip, and before deciding, at least 80 percent read reviews of places they want to visit or talk to people who have been. Thirty percent said ads with helpful reviews can influence their decision.
  • Visiting family is the most popular trip type (52 percent), followed by relaxing (47 percent) and sightseeing trips (42 percent). At 25 percent, Gen Z is more likely than other generations to travel for special events, like concerts or sports.
  • Gen Z is the generation most likely to be influenced by social media (82 percent); nearly 55 percent said Facebook and Instagram can influence or inspire their decisions, while 23 percent turn to Pinterest, and 18 percent to Snapchat.
  • Gen Z is more likely than other generations to use their smartphone throughout all phases, from inspiration (58 percent) to booking (21 percent) to in-trip (82 percent).

Destination Indecisive Millennials Prioritize Activities and Price

Millennials travel 26 days a year and they prefer to explore international destinations, as they are most likely to travel beyond their borders (65 percent). Tackling their bucket list, #YOLO experiences and finding off the beaten path locations are important to Millennials, but they also look to fill their itinerary with museums, historical sites, arts and culture more than other generations (71 percent).

  • For 71 percent of Millennials, air travel is the preferred means of transportation, and of all the generations, they are least likely to travel by car.
  • Millennials are the most destination indecisive: 60 percent are deciding between two or more destinations, signaling they may have destination overload or are ambitious travellers, with a lot of destinations on their bucket list.
  • More than 44 percent of Millennials travel to visit family, relax and sightsee, and 25 percent take family play trips.
  • Fifty-seven percent of Millennials said Facebook influences or inspires their decision-making process, but 30 percent said they aren’t influenced by social media.

Gen X Likes Consistency: They Are the Most Likely Generation to Drive to a Destination and Choose Hotel Stays

Gen X travels 21 days a year, chooses hotel stays more than any other generation, and are most likely to travel by car. More than 50 percent turn to OTAs for planning and booking, and they prioritize activities, deals and the lowest price when booking a trip.

  • More than half (55 percent) of Gen X are deciding between two or more destinations and more than 53 percent look to OTAs to plan, and book their trip.
  • Sixty percent of Gen X stay at a hotel and 35 percent travel by car. For more than 42 percent of Gen X, visiting family, relaxing and sightseeing are the top trip types, and 25 percent take family play trips.
  • Interestingly, 73 percent of Gen X embrace #YOLO and agree that crossing things off their bucket list is imperative, and nearly 70 percent prefer to fill their travel itinerary with museums, historical sites, arts and culture.
  • More than 80 percent of Gen X said informative content from destinations or travel brands can be influential and 85 percent read reviews before making a final decision.

Baby Boomers Are Decisive, Less Budget Conscious and Not Influenced by Social Media

Compared to other generations, Baby Boomers travel the most (28 days a year) and nearly 50 percent have already decided on a destination when they decide to take a trip. They are more likely to take an international getaway than stay within their own borders and are also quite adventurous once they get to their destination. Boomers are less likely than other generations to stay with family or friends, but are more likely to stay in a resort.

  • Boomers do it for the activities – next to deals, their priority is exploration. Over 70 percent will go anywhere that allows them to explore the outdoors and be active, and 62 percent opt for recommendations from locals and “off the beaten path” locations.
  • Sixty-five percent of Boomers said they are not influenced by social media and more than 95 percent rely on a computer (versus a smartphone) throughout the research and booking process. Once they arrive in a destination, however, 46 percent use their smartphone.
  • More than 50 percent of Boomers plan and book on an OTA, but when compared to other generations, they are more likely to book via an airline, hotel or car rental site.
  • More than 40 percent of Boomers said ads with helpful reviews can be influential in their decision-making process, while 58 percent said they can be influenced by ads with informative content.

More Multi-Generational Marketing Insights

For more findings and insights that marketers can leverage to better reach, engage and convert Canadian travellers, and to view the full study, please visit:

About Expedia Media Solutions

Expedia Media Solutions, the advertising arm of the Expedia group, offers industry expertise and digital marketing solutions that allow brands to reach, engage and influence its qualified audience of travelers around the world. Through its vast network of leading travel brands and global points of sale, Expedia Media Solutions provides partners with proprietary data-driven insights about traveler behaviors during every stage of the purchase journey, along with dynamic advertising solutions, to deliver strategic campaigns and measurable results. For more information, visit

About the Expedia group

The Expedia group (NASDAQ: EXPE) is the world’s largest online travel company, with an extensive brand portfolio that includes leading online travel brands, such as:

  •®, a leading full-service online travel brand with localized sites in 33 countries
  •®, a leading global lodging expert operating 89 localized websites in 41 languages with its award winning® Rewards loyalty program
  • Expedia® Affiliate Network (EAN), a global B2B brand that powers the hotel business of hundreds of leading airlines, travel agencies, loyalty and corporate travel companies plus several top consumer brands through its API and template solutions
  • trivago®, a leading online hotel search platform with sites in 55 countries worldwide
  • HomeAway®, a global online marketplace for the vacation rental industry, which also includes the Abritel™, FeWo-direkt™ and® brands, among others
  • Orbitz® and CheapTickets®, leading U.S. travel websites, as well as ebookers®, a full-service travel brand with websites in seven European countries
  • Travelocity®, a leading online travel brand in the U.S. and Canada delivering customer service when and where our customers need it with the Customer First Guarantee
  • Hotwire®, inspiring spontaneous travel through Hot Rate® deals
  • Expedia® Media Solutions, the advertising sales division of the Expedia group that builds creative media partnerships and enables brand advertisers to target a highly-qualified audience of travel consumers
  •™, a premier online car rental booking company with localized sites in 13 countries
  • Classic Vacations®, a top luxury travel specialist
  • Expedia Local Expert®, a provider of online and in-market concierge services, activities, experiences and ground transportation in over a thousand destinations worldwide
  • Expedia® CruiseShipCenters®, a provider of exceptional value and expert advice for travellers booking cruises and vacations through its network of over 235 retail travel agency franchises across North America
  • SilverRail Technologies, Inc., a global rail retail and distribution platform connecting rail carriers and suppliers to both online and offline travel distributors

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[i] Total travel days are estimates based on the calculation of Total Number of Trips Taken Per Year multiplied by Last Vacation Duration in Days