Student travels: luxury meets travel experience

Young travellers are a profitable segment which keeps on growing. Younger generations, in particular millennials, are looking for experiences while travelling, as we have already reported.

A more specific segment is represented by students. According to Student Marketing, the youth, student and educational travels are expected to reach 25% of the global tourism market in the following years, and its current value is about € 190 billion.

Despite their young age, young travellers usually can take longer stays and some of them can afford higher expenses. They usually prefer backpack travels, but, at the same time, they want comfortable services at a convenient price. In fact, students are following the luxury trend demand, requiring high-quality services both for their long-term stays and for their globetrotter activities.

This segment uses Internet for reference, social sharing (reviews, rankings, advice) and travel planning, rather than to finalise bookings. This reveals a strategic role of tour operators and travel agencies for this market, as they represent an important booking and promotional channel, accounting for up to 80% of all bookings.

Source: Student Marketing

There are several types of products marketed to youth travellers, including school trips, student leisure travels and youth travel accommodation. Experience is queen: hostels are no longer only cheap facilities for short stays, but real meeting points of cultural exchange.

Currently, a lot of structures are being designed specifically for them. A perfect example is given by The Student Hotel, based in the Netherlands but which is now expanding in several European destinations. This type of accommodation combines luxury long-term stays services with facilities for the globetrotters, mixing the hostel concept with college accommodation.

There are also specific OTAs focused on students, such as Student Universe. Its website allows only 18-26 y.o. users to book different, convenient options of flights, accommodation, tours and group travel. The British STA Travel combines the research of cheap flights and accommodation with the research of discount cards, insurances and tours. Student.com is focused on accommodation, and offers cheap solutions located near universities in over 400 cities worldwide. Also DMO websites, such as Visit Britain, offer products designed for students, for example students discounts cards.

At Twissen we observed that young people and student travellers are following the trends of the luxury and experiential tourism, and new products are being developed specifically for them. Millennials is the word that describes this target and there is a growing attention from all the sectors of the Travel & Tourism industry. Travel agencies are developing new strategies to meet this demand as their role in the supply chain is still considered relevant.