Home #WHERETONEXT How Celebrities & Influencers are Shaping Travel Choices

How Celebrities & Influencers are Shaping Travel Choices

Amid ever-shifting travel preferences, recent findings point to a “Taylor Swift Effect” on vacation planning choices, signalling the powerful role of celebrities, icons and digital influencers in shaping the travel desires of a younger demographic.  Flight Centre Travel Group (FCTG) unveils new YouGov data*, revealing how ‘travelebrities’, content creators and celebrities known for their jet-setting lifestyle, influence real-world travel decisions for 41% of ‘Zillennials’—a combined cohort of 4,000 Gen Z and Millennials from Australia, Canada, New Zealand, South Africa, and the U.K. Despite this digital influence, 55% of the demographic remain cautiously inspired, acknowledging that authentic travel experiences often differ from curated online images.

The data reveals a fresh Canadian perspective: an impressive 69% of Canadians are more likely than those from Australia (56%), South Africa (51%), and New Zealand (50%) to say that ‘travelebrities’ provide some inspiration for their travel aspirations, albeit cautiously. 

While younger Canadians are drawn to visually impressive ‘scenecation’ getaways, 71% agree that ‘travelebrities’ contribute to over-hyped expectations, making it challenging to appreciate simple and meaningful travel moments, with a quarter (25%) strongly agreeing. Even so, 65% express interest in destinations that promise picture-perfect ‘scenecations’, indicative of the persistent allure of Instagram-worthy travel. 

The YouGov data highlights travellers are often influenced by their preferred ‘scenecation’ backdrops (i.e., vacations driven by beautiful scenes or picture-perfect snapshots): sun kissed destinations with golden beaches and crystal waters are top priority for 61% of respondents, followed by mountain paradises enveloped in fresh air (60%), and lush, tranquil forests where every shade of green soothes the soul (53%). Canadian women are more likely than men to say that a sun-kissed destination (68% compared to 53%) or a journey of the open seas (40% compared to 31%) are ‘scenecation’ experiences they’d most like to explore. 

“Today’s travel influencers are more than digital creators, they impact travel decisions,” explains Chadd Andre, executive vice president for Flight Centre Canada. “Yet, our findings suggest there’s more to a journey than ‘likes’ and follows; travellers are engaging with the true essence of a destination—its culture (33%), its connection (32%), its community (31%).” 
Andre encourages using social media influencers as initial ideas to spark wanderlust, then consulting with travel experts to personalize a journey that blends Instagrammable moments with meaningful encounters. 

After all, younger Canadians are packing their bags again, but with a different purpose: cost savings and exclusive deals (86%), destination variety and uniqueness (74%), and personalization and customization (57%) are the most important factors when planning a vacation.