Our EVP, Atle Skalleberg recently weighed in on student travel trends and deals on FOX News. As the authority on individual student travel we were happy to discuss some of the trends as we see them.
See the student travel video.
Student Travel Trends
- World wide travel – We are talking about a generation that has grown up with airline deregulation, discount airlines, global airline alliances and treaties that make flying between countries easier. This Facebook generation thinks of the world as their playground and they are not afraid to go further than their parents did. They have credit cards and they book online in minutes – what used to be a big deal is now easy.
- “Meaningful” travel has grown fast – Universities, students and parents are getting behind study abroad. More and more students want the language skills as well as international experience on their resumes. Several independent surveys show it makes it a lot easier to get a good job. Volunteering and teaching abroad is also something we see more of.
- Almost recession proof – Students have to travel. To and from school, for their semester abroad or the spring break trip they are not willing to give up. Student travel has been a very resilient market during the economic downturn, with travel among 16- to 29-year-olds dropping a scant 0.3% from 2008 to 2009, according to a study by the World Youth Student & Educational Travel Confederation. StudentUniverse continued to grow rapidly during the recession.
What We Expect Going Forward
- More international students – Travel from emerging economies will continue to boom. Chinese and India will lead, but also Brazil and other Latin American countries. U.S. students connecting with other cultures helps drive the appetite for international travel.
- Social travel and increased mobility – 98% of our users have a Facebook account. Most of them check it multiple times per day. Social media connects users and content in a way we have never seen before. It makes it easier, faster, safer and less expensive to travel. Over the next five years we expect students to be early adaptors of new social/mobile travel solutions. (examples: staying with social network friends, finding information, getting advice, sharing stories, connecting real time, etc).
- Continued globalization and change in expectations – As the world gets “smaller” students will expect international travel to be part of their education. More universities will make it mandatory. Employers will prefer candidates with global experience.