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Linguistic Divide and Generation Gap – How the Swiss Travel

Hotelplan GroupOctober 25, 2023

The Swiss enthusiasm for travel has not diminished in recent years. This is the outcome of Hotelplan Group's representative market survey on the travel and booking behaviour of Swiss consumers. Differences by language region, age group and household size are particularly noticeable.

The Swiss travel company Hotelplan Group has taken a closer look at how the Swiss travel: a representative online survey conducted among 1113 participants in July 2023 put their travel preferences and booking habits under the microscope.

Linguistic divide in travel budgets
Swiss consumers' appetite for travel is greater than it has been for quite some time. 28% of those surveyed said that they wanted to travel more in the next 12 months than before the outbreak of the pandemic; 38% even want to travel more than last year. Travel enthusiasm is particularly strong in one region: according to the market survey, an above-average number of residents in canton Ticino intend to travel in the next few months.

The Swiss are also spending more money on their holidays: 36% of respondents have increased their spending since the pandemic. There is a noticeable linguistic divide, however: while 11% of respondents in German-speaking Switzerland said they had significantly increased their travel expenditure, the French-speaking Swiss were the most likely to say that their budget had shrunk significantly in comparison to the rest of Switzerland.

Travel agencies ahead of Instagram, Facebook and TikTok
With wanderlust a given and travel budget in place, the question that remains is: where to? Swiss consumers rely mainly on online search engines (51%) as a source of travel information. Other sources include recommendations by acquaintances (32%) and travel agencies (14%). Social media also plays an important role when it comes to travel inspiration, with Instagram (12%) being the most popular platform for holiday research. Facebook and TikTok follow at 7% and 6% respectively.

Travel and accommodation separate or as a package?
Once a destination has been picked, the next question is: package travel or individual service? Most Swiss consumers book their travel and accommodation separately (33%). 27% of respondents book accommodation only and travel to their destination in their own car. 24% prefer the convenience and security of package trips. The latter are particularly popular among the German-speaking Swiss. The French-speaking Swiss, by contrast, often book travel only and stay overnight with acquaintances. Regarding the most important factors when booking travel, there is a linguistic divide when it comes to budget too: alongside the residents of canton Ticino, the French-speaking Swiss are significantly more price-conscious than the German-speaking Swiss, and promotions and discounts are also more important to them. But all Swiss consumers agree on two points: good travel brand reviews (53%) as well as trust and reliability (44%) are important criteria when choosing a travel provider.

Flying returns to pre-pandemic popularity
Travelling by air remains very popular: 41% of those surveyed prefer to travel to their holiday destination by air – the same share as before the pandemic. Travelling by train (35%) or with an own or rental motorhome (21%) is also in demand. 15% opt to travel by long-distance coach. There are however differences between the language regions: travelling by rental car and long-distance coach is more common in French-speaking Switzerland, while motorhome holidays are particularly popular in German-speaking Switzerland.

The key criteria for choosing a means of transport are travel comfort (57%), followed by journey time (43%) and price (37%) – with the French-speaking Swiss rating the latter as more important than journey time. 45% of respondents in French-speaking Switzerland named price as the key factor when choosing a means of transport.

Enjoying resort-style comfort, location and service
When choosing accommodation, the most important criteria are comfort (53%), followed by price (49%) and location (47%). It therefore comes as no surprise that most Swiss holidaymakers like to spend their well-earned break at a hotel or resort (54%). 23% of respondents prefer to stay at a rental (15%) or own holiday apartment (8%). At just 3%, own motorhomes and tents are less popular. The importance of reviews on various rating platforms appears to be marginal: just 22% of respondents cited this as a decision-making factor.

However, there are also variations between the language regions when it comes to choosing accommodation: for the German-speaking Swiss, the price appears to be less important and amenities and service more important than in the other language regions.

Generation gap among travellers
The survey not only reveals differences between the age groups, but also between younger and older consumers. Respondents under 45 years of age are the most bitten by the travel bug, and this means that their wallets have also taken a hit: 45% of the younger generation say their travel spending is higher than before the pandemic. It isn't surprising that Instagram and TikTok are most used by the younger generation to plan their travel – but television, print media, radio and travel brochures are also predominantly popular with under 45-year-olds. When it comes to choosing a means of transport, the generation gap is striking. Older generations prefer to travel by car and are the most likely to forgo air travel. The youngest respondents, by contrast, prefer to get to their dream destination by air.

Solo travel by train, family travel by boat or ship
Solo travellers are the most likely to travel to their destination by train. Families on the other hand prefer to travel by car. Camping holidays and sea voyages are also particularly popular with families. After arriving at their holiday destination, families with children often stay in holiday apartments, as they are considered the most convenient option. Couples mainly opt for hotels and holiday resorts, with amenities and service as the number one decision criteria.

Catering to all requirements
Travel and booking tastes vary depending on the region, age group and household size. Hotelplan Group CEO Laura Meyer says: "That's exactly what we at Hotelplan Group are here for – to tailor travel to individual requirements so that all our customers can enjoy a memorable travel experience."

Bianca Gähweiler

Head of Media Relations

Bianca Gähweiler

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