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Younger travelers are planning more, even turning to travel agents

It's become evident that younger travelers — Gen Z and Millennials — are putting more thought into their travel planning as they look for deals and are traveling farther for experiences and events.

American Express Travel President Audrey Hendley joins Yahoo Finance Live to share her observations on travel bookings as younger generations even seek out more traditional means for their adventuring, such as turning to travel agencies.

"Like everything else, the role of the travel agent has been modernized. These customers are going to travel agents because... it kind of ties with their desire to go further and to have more... bigger expedition types of trips," Hendley explains. "They're typically more expensive and they're further away. So they're turning to travel agents to get more insights, plan a little better, and really think about the experience they want to have when they get to the destination."

For more expert insight and the latest market action, click here to watch this full episode of Yahoo Finance Live.

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Editor's note: This article was written by Luke Carberry Mogan.

Video transcript

JULIE HYMAN: Gen Z and millennials are becoming airport dads. That's what a new survey from Amex Travel is looking like. Many younger travelers meticulously planning trips to make sure they make the most out of every dollar. Here to help us break down the latest travel trends, Amex Travel President Audrey Hendley. Audrey, thanks for being here. So what sort of stood out to you from this study? Is it that, you know, these folks are spending sort of more time and more care in planning their travel?

AUDREY HENDLEY: So a few things that stood out, particularly because we're really watching the trends with millennials and Gen Z's. They're the up and coming travelers, and they're very ambitious about traveling the world. We heard that they're using travel agents. They have all these travel hacks that they use to get themselves around the world. They're traveling for sporting events. And there's a lot of them actually traveling solo around the world.

JOSH LIPTON: And Audrey, I'm curious. When we talk about millennial and Gen Z, you-- you've got a lot of data and insight. They are-- Are they now traveling more than boomers? And if so, are you kind of adjusting your products and services to cater to that?

AUDREY HENDLEY: Yeah. We continue to adjust our travel. For American Express, we acquire a significant number of new customers that are millennials and Gen Zs. So we've done all kinds of things. Like change the experience in our travel airport lounges. We've continued to modify the hotels we work with and the destinations that we serve. And it's an iterative process, as you can imagine. We've been in the travel business for over 100 years. So it's a lot of innovation. It's a lot of talking to customers. And as you say, a lot of looking at a lot of data.

JULIE HYMAN: Another number that surprised me is that 58% of millennial and Gen Z respondents want a travel agent or a trusted advisor to help them book their trip. Now my grandma was a travel agent. I-- I-- The-- You know, I think of like a travel agent, you go into the office. There's the posters of the different places that you visit, which I imagine is not really what a travel agent looks like now. So can you help us explain, like, who these people are turning to for this help?

AUDREY HENDLEY: Yeah. Well, we have thousands of experts around the world. And you're right that, like everything else, the role of the travel agent has been modernized. And these customers are going to travel agents because they want their-- It kind of ties with their desire to go further and to have a more like bigger expedition types of trips. They're typically more expensive, and they're further away. So they're turning to travel agents to, you know, get more insights, to plan a little better, and really think about the experience they want to have when they get to the destination. So travel agents have changed in what they do, but they still add a tremendous amount of value, particularly on those bigger and more expensive trips.

JOSH LIPTON: And Audrey, you know, you all there at American Express, you've been helping people travel around the world for a long time. I'm just interested. When you-- When you look at the trends right now and the data, Audrey, is travel, you know, generally, is it about as strong as you expected right now?

AUDREY HENDLEY: Yeah. Demand continues to be very strong. And we're seeing a lot of difference, though, in terms of where-- what people want to do when they get to the destination. They're being a little bit more spontaneous. They're not going by the list as much as they used to. And they're trying to figure out itineraries that create like longer memories because they're going further away. The trips are getting more expensive. And they're really being intentional about where they go on their vacation.

JULIE HYMAN: Audrey, thank you so much. Really appreciate it. Going into the weekend with travel on the mind. Appreciate it.

AUDREY HENDLEY: Thank you.