While millennials still form a prominent part of the hospitality customer base, Generation Z is set to rule it in the near future (if not already). As noted by a recent report, 65% of the ”go-getter” generation ranked ”travel and seeing the world” as the most important way to spend their money.
If this isn’t enough of a clue, the hotel and hospitality industry is now required to model around the demands of Gen Z explorers and their need for raw, authentic and digital experiences.
This new cohort of travellers is active on social media, spends their money differently and has its own vision of exploring the world. This has inevitably caused a stir in the hospitality industry, which is now being forced to reshape its ways to meet the quirks and traits of this indomitable spirit, aka Gen Z.
As known by most, Generation Z vouches for experiences over material goods. They are constantly seeking out enrichment — be it via food, cultural immersion or adventure, as also noted in a study by Eventbrite. This trend of experience-driven travel has profoundly impacted how the F&B, hospitality and tourism industries operate.
Similarly, Gen Z is also seeking digitally robust guest experiences. Think of technologically enabled bookings and takeout, multi-channel guest feedback forums, and more. To incorporate this, the hospitality sector is now reinventing itself with more authentic and digitally-driven services.
For a generation that has been born and raised in the era of the internet, travel is only worth it when first experienced online. Before venturing out either to a restaurant or a holiday destination, Gen Z will verify how the experience fits in terms of the ”vibe”. This has called for hospitality folks to up their digital presence and strategise their activity on social media platforms ranging from Instagram, Snapchat, Facebook, and even Twitter.
Further, it is no longer sufficient to have a web presence but to also provide an immersive ”social media first” experience to Gen Z travellers.
While the previous generations have been careless about the environment, Gen Z surely isn’t. They are constantly looking for ways to protect and nurture their surroundings as well as experiences that are raw, natural and carbon neutral.
A report by Skift research also pointed out that 54% of the young Gen Z travellers are willing to pay higher rates/fares to a travel service provider that is more environmentally responsible. For hotels, this means providing experiences that assimilate with the surroundings without causing harm. On the other hand, food chains are required to offer vegan, plant-based and sustainable options on their menus.
While Gen Z travellers have a larger spending appetite, the hospitality industry is required to pull up its sleeves and incorporate their demands into reality. In the near future, they may need to focus their efforts on digital innovation, social media marketing and environmental sustainability to achieve higher success rates.