For many years, there has been plenty of hospitality industry media coverage about how to best cater to the Millennial traveler through innovation and more. We have learned that this demographic seeks out unique experiences, prefers a communal atmosphere in hotel lobbies, and wants to use technology to be best connected to brands.
But now, just as we have begun to fully understand the Millennial traveler, another emerging generation is beginning to capture the attention of larger hospitality providers. Generation Z, also known as Post-Millennials, the iGeneration, Plurals or the Homeland Generation, has come on the scene. But the good news is they are very similar to Millennials.
This demographic has completely grown up on technology, and many believe seek more security, since they grew up during the Great Recession.
According to a recent Hotel News Now article, these guests are looking for an authentic experience that “feels like it is high quality without feeling pretentious.” In addition, a 2015 study about Generation Z showed that 77 percent of them feel that it’s important for brands to reach out to them with offers, promotions, and messaging.
These insights show that hotels will need to continue building authenticity into the DNA of their brands. This will include everything from creative content marketing to appeal to this generation, as well as developing programs that are truly “experienced-based.”
In fact, Marriott’s Innovation Lab in Charlotte, North Carolina, was developed with Generation Z in mind. Designed as a testing ground for new products and services, this program found that while baby boomers expected consistency at any Marriott hotel around the world, the next generations are more interested in unique, culturally specific experiences.
By taking a page from Marriott, hoteliers have the opportunity to gain long-term guest loyalty from this demographic. It will involve many of the same strategies for appealing to Millennials – just with more of a focus on innovation and experiences.