IN THE FIELD WITH DAVID ESSERYK-Part 24/ Generation z discover your future customers

THE “INSIDE LINE” ON WHAT’S HOT IN HOSPITALITY TECHNOLOGIES

While the elders of Generation Z turn 21 this year (born after 1995), members of this age boom are only starting to show their economic and social influence. The first true “digital natives” of our times, members of this generation have grown up with technology within their reach since birth and instant gratification with the click of a “like.”

Following are some key points to keep in mind…

THEME #1 WHERE AM I?

Gen Z is particularly keen to explore their temporary community through the lens of a local perspective, taking in the signature experiences of whatever region they’re visiting. While boutique hotels and the Airbnb mind-set understand the importance of localised experiences, it forces larger chains to break their homogenous environment. That means finding a balance between a demand for variety and a need for brand consistency. Take dining, for instance. Rather than pitting a generic hotel restaurant against a burgeoning local culinary scene, a local chef might set up a permanent restaurant inside a hotel, bringing in local flavours. Down the hallway, a local business owner runs a wine bar, allowing guests to sample and shop for regional wines on the spot. And in lieu of the franchised Starbucks, and an independent cafe in the lobby encourages guests to mingle with other visitors.

(…) WHEN GEN Z SETTLES INTO THEIR TECH- EQUIPPED HOTEL BED FOR THE NIGHT, THEIR ZEST FOR TRAVEL IS FUELLED BY EXPERIENCES MORE THAN PRODUCTS

THEME#2 COMMUNAL EXPERIENCES

Millennials appreciate places like the gym or the cafe as social hubs. Guests can sign up for boutique studio classes taught by local instructors, inviting people to connect through group fitness. Or they can opt for in-room exercise by streaming tness videos from celebrity trainers. The same independent cafe and surrounding lounge spaces are also designed with human-centric connectivity in mind: comfy chairs and casual nooks where people can work, relax or mingle with fellow travellers.

THEME #3 HIGH TOUCH AND HI-TECH

Technology plays a big part in the overall customer journey, but it’s more than just offering guests free Wi-Fi and integrated USB ports. The advancement of the Internet of Things (IoT) means smart TVs, digital room keys, and robot butlers are contributing to new-age hotel services. And mobile messaging apps like Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp, and custom mobile loyalty programs make it easier for brands to build seamless travel experiences.

At the end of the day, when Gen Z settles into their tech-equipped hotel bed for the night, their zest for travel is fuelled by experiences more than products.

For this generation, it’s apparent they rely on thoughtful products or services to facilitate meaningful experiences, proving that the integration of the two worlds is now more important than ever.