As of now, Baby Boomers are still the biggest spenders in tourism. However, Gen Z is catching up and will continue to do so as they start or advance in their career. How is the “new generation” shaping the hospitality industry, and how are businesses reacting to satisfy all generations?
Gen Z is an important target group that increasingly forces the hospitality industry to change and adapt. In 2019, Gen Z surpassed Millennials in number, accounting for 32% of the global population, and thus developed a persistent influence on trends in the industry.
Current travel trends display a rise in virtual tourism and AI, with digital tools such as smart rooms, online booking, and virtual assistants becoming increasingly popular among Gen Z. Another prominent travel trend among Gen Z is “silent travel”, i.e., avoiding human interaction. This goes hand in hand with digitalization, with mobile technology enhancing or even replacing conventional in-person services and pushing companies to adapt rapidly.
Gen Z is also continuously aware of sustainability and carefully assesses the environmental impact, including the CO2 footprint, sustainable packaging, and local suppliers. The growing importance of sustainability calls for more inclusive tourism, including the acceptance of guide dogs and accessible infrastructures.
“By recognizing the importance of mindsets and leveraging technology, we can create a travel experience that appeals to all generations,” Kimberly Yoong, EHL Hospitality Business School Alumna, Associate Hotel Financing at Aareal Bank AG.
To cater to all generations’ needs, brands need to adjust their strategy: The goal should be targeting mindsets instead of generations. Multigenerational travel with overlapping interests is rising. Nowadays, everybody prefers ultra-fast check-in. Targeting mindsets holds the benefit of avoiding alienating whole generations and increases customer lifetime.