Gen Z, a new generation of travelers, is hitting the road
When it comes to young people, we’ve reached the end of the alphabet. Yes, Generation Z has come along, right when we were just decoding the elusive and late-blooming Millennials.
First of all, let’s establish the parameters of Gen Z as those born between 1995 to 2012, meaning they will begin graduating from college this spring. Secondly, let’s establish why – from a business standpoint, if for no other reason – we should care about this cohort: They number 73 million in the United States alone, which is quite a demographic and financial force. Finally, let’s establish their predilections. According to generational analysts, members of Gen Z are independent, focused and fiercely competitive.
These sound like people we wouldn’t want to disappoint, which is why we also pay attention to travel analysts who have discovered that, when it comes to hotel amenities, Generation Z wants it all – including authentic experiences personalized to them, convenience, technology and accommodations suitable to their lifestyle, though not ostentatious. Think in terms of hotel designs with concrete tile and soft upholstery.
Interestingly, Gen Z members are multitaskers drawn to working and socializing in the public or common areas of a hotel, while settling for smaller guestrooms.
“Really, all they want is a room to go lay down, sleep, shower and then go back down to the lobby and/or go out and experience the town and the city,” Marjorie Feltus Hawkins, owner and principal at FH Design, told Sky, the Delta Airlines in-flight magazine. “… They’re more in-tune to not purchasing, but experiencing food and the local culture.”
But, before drawing too many firm conclusions, it’s important to note that Michael Lawless, associate designer at Wilson Associates, has found that Gen Z is a cohort still coming to terms with its sensibilities.
“It’s a generation that’s so young and it’s still defining its voice right now and hasn’t necessarily become the main target market for the hotels that we’re designing right now,” Lawless told hotelnewsnow.com. “However, they most certainly will be the main target in the coming years, and I think at that stage they will have a more defined voice, and defined needs and wants that we would then be tailoring toward.”
Whatever Generation Z decides with regard to their travel and lodging priorities, we are staying attuned and are prepared to deliver for Gen Z, as well as their predecessor generations. This is one of the reasons we have made a practice of inviting your feedback at the end of each blog post. Whether you’re a young Gen Z’er or a more seasoned traveler, we are interested in your observations and opinions on this and all travel- and lodging-related issues. Just click here and let us know what you think.
Written by Mike Consol