After countless articles on millennials and how to work with and market to them most effectively, another cohort is just beginning to enter the workplace. According to Deloitte’s eighth annual Global Millennial Survey, Millennials and Gen Z are no longer the future workforces. They are the present, making up more than 40% of Australia’s working population. In one of her articles, Wavemaker Strategy Manager Rebecca Drummond explains how young Australians have a commitment-free attitude and are challenging institutions by redefining the meaning of “forever” to “for longer”. “Naturally, this right-now mindset is influencing the way brands and products are going to market to reach this generation – we’re seeing a rise in “unlocked” with leave anytime plans, try a bit of everything passes, and need it now services,” she writes. For marketers, this means we need to ensure the context in which we reach this audience is reflective and relevant for their “now”.In the meetings and events industry, few members of Gen Z are likely to hold senior-level planning positions — yet. But it’s likely that hotel professionals and event staffs will be interacting with members of this group. Even in entry-level positions, Gen Z planners can be charged with finding, evaluating, and booking spaces for events ranging from large, multinational corporate conventions to weddings — and everything in between.
They’re different than previous generations — there’s no doubt about that, according to experts. But how do those differences translate into communication habits and preferences that the hospitality industry needs to be aware of? Here’s a look at some of the unique characteristics of those in Gen Z and how those differences may come into play as you interact with young planners.
They’re New to the World of Work
Gen Z planners you may be dealing with are relatively new to the workplace. Therefore, they’re perhaps not as savvy as the planners from other generations with whom you usually work. According to Associate Professor Jo Coldwell-Neilson from Deakin University’s Faculty of Science, Engineering and Built Environment, their cohort is community-oriented, entrepreneurial, open-minded and industrious. Since the older cohort of Gen Z is just starting to graduate university, their workplace behaviour – as a general statement – remains largely unknown. But Associate Professor Jo Coldwell-Neilson says, “Early signs show they’re highly adaptable people”.This means that even though they might feel at home communicating and collaborating across digital channels, generally, they are independent workers rather than team-players. The bottom line: Take nothing for granted with this group.
For hoteliers new to the field — and even those who are seasoned pros — asking for feedback and input from potential clients can be a good way to gain knowledge and build networks. Being interested and curious about the issues that are most important to your clients and potential clients will pay big dividends. Start with the 2019 Cvent Planner Sourcing Report for insights on planner pain points and processes.
They value Experiences
When it comes to interacting with a business, Millennials and Gen Z consumers are looking for more personalised experiences that are meaningful to them. According to The RealityBytes report that surveyed over 1,000 Australians aged between 14-59 to learn about the online habits of the different generations, gen Z is willing to trade data for more personalised experiences online. Brands can leverage this personal data to offer a more customised experience.
Above all, planners expect to partner with venues to create customised experiences and leverage technology for a great onsite experience, according to the Cvent Planner Sourcing Report.
Keep in mind that while gen z and millennials are willing to share personal information with a brand in exchange for a more personalised experience, it does not mean that privacy does not matter to them. Deloitte’s survey found that only 14 per cent of gen z and millennials strongly agree that the benefits of technology outweigh the risks associated with sharing personal data, and 79 per cent are concerned they’ll be victims of online fraud. It is important that you also consider strategies to protect customer privacy in order to foster trust and transparency.
They’re Affluent with All Things Tech
One of the quickest ways to lose touch with the Gen Z crowd is to eschew technology in favour of other forms of communication. They’re the true digital natives, having grown up in an environment of all tech, all the time. Because they’re so attuned to technology, it will likely be top of mind when they’re thinking about the best ways to engage their audiences. In addition, this generation is even more comfortable than others using tools such as Skype, Google Hangouts, and chat to connect with others. Unlike their older colleagues, they’re more likely to choose these tools over email. “The workplace will end up being more collaborative and more communicative across the digital channels,” says Associate Professor Jo Coldwell-Neilson.
They’re Looking for Speed and Efficiency
With the rise of global connectivity, Millennials and Gen Z consumers are accustomed to speed, efficiency, accessibility, and community. Therefore, it is important to consider if your business is offering experiences that deliver these benefits and solve customer pains at every touchpoint. Our planner sourcing report also highlighted that Today’s multi-tasking planner prioritises speed, efficiency and professionalism. They expect speed and thoroughness when engaging with venues; the absence of these can limit a venue’s opportunity to be considered for an event. Thus, hoteliers need to be visible, responsive, and precise during the RFP process. Knowing how these young planners differ from millennials can help you build relationships and engage with them in a manner that helps win more MICE business.