As the hospitality industry evolves, staying ahead of the curve is crucial for sustainable success. Axsia HTL’s Director of Hotels, Daniella Tonetto, recently took the stage at the HICAP ANZ event to explore emerging trends and opportunities.
Daniella led an insightful panel discussion featuring luminaries from the field that delved into the intriguing topic of Gen Z travel trends and young people’s influence on the hotel industry.
This increasingly mobile and discerning demographic is reshaping the travel landscape. They seek immersive experiences that connect them with their destinations. Culture, art, wellness, and sustainability are paramount to this generation, making it essential for hotels to cater to their evolving preferences.
So, what exactly are the emerging trends dominating the Gen Z population, and how can hospitality leaders keep up to not only accommodate them but exceed their expectations? Let’s look at some key points and how we can all stay ‘on trend’ in the competitive hotel industry.
Gen Z Travel Preferences
Gen Z, born between 1997 and 2012, is already making a significant impact on the tourism industry as the newest generation of travellers. This tech-savvy generation, having grown up with technology from a young age, has unique preferences and behaviours that hoteliers must consider in order to cater to their needs and develop loyalty.
Understanding Gen Z’s travel preferences is crucial for hotels to stay relevant and thrive in the evolving travel landscape.
Gen Z, as digital natives, embraces technology throughout all stages of their travel journey. They’re smart and adaptable, relying on mobile devices and social media for travel inspiration, research, booking, and cancellations or modifications.
Hotels must provide a seamless digital experience, with mobile-friendly websites, easy online bookings, and personalised interactions through social media platforms. Think along the lines of:
- Digital check-in and check-out
- Premium online booking services
- Online guest portals
- Hotel apps
- QR codes on-site for things like room service, contest entries, and hotel amenities information
- Quality interactive websites
- Active presence on social media
Safety and Security
According to the European Travel Commission (ETC), safety and security rank high on Gen Z’s list of priorities when choosing a travel destination.
Hotels can cater to this preference by emphasising their safety measures, implementing contactless check-ins, and showcasing their commitment to maintaining a secure environment.
Gen Z travellers are not just looking for a vacation; they want immersive experiences that allow them to connect with local culture, gastronomy, and traditions.
Hotels can offer unique local experiences within their premises, such as hosting cultural events, collaborating with local artists, or providing local food and drink options.
If that’s not feasible, try promoting or partnering with local businesses through digital spaces. Cross-posting on social platforms and housing deals or initiatives on your hotel’s website can go a long way in swaying a potential Gen Z guest to book.
Sustainability and Transparency
Gen Z is a generation that cares deeply about sustainability, ethical practices, and authentic experiences. They seek brands that are transparent, truthful, and socially responsible.
Hotels can demonstrate their commitment to sustainable practices by implementing eco-friendly initiatives, promoting local engagement, and sharing their sustainability efforts.
Personalised and Authentic Content
Gen Z travellers heavily rely on peer reviews, travel review sites, official tourism websites, and social media for travel inspiration and itinerary planning.
Hotels should focus on creating engaging and authentic content that showcases their unique offerings, such as local partnerships, personalised experiences, and immersive activities.
Finally, and possibly most important to generate efficiencies that attract a younger traveller, prioritising your hotel’s mobile-friendliness is key. Gen Z has a strong preference for mobile booking and expects a seamless mobile experience from hotels[^1].
Hotels need to offer mobile-friendly websites with easy navigation, fast-loading pages, and booking options optimised for smartphone use. Implementing a reliable mobile booking system is crucial to capture and retain Gen Z customers.
Credit: The Hotel Conversation
Staying on Hotel Trends
Staying on the pulse of these evolving trends is key to attracting and retaining guests, especially the tech-savvy, socially conscious Gen Z. However, Daniella states the path to success lies in balancing innovation with product durability and sustainability.
On discussion during the HICAP ANZ panel were several key methods that hotels can employ to stay on trend and remain competitive in the market. Here’s what Daniella and the speakers highlighted:
Balancing Innovation and Lifecycle
While innovation is essential, it must be grounded in a strategic approach that ensures a healthy and profitable lifecycle.
Cutting-edge technology, such as concierge robots and digital room keys, can boost efficiency and reduce environmental impact when adopted effectively.
However, gaining buy-in and understanding across the entire hotel team is essential to harness the full benefits of these advancements.
Tech’s Role in Hotel Efficiency
The hotel industry must recognise that technology isn’t merely a gimmick but a powerful tool that can optimise productivity and guest experience while alleviating labour shortages.
Hotel-wide awareness and comprehension of technology’s advantages for both guests and staff are crucial to success.
Alongside implementing the digital tools we spoke about above, such as digital (or contactless) check-in and online guest portals, think about investing in some high-quality Customer Experience technology (CET).
This kind of software provides hotels and management teams with a wealth of important data in a much more streamlined, automated system, saving time and enabling you to improve the guest experience based on customer preferences.
Sustainability in Hospitality
Sustainability is no longer an option; it’s a necessity, especially among Gen Z travellers. Sustainability should seamlessly integrate into the guest experience, going beyond superficial gestures.
This might be a good time to look at your property asset management and strategy. Is there room for improvement in the sustainability space? Think about on-site water tanks, solar panels, and eco-friendly in-room toiletries.
Meeting Modern Guest Expectations
To meet the expectations of contemporary guests, the industry must embrace a holistic approach that unites culture, technology, sustainability, and remarkable guest experiences.
Having a good customer experience strategy and management system in place also helps to boost loyalty and return bookings, a very fruitful opportunity when considering the many years of travel ahead for Gen Z.
Get the Hospitality Edge With Axsia HTL
The future of the hotel industry is a captivating blend of culture, technology, sustainability, and unforgettable guest experiences, and Axsia HTL stands at the forefront, guiding the industry toward this promising future.
To embark on your journey of embracing these trends, enhancing your property’s value, and ensuring a sustainable and innovative hotel experience, reach out to Axsia HTL. Let our expert team assist you with your hotel investment and asset management ventures, shaping the future of hospitality together.
Your success begins with a conversation—contact us today to get started.