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In a recent article on skift.com, Deanna Ting outlines how hotel chains and hospitality brands are already diverting some of their attention and efforts to the next generation of decision makers. Generation Z as it is called, is the generation born after 1995.
Generation Z – especially in first world economies – will be the first generation growing up with internet access as a public utility, a basic necessity if you will. Conversely, the online presence and availability of brands, services and products will be taken for granted even more than it is for the current generation(s) of consumers. Where millennials may occasionally still marvel at – for example – the digital room key that Starwood and Hilton introduced in 2015 (‘Wow, unlocking my hotel room with my phone?’), Generation Z will presumably only marvel at its absence (‘Seriously? No digital key?’).
Right now, the top tier of generation Z is on the verge of becoming financially independent. With the global economy slowly but surely regaining its footing, it is safe to assume that a significant portion of them will not just be independent but affluent by the time they are the decision makers on their leisure expenditure, be it for themselves or their household. Moreover, as Ting points out, the Z members are already making themselves heard and count, if not as decision makers, then certainly as decision influencers.
It will be more than interesting to see how things will develop in the years to come; not just from the standpoint of consumers and end-of-the-chain suppliers but also intermediary links in the chain. No matter how digital a key is, it still needs to make its way from hotel to guest. That requires a technical platform, interface redesign, standardization across the chain… Booking channels and property managers and those that support them – like NextPax – will have to keep up.
We can’t wait.
NB This is a viewpoint by Folkert Postma, VP Global Partnerships of NextPax.