Those operating in the hospitality sector have a battle on their hands to connect with the next generation of customers. New technologies and trends are constantly emerging, making it difficult for hospitality businesses to stay up-to-date with the latest developments and changes in consumer preferences.
While it's widely accepted that one key way for hospitality businesses to keep up with the next generation of consumers is by investing in new technologies to cater to this digital-savvy cohort, research has revealed that many of the assumptions and stereotypes attached to today's young consumers simply aren't correct.
Principally, the assumption is that today's teenagers want to do everything online. However, less than half of teenagers surveyed in recent research studies agreed that hanging out with people online was as good as meeting up in person – dispelling this common myth.
So what does this discovery, along with other new pieces of research, tell hospitality businesses about how they can appeal to their next generation of consumers?
Hospitality Establishments Need to Sell Experiences, Not Products and Services
Generation Z and younger members of the Millennial Generation are the principal drivers behind the "experience economy." They don't want to buy and consume "things." Instead, they want to create memories and experience something new. They want to enjoy activities that can't be mass-produced with their friends, family, or colleagues.
Thus, hospitality venues will need to work hard on creating unique experiences that attract young audiences to their establishments. For instance, a fast-casual restaurant could consider hosting regular events such as open mic nights, life coaching workshops, or comedy performances to make their venue more appealing to younger generations.
Also, keep in mind the social aspect of these experiences. The next generation doesn't want to take in these experiences alone. Instead, they prefer to do things with their friends and family. So hospitality businesses will need to think about how they can incorporate social elements into their experiences.
Leveraging Social Media is More Important Than Ever Before
Creating the experiential entertainment mentioned above is vital to hospitality venues because the next generation loves to share these experiences on social media. Most of this generation use social media to seek out new experiences, and if you're not providing an avenue for your consumers to create valuable user-generated content, then you run the risk of being left behind by those that do.
Remember, the majority of Generation Zers (77%) and Millennials (79%) use social media multiple times a day, meaning this marketing channel is increasingly likely to become the first touchpoint a consumer has with your business.
Thus, having a Facebook account (Facebook’s popularity is declining with younger generations, with only 36% of Generation Zers using Facebook at least once a week) with the odd post every now and again is not going to cut it. You need an active online presence on multiple platforms, including those attracting younger audiences, such as TikTok.
Thought will need to be taken over creating innovative hashtag strategies, user-generated content campaigns, and partnering with influential content creators who can do a great deal of the heavy lifting for you.
Contactless is King, Not Cash
Cashless payments are a must to attract the next generation of hospitality consumers.
This generation has grown up in a world of online banking, contactless payments, and apps such as Apple Pay and Google Pay. Cash is seen as unhygienic and inconvenient, so you must take steps to address these payment preferences through investments in new payment technologies.
According to data produced by our EPOS systems, universities processed 11m in debit card or credit card payments compared to a mere 400k in cash transactions between September 2020 and July 2021, demonstrating just how strong the trend towards contactless payments is.
Loyalty Programs That Work For Them
According to research carried out by Accenture, 95% of millennial respondents in the U.S., U.K., Germany, France, Sweden, Japan, China, and Brazil said that they want the brands they shop with to engage with them in a way that benefits them, such as sending them coupons.
With almost 60% of teens saying they will be more likely to make a purchase if an offer or discount is tailored to them specifically, it's apparent that hospitality brands will need to develop systems to closely monitor and track consumer spending in order to send them highly personalised and relevant loyalty rewards. In other words, they want brands and businesses to understand their unique needs and subsequently tailor their marketing and loyalty rewards to meet those needs.
To achieve this outcome, hospitality businesses will need to invest in new technologies and data analytics tools to better understand their consumers and develop a more sophisticated understanding of what millennial and Generation Z consumers actually want from their loyalty rewards.
Contact MCR Systems Today To Learn More About Catering for the Next Generation
It's clear that hospitality businesses need to do more than ever before in order to keep up with the needs and demands of the next generation of hospitality consumers.
From investment into new cashless payment technologies to developing a more coherent social media presence, hospitality businesses will need to make several changes to remain relevant and appealing to this new target market.
But with proper support from hospitality technology experts such as MCR Systems, your business can do just that. From closed-loop cashless apps to cutting-edge analytics-driven loyalty programs, our solutions can help hospitality establishments of all shapes and sizes to stay ahead of the curve and keep up with the next generation.
For more information about how our hospitality technology solutions can help your business stay ahead of the competition, contact our team today on 0116 299 7000 or email email@example.com. We'll be happy to discuss your specific needs and requirements and provide you with tailored recommendations to help your hospitality business thrive.