2019 Predictions — The Digital Native

Part 1 of my predictions was all about the birth of new socializing and how we find reasons to create our own second life and escape the reality as we know it even if it just for a few minutes. This post though will focus on something closer to our hearts: hospitality.

Digital Natives_2Gen Z — The Digital Native will rise and shine

If we used one word so much that it makes us cringe by now it must be Millennials. I cannot hear it anymore (honestly) and the funny thing is everyone became a Millennial all of a sudden and it wasn’t about “being born” in a certain year anymore — no it “became a mindset”.

But why should we care so much about generational differences in hospitality? Well, because we are impacted in three ways:

  1. We employ different generations and therefore need to know what makes them tick
  2. We have them as our guests and therefore need to know what they expect
  3. We will have younger generations set future trends we need to prepare for (to succeed)

Next question: What are some of the characteristics we are currently dealing with?

Baby Boomers: Born 1946–1964 (aka the flower kids)

Post war babies that drove radical change in the world. They are considered hard working and excellent mentors for younger generations. The saw the world before technology mayhem and started revolutions of their own. It is said that they do like a bit of hierarchy, discipline and rules. They are the generation that has ideals and also the first two-income household generation buying a lot of the assets we live in. A lot of us call those guys Mom and Dad!

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Generation X: Born 1965–1980 (aka the lost, sandwich or MTV Generation)

Being one of them I have to say I favor the MTV aspect. We rocked out to Nirvana, got hooked on “Gameboys”, saw the very first episode of Pokemon and had non-smart phones that entertained us with a round of Snake or Tetris. A generation whose worldview is based on change and value of work-life balance. Chances are both our parents were working and we grew up having to take care of ourselves and see independence as a big thing.

Millennials: Born 1981–1996 (aka the Me Me Me Generation or Peter Pan Generation)

Sophisticated, technology wise, immune to most traditional marketing and sales pitches, they’ve seen it all and been exposed to it a lot since early childhood. They tend to delay adulthood (Peter Pan), have a “sharing economy” streak in them and are health conscious. Less loyal and seeing the world as a 24/7 place they want gratification now, fast paced and multi-tasking. Yet they are also impatient, want fast career growth and are perceived to not have the work ethics of previous generations.

Generation Z: Born 1995–2012 (aka The Digital Natives)

They have never known a world without computers and cell phones. Their age now spans from pre-schoolers to teenagers and they are digital integrators, having integrated technology seamlessly into their lives, and having used it from the youngest age.

Gen Z are natural entrepreneurs, always switched on, always connected. They favour realist outlooks and use technology to solve problems. A life without social media didn’t exist.

This generation will change the way we work by not seeing a need to be tied down to a desk — because of their ease with technology they demand friction-less, mobility and will only stay in jobs as long as they can add value (chances are they will see work the way we look at projects now).

What does this mean for us now?

It means we are in for a really good ride. Those guys are now coming into the workforce in full swing. Coming to a hotel and seeing old tech, “accepting” once a day updates or disparate systems is a no go for them. Not only will they be faster and more data driven, but because of their use of tech they will drive a much needed tech (r)evolution in hospitality — they will not compromise with slow, old and legacy systems — “IF” you need an upgrade will never be a question.

I believe that in the future we will look back and see this generation as THE generation that took hospitality to one of the leading industries when it comes to technology.

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