April 3, 2023
The hospitality industry has been supporting the needs and demands of millennials for years. With the addition of Gen Z travelers, it’s time for hoteliers to begin adapting their hotel amenities, services, and features to also support Gen Z guests.
Here are the characteristics of Gen Z and the top three hospitality marketing ideas to attract them to your hotel in 2023 and beyond.
Characteristics of Gen Z Travelers
Gen Z consists of anyone born between 1997 to 2012 and are considered “digital natives” — those who are most accustomed to and prefer online booking and shopping. As a result, Gen Z researches brands thoroughly before making a booking decision.
Gen Z travelers are also very adamant about traveling to multiple locations and exploring the world. They are attracted to once-in-a-lifetime experiences and will look for hotels that provide more than just a room.
This generation also:
- Likes to separate business and relaxation, compared to other generations who prefer “bleisure” travel
- Expects hotels to support sustainable tourism, regenerative travel, and eco-friendly room options
- Loves to interact through digital channels, such as social media
To weave these characteristics into your hotel marketing strategy, here are the best ways you can attract this generation to your hotel.
How to Attract Gen Z Travelers
1. Show Experiences Through a Strong Digital Presence
Since Gen Z is heavily acclimated to the digital world, they seek to balance out their busy lives by traveling and experiencing new adventures. Two ways Gen Z explores new areas are by trying local food and sharing their experiences through photos, sometimes at the same time. As a result, it’s important to highlight the right experiences for attracting this generation to your hotel.
Here’s how you can build a strong digital presence through your social media and website to adapt your hospitality marketing strategy to Gen Z travelers.
A recent study discovered that 35% of Gen Z have new food experiences near the top of their priority list. Additionally, the same study showed that 90% of Gen Z do extensive research of the restaurants they visit and the foods they eat.
To reach this generation across digital channels, you can:
- Provide packages and deals that encourage your travelers to dine at local restaurants
- Offer relevant deals and discounts to travelers based on their historical data, such as past purchases, interests, or activities
- Promote amenities that your guests will love to encourage them to share on social media — this serves as an organic way to engage with your online followers and meet your guest expectations
Gen Z looks for new and exclusive local experiences, and that includes immersing themselves in the local cuisine. Consider partnering with local food vendors to connect the regional culture to the guest experience.
Gen Z enjoys different experiences that are photo-worthy so they can share their adventures on social media. In addition to providing a beautiful, photogenic atmosphere at your hotel, you can promote local tours or vendors across your digital channels to encourage visual engagement.
Additionally, to blend their experiences with your digital presence, ask your guests to share their photos and videos on your social media channels to spark engagement. Consider highlighting the top pictures and videos from your travelers for organic content that showcases your hotel and further encourages your followers to interact with your brand on social media platforms.
2. Create a Mobile-first Strategy
Adopting a mobile-friendly digital presence is important for a hospitality marketing strategy, and Gen Z is a driving reason for that. Since this generation was born with Google and smartphones available, they’re not only comfortable with booking online, but they prefer to.
Gen Z also prefers user-friendly websites that allow them to research with ease. That’s why creating an intuitive website that houses an Internet Booking Engine (IBE) can help move Gen Z visitors along the buyer's journey.
An IBE directs online traffic from OTAs to your website, improving direct bookings and upsell opportunities. When Gen Z visits your website directly, they can research your amenities, reviews/testimonials, products, services, and more. You can use this opportunity to highlight discounts, offers, room upgrade options, group deals, and additional services to maximize your upsell opportunities.
3. Highlight Eco-friendly Travel Options
Gen Z generally seeks out hotels that offer eco-friendly options, services, and activities. Sustainable tourism and regenerative travel practices can help create a cleaner environment and attract more Gen Z travelers.
Sustainable tourism involves modifying hotel operations and amenities to support a clean environment. Some ways you can accomplish this are:
- Cutting down on resource waste, such as water and electricity
- Supporting a paperless experience for guests
- Reducing or eliminating use of plastic
While sustainable tourism supports adopting eco-friendly operations and practices to not harm the ecosystem, regenerative travel emphasizes restoring the ecosystem to a better condition than what it is currently.
Gen Z doesn’t just expect hotels to have green amenities and operations, they are also seeking out green activities to regenerate the environment, creating a better place than before they arrived at your hotel.
Modernize Your Hospitality Marketing Strategy for Gen Z Travelers
Gen Z travelers enjoy engaging with technology, and they demand good service and hassle-free experiences from the hotels they visit. From the moment they start the booking process to the end of their stay, they want to be able to connect from any device, at any time.
To meet these demands, it is crucial to use technologies for an updated hospitality marketing experience that will turn all generations of travelers into loyal repeat guests.
Learn more about the latest generational travel trends and how to seamlessly connect with your guests through hospitality technology in our Hospitality Technology guide.