Let me Let me tell you about my journey as a Gen Z in the hospitality industry.
It all started with a simple summer job in a family owned combined restaurant and café. The main responsible were the three millennial siblings and the rest of the staff was either millennials’ of Gen Zers. I had incredibly fun, the business were good and we constantly came up with new solutions’ and smart ideas to make out working life more efficient. When I two year after graduation got a job in a large hotel I truly saw how important it is to have Gen Z in the hospitality industry. Out of almost 90 employees in the front office, we were probably around 75% Gen Z. It was clear that we were the ones who’d always be up for a challenge, never wanted to be idle and showed most engagement overall. I was employed for 13 months and over this short time my Gen Z colleagues and me managed to make a lot of good changes and I even managed to get a promotion to Supervisor. We implemented efficient solutions for storage and document handlings as well as a digital language register of the staff, which was for situations when our guest only spoke a foreign language.
Traditionalists, Boomers, Generation X and Millennials’ all have something in common. They like to make assumptions on how Gen Z is, what we think, our abilities and inabilities. If there’s one thing that they’re completely right by assuming, that’d be that we’re entrepreneurs. Throughout my professional experience in the hospitality industry, it has been without doubt my own generation who has been the most impactful. We make sure to inspire each other and boost one another to take chances and challenge ourselves. Since we have everything from teen environmentalists lite Greta Thunberg, internet personalities like James Charles, geniuses being invited to The Ellen Show, influencers and actors like Millie Bobby Brown (who plays Eleven in Stranger Things) and entrepreneurs like Ryan who at 6-years-old started his YouTube account RyanToysReview, Gen Z is very aware of the world around us.
The need to embrace our human qualities, similarities and differences will be a deal-breaker if companies are looking to survive the technological upspring we’re facing within the industry’s’ future. Thanks to social media, Gen Z is very aware of other people and can recognize behaviors through what we’ve learnt through our channels. We are very analytic while spontaneous and open minded. Environments where everyone’s opinion is welcomed and all peers are equal is ideal. These values will only become more important in the future hospitality industry. I think that Gen Z is exactly what the hospitality industry needs, especially in these times. Just look at Greta Thunberg who is currently only 16 years old, but has managed to make the whole world aware of her vision and willing to change. It’s these types of personalities what Gen Z has, which will create true change.
From all available articles online and the talk that was been going on for a while now about Gen Z, there’s an obvious skepticism towards us. Some argues that we are lazy, but I say efficient. Others think that we never log off – I say we´re constantly updated and ready to communicate. And some even call us selfish, when we actually just take our life in our own hands. Yes, I do and see things differently from my parents and grandparents, but doesn’t everyone? What I think will make the greatest difference for the future is that we will raise the coming generations with future orientated beliefs. A foundation built on principles of free speech, sexual orientation and expression, environmental awareness, mindfulness, self-confides and equal value for each and every human regardless gender, skin color, disability, nationality, body size, sexual orientation or any other feature. I believe that we should start embracing Gen Z in the hospitality industry even more. The hotels that acknowledge this will have a great competitive advantage. The amount we can contribute to corporations is just something you cannot miss out on. Gen Z is very aware of this and is eager to start our careers. By bringing something unique to each situation, I trust that what I’ve experienced so far in the hospitality industry reflects reality spot-on. I believe in a brighter future, partially because I have to, but also because I know my generation.
Gen Z is exactly what the hospitality industry needs. As my colleague Mr Kiros Zhang points out, we’ll bring creativity, courage, flexible thinking and acting. We not only take things to a new level, but we bring them back to the past as well. Authenticity through sustainability, the less-is-more concept and even taking a few steps back in order to more forward. We value the real and pure over the fake and plastic versions. Without these traits I believe that the industry will struggle to maintain its luxurious and well-appreciated aura in the very uncertain but technological future.
Thank you for reading my blog post. I hope I brought some light to how my generation and I act in the hospitality industry. Feel free to share the article with friends to raise more awareness.
Author: Ms. Klara Bergerud, Hospitality Bachelor Student at Hotel Institute Montreux (HIM), from Sweden.