- Ricardo de Rooij
Gen Z is the Best in Hospitality
Updated: Mar 26, 2021
Generation Z in hospitality, a phrase that frequently receives a negative connotation due to its first half. “Gen Z”, a term that is frowned upon, especially through the eyes of the preceding generations, and defined as those born in 1995, 2009 or any year in between that are glued to their screens, and have fragile hearts made of glass. As a member of Generation Z, I would argue on the contrary: Gen Z is the best!
While it is true that generally all Generation Z’ers have a wireless technological device in their homes other than a smartphone, or at Hotel Institute Montreux, on their desks in class, my peers and I can resist temptation when it is inappropriate to be mentally absent such as in class, during meals at school or at important events. Not everyone from Generation Z had a phone or tablet in their hands the moment they set foot in this world. For example, at the time of writing this article, I am 20 years old, and I recall spending my first 10 years or so playing games in the outdoors rather than video games indoors. A child can only become addicted if their parent(s) or guardian(s) allow it, as they tend to finance the first handheld device that their child uses. However, we must also consider the positive implications of Gen Z being as tech savvy as it is, as this can help Generation Z in hospitality. Just like every other industry, as time has advanced, the hospitality industry has become more technologically advanced, and employers take technological experience for granted when recruiting new staff members, but Generation Z needs little to no training in technology, which saves valuable time and money.
The second reason that Gen Z is the best is that they are more social than previous generations due to their experience with social networks, they have less conversations that go in more depth, and they are more connected than their predecessors. Social Media is all around us in the 21st century, with an emphasis on Instagram lately, and this shows in the number of social networks that all serve a distinct purpose. These services are platforms for shared media that hotels or other hospitality companies can use to their advantage to advertise their brand, and Generation Z people are the most qualified to be employed for e-commerce, as social media is essentially in their blood. When it comes to being connected, I talk to friends and family over text on WhatsApp on a daily basis just to ask them how they are doing, whereas my father tends to only reach out to people when he needs them.
Even though freedom of speech is still far from perfect, human kind is steering itself in the right direction, and thus those in my generation are practically free to express themselves. Do not be misguided though, as being able to express oneself is something that also has to come from within, as not everyone is comfortable with sharing their feelings and thoughts, luckily Gen Z is not afraid, so they will be sure to speak their mind when there is something wrong with their room or if a guest is being extremely offensive.
If there are two key components of reception in hospitality, they must be friendliness and generosity, and Generation Z hospitality industry individuals would happen to fit those requirements to a tee, and they have much more to offer. Firstly, they are open to different kinds of people, no matter where they come from or what they believe in. At HIM and within the collective Le Camelia Breakfast Buffet and Room Service team of Hotel Okura Amsterdam this was very apparent. Hotel Institute Montreux has students from all over the world with different religions, values and goals studying and living under the same roof in harmony, and Hotel Okura Amsterdam is a Japanese 5-star hotel in the south of Amsterdam with native Dutch staff, employees from Japan and members from other countries as well. Gen Z is described as endorsing “the first true global culture”, and it is not difficult to see why, as it is expected to become the most open minded generation with its new understanding and approach of the global society.
Then, Generation Z really wants things to be unique, unlimited and ethical: So sustainability plays a major role in our moral compass. More so than our previous generations, as long as it does not hurt a neutral or positive party, we want to preserve the uniqueness of all things, whether this is a declining species of wildlife or a theme restaurant. Resources are sadly running lower and lower as time passes and will eventually seize to exist, but we would love for them to be in infinite supply, just like office supplies, however just like DNA, it is passed down from one generation to the next, or in the hospitality industry, determined by the managers. Ethics is, at least from my perspective, what Gen Z strives for above all else, as we stand by equal treatment regardless of the appearance of anyone or any group, and genuinely care for our environment. At Hotel Institute Montreux and back home in the Netherlands, the buildings have respective trash containers or bins for specific materials, namely paper, plastic, green waste, and outside my house in Almere, The Netherlands, garden waste. There should therefore be no issue for a Gen Z employee to comply with company rules and regulations, especially its green program.
Furthermore, Gen Z does not stop there when it comes to consideration, as they are more cautious and conservative in terms of the feelings of others, as they had to adapt to this modern fragile age where people are easily offended. This trait is particularly useful in the hospitality industry in which you want to make customers feel welcome as if they were at home. Guests would naturally not appreciate the receptionists making negative assumptions about the origin of the funds of a customer, or address them like foul-mouthed sailors quarrel amongst themselves, and Generation Z understands this the moment they consider a job in the hospitality industry: “Think before you act; think twice before you speak – Thomas Browne”.
This generation in question is also more flexible, as they are constantly in contact with acquaintances from all over the world, and I honestly encourage you to visit HIM to ask students from China, Brazil or New Zealand what brings them to HIM. They would probably all say something along the lines of “Because I can and want to study in the heart of hospitality abroad”. If nothing prevents us from following and achieving our dreams, then we will do whatever it takes. My brother and I are like two peas in a pod when it comes to studying or working abroad: We want to do it, and we will, because we can! That is why Gen Z is the best and that is the real Generation Z in hospitality!
This blog post was inspired by another article on this website called “GenZ myths in Hospitality Industry”, so if you genuinely enjoyed this article be sure to read that article and feel as inspired as I was. Lastly, feel free to practice your freedom of speech in the comments section below to share your thoughts about Gen Z in the hospitality industry and be sure to share it anywhere and everywhere you please.
Author: Mr. Ricardo de Rooij, Hospitality Bachelor Student at Hotel Institute Montreux, from The Netherlands.