• Kiros Zhang

Gen Z will bring a Revolution to the Hospitality Industry

Updated: Mar 26

“There’s no middle-aged people here, not even one.” That’s was the first impression when I walked into the lobby of W Hotel Shanghai and the whole lobby became like a huge club with a DJ.

The word ‘Millennials’ (Gen Y) had been frequently mentioned by the mass media, and people discussed about how they could change the world. However, we, the next generation, Gen Z, are gradually taking over the world from Millennials.

As we grow, we have more disposable income to spend in the market. On the other hand, we begin to enter the workplace and occupy a part of talent market.

So how about hospitality industry? Will they bring a revolution to the industry? As a part of Gen Z, I shall answer the question with confidence “YES”. As both the new customers and new workforce of the hospitality industry, we are changing the rules of games in hospitality industry.


Gen Z and the hospitality industry by Kiros Zhang

Gen Z, as customers of the hospitality industry:

Due to the research, it was predicted that by 2020, Gen Z will become the largest group of consumers worldwide and occupy 40% of consumers in the US, Europe and BRIC states. The market share that the Gen Z consumers will occupy cannot be underestimated. Therefore, industries have been modified to cater the demands of Gen Z. Thus, what changes will the hospitality industry make to satisfy Gen Z costumers?

  • Technology

As for Gen Z, we were born in the world of digital. The development of the Internet, smartphones, gaming devices and social media is fast with Generation Z, so we can be called as “Digital Natives”. The generation is accustomed to live in the world with technology and eager to access the latest technology. Therefore, integrating technology into the hospitality industry is a new trend in hotel development. For example, last year, I was invited by the owner of the Wonderland hotel for its opening and stayed at the Intercontinental Shanghai Wonderland for 2 nights. What impressed me the most was the AI controlling system in the room. Customer just speak their feelings and needs out, then the devices in the room will be adjusted automatically. The room features and design were all followed by the trendy elements. The experience in the room was fantastic for me, and it can be the reason I choose the hotel for the second time. As customers of hospitality industry, Gen Z’s purchase intention will be affected by the technology application of hotels.


InterContinental Wonderland Hotel in Shanghai
  • Social Media Influence

Social media addiction is one of the most prominent characteristics of Gen Z, and we tend to share our daily life by updating photos on Instagram and convey our emotions by posting tweets. Gen Z also likes to keep up with their friends and follow celebrities lives on social media, means that interacting on the social media can be the major way to absorb information. Therefore, the reference groups of Gen Z customers are not only their friends in real life, but also the influencers on social media. Whenever I choose a hotel for my next destination or weekend, the first thing I do is looking all the pictures of the hotel from social media. I am just like you guys who loves taking nice photos in those trendy spot. I have followed so many travel bloggers and they are like my hotel guide.

  • Unique Design

As one of Gen Z, a hotel with a unique design style will appeal to me more than a uniformed chain hotel, even though I may have to pay more. This phenomenon will occur when most Gen Z choose hotels. Instead of staying in the traditional hotels, Gen Z prefer to pursue more unique and innovative accommodation experiences. For instance, compared with chain hotels, Gen Z are more inclined to boutique hotels and hotels featured with trendy elements. Shanghai W Hotel is always one of my favorite. The lobby of the hotel is full of disco neon lights and it become like a huge night club that also connected with the pool bar next the lobby. It is unusual to see any mid-aged people but only young people who love clubbing and fashion.


W Hotel in Shanghai

Although the quality of the chain hotel is guaranteed, the overly unified design may be boring for them. Just like the clothes we wear, we care more about the unique style of the clothes than the clothes brands. As a result, we are not easy to be loyal to brands. The unique design of hotels may attract more Gen Z. Nowadays, hotels, whether international chain hotels or local brand hotels, has noticed the significance of design for Gen Z, as customers of the industry. Thus, they start to take actions when designing hotels, hiring well-known designers and embody the form of arts symbols in the design of hotels.


Gen Z, as workforce of the hospitality industry:


Since Gen Z is gradually growing up, an increasing number of them have graduated from school and entered the society. A part of Gen Z has already worked in the hospitality industry. As workforce of the hospitality industry, we are the new blood who will invigorate the industry. Hence, how will the hospitality industry change with the influx of Gen Z labor?


  • Creative and Courageous

Gen Z do not like to follow the crowd and imitate others. We prefer to show our differences and unique personalities, which develops our independent and critical thinking. In other word, we are good at breaking rules, and we are also brave enough to break the rules. During the study at HIM (Hotel Institute Montreux), we are offered sufficient opportunities to produce and practice our creative ideas, which makes me confident enough to express my ideas. To be honest, it was obviously to realize there was a huge difference between me and my colleagues who used to study in China, when I was doing my internship in Grand Hyatt China, t hey seem easy to be fully controlled by our managers and followed all the orders. But for me, I was always curious for their order and ask questions all the time. But also, I was the one who proposed that we can prepare a box of macarons for guests with 5-days-stay. Eventually, my front desk manager really appreciated that and we became really good friends. As the workforce of the industry, Gen Z will promote the rapid progress with their creative ideas.


  • Thinking and Acting Flexibly

Gen Z are born in an era of information explosion. The information, knowledge, and technology they are exposed to are the latest and fastest. In our school HIM (Hotel Institute Montreux) also places great emphasis on developing those abilities through classes and practice. The divergent thinking and strong communication skills always leads us to the prefect solutions of problems. Also, I showed the prefect communication skill that I learn from the school when I was dealing which drunk guests. I used to extra patience and more respect to those guests because I wanted them to leave the lobby as soon as possible without making noise. I am not sure if you already read the blog from my school mate— “Why do I love the hospitality”. She also realized that our works are not only about serving people, but more about our flexibility. Thus, understating the needs of customers and serving them in a subtle and caring manner are the most important tasks of hotel staff. As workforce of hospitality industry, we can accomplish these tasks better and faster!

Gen Z is an emerging force of the world, who will change the hospitality industry dramatically as either customers or workforce. It is no exaggeration to say that this will be a revolution. As the future talents of Gen Z, we will participate and be the leader of the revolution. It is time to show our greater potentials than other generations and it is our responsibility to promote and upgrade the industry proactively. I believe that through tireless effort, Gen Z will lead the hospitality industry to a new peak.


Are you also part of Gen Z? How about share this blog to your family and friends and let they know that we will be the new blood of hospitality.


Author: Mr Kiros Zhang , Hospitality Bachelor Student at Hotel Institute Montreux from China

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