In the next 5-10 years, connecting with Gen-Z will have the biggest impact on the success of your business. Now is the time to plan for how to create impactful relationships with a generation that has very different experience expectations from everyone before.
Currently ranging from the ages of 9 to 24, Gen-Z’s presence in the global market is statistically worthy of attention.
Although this generation is soon to be the power-purchasers for our businesses, according to a study conducted by Experience Dynamic, Gen-Z exhibits markedly lower satisfaction levels with current customer experiences, standing at just 50%, as opposed to the 71-72% satisfaction rates observed in previous generations.
This gap in satisfaction highlights a huge opportunity to make the changes that capture the affinity and loyalty of Gen-Z for your business.
Having two Gen Z children at home, I can see the reality of the market challenge based on their expectations and trends in their peer group. Recent research brought to the public by Forbes, is totally in line with my observations, and if you also live with Gen-Z’s, I’m sure you will agree with the observations and traits of this generation.
All of this leads to these questions:
a) What are the reasons for Gen-Z’s dissatisfaction with general brand experiences?
b) How can we as an industry connect with this generation, improving their brand perception and overall experiential Joy?
This is precisely the issue we aim to delve into here, as well as to explore potential ideas that can propel our industry forward in meeting the demands and expectations of Generation Z.
GENERATION Z’S UNIQUE PREFERENCES
To effectively reach and engage Gen-Z, it’s essential to understand their distinct characteristics and preferences. Here are some key insights into their preferences:
1. Seamless Digital Experiences
Gen-Z is the first generation to grow up entirely in the digital age, making technology an integral and sometimes essential part of their lives. They live on their phones where social media provides them what they like without them asking. They expect seamless digital experiences when interacting with hospitality and entertainment services. Here’s how businesses can meet this expectation:
- Mobile Optimization: Gen-Z primarily lives by their smartphones for information and entertainment. Your website, and all of your digital content, must be mobile-friendly, responsive, and load quickly to cater to their lifestyle. Investing into a guest-centric app to help them centralize content is good for them and for your brand too!
- Visual Content: Since they spend more time on screens than most people, impactful video content resonates strongly with them. Utilize high-quality visuals that tell a compelling story about your hospitality or attractions business and get them excited to be part of the action.
- User-Generated Content: Encourage user-generated content to be shared on social media by providing onsite content at selfie stations to be easily shared on their social platforms. Gen-Z trusts the opinions of their peers, making authentic reviews and recommendations a powerful marketing tool.
- Mobile Payments: This generation is not going to be cash-centric, so providing secure mobile payment options, such as Apple Pay and Google Wallet, for convenience and security is important.
2) Personalization and Customization
Gen-Z expects personalized experiences tailored to their individual preferences. In fact, a study shows that 61% of Gen Zs expect that all their shopping, not just a percentage, will take place online in the next 10 years, and currently 45% are likely to leave a website if it doesn’t predict what they like, want, or need.
These preferences to have their needs predicted and tailored will have significant implications, not only on the way web and digital interfaces are structured, but also on the type of data that companies will have to collect – and protect – about users to meet these expectations.
Technology is addressing this expectation by:
- Providing Login-In incentives: Gen-Z knows that being recognized starts with them identifying themselves. It is natural for them to log-in to their application profiles because this leads to personalized experiences. Be it from collecting points, seeing specific content, or continuing achievement quests, the amusement industry needs to consider the personal incentive for Gen-Z to want to engage.
- Data Utilization: Accurate customer data is necessary to provide personalized recommendations, offers, and services. Personalized marketing and special treatment can go a long way in building loyalty.
- Interactive Entertainment onsite: Offering interactive and customizable digital experiences that can be used to enhance the physical experience is a great way to add layers of personalization to your venue. For example, choose-your-own-slide-color or having on-attraction audio systems delivering personalized playlists make the visit more memorable.
3) Social Media Engagement
Gen-Z pretty much lives on social media, and they expect businesses that they trust to be there as well. It’s critical to engage with them on a variety of platforms like Instagram, TikTok, or emerging platforms like Threads helps to establish your brand.
- Showcase Experiences: Use social media to showcase your offerings. Share user-generated content and encourage your customers to post about their experiences.
- Quick Response Times: Be responsive on social media channels. Gen Z expects prompt replies to inquiries and feedback.
- Provide easy-to-share content: Consider adding selfie stations, video booths, or ride video that is high-quality, branded for the venue, and easy to share on social media. Gen-Z is highly motivated by the actions of their peers on social media, so this marketing channel is a powerful one.
4) Authentic and Sustainable Practices
Gen-Z values authenticity and sustainability. They are socially conscious and prefer businesses that align with their values. A recent survey led by Deloitte showed that climate change is a major stressor for this generation.
Furthermore, six in 10 believe that companies have no ambition beyond wanting to make money. We must avoid this perception at all costs. Our essence should be around creating joy and not just getting our guests’ wallets. Here are some ideas to consider:
- Transparency: Be transparent about your business practices, including sourcing, sustainability efforts, and ethical business standards. Gen Z appreciates honesty.
- Eco-Friendly Initiatives: Implement green practices such as using intelligence – data – to create efficiency at your venue, reducing waste and conserving energy. How about making your operation completely paperless? You can start by changing your restaurant menu to a QR code that directs people to your website or app. And the park map can also be in the app instead of on paper.
- Social Responsibility: Engage in social responsibility initiatives, like charitable partnerships and community involvement, to demonstrate a commitment to making a positive impact on society.
5. Diverse and Inclusive Spaces
Another Deloitte article pointed out that “Entire industries and businesses will rise and fall in the wake of Gen Z. Yet few sectors or organizations appear ready for this.” And a large part of this is related to diversity and inclusion in the workplace.
- Representation: Ensure that your marketing materials, staff, and entertainment offerings represent a diverse range of backgrounds and perspectives.
- Inclusive Facilities: Make your physical spaces accessible to all, including those with disabilities.
GEN Z AND YOUR LONG-TERM BUSINESS SUCCESS
There is no doubt that Gen-Z has high expectations when it comes to choosing if and how they will engage with hospitality, entertainment, and attraction services.
To attract and retain this influential demographic, companies must adapt to their preferences by offering seamless digital experiences, authentic and sustainable practices, and personalization of both the digital and physical experience that is easily shareable on their social channels. and a commitment to diversity and inclusion.
To create a better future for Gen-Z, and your business, it’s important to make the changes to meet this generation where their expectations are; it’s a great opportunity to thrive in our industry’s evolving landscape!