How hotels should adapt to the new generations

How hotels should adapt to the new generations

Constantly Moving Generations

 

Our current society is in a state of constant, extremely fast evolution. If we look back 20 years earlier, our lifestyle was completely different. Of course, it is difficult to realize all the progress made since we are in the middle of it; we are living those huge changes from within! But if you take a step back and watch around…

 

The speed of evolution in the past years is unbelievable!

 

To make it short, our lifestyle completely changed in the last few years thanks to a massive amount of innovations, and it’s not about to stop. Because no one has control over this unmeasurable expansion, a good capacity for adaptation is essential in order not to be left behind by the new trends. And since our lifestyle changes constantly over a very short lapse of time, new generations are regularly emerging. This is why it is important to understand these different generations and analyze their behaviors, especially with regards to the economic aspect, as their demands and expectations might be different. It is very interesting to investigate those new behaviors and, because generations are not the same all over the world, to target the survey on different countries, as their culture, economic development is different.

 

First of all, let’s talk about the latest generations. There are two: the Millennial generation (23 – 38 years old) and Generation Z (16 – 22 years old). Those two generations can each be divided into two subcategories:

 

  • Young Gen Z (16 years old – 18y)
  • Old Gen Z (19y – 22y)
  • Young Millennials (23y – 30y)
  • Old Millennials (31y – 38y)

 

These definitions should not be taken literally since there is some debate about when exactly the transition between Generation X and Millennial generation takes place. The same is true for Millennial and Gen Z. However, most researchers and culture experts somehow agree with the above definitions. Taking a closer look into those generations, the Millennials came of age during the digital boom. Unlikely Gen Z, who grew up surrounded by digitalisation and new technology from a very young age, or even, were born into it.

 

 

Impact on the travel market

 

Now let’s talk about the new generations and their behaviour in the field of travel. Meghan Carty, a research analyst from Skift Research, delivered a very interesting report on this subject: “Millennial and Gen Z Traveller Survey 2019: A Multi-Country Comparison Report”. Besides the very informative content, the goal of this report was to understand the habits, preferences and values of the Millennial generation and the Generation Z in order to adapt the product and attract new generations as new costumers.

 

What is important to keep in mind is that the Gen Z and the Millennial are not a universal definition. Gen Z can be totally different from a country to another, depending on the country’s culture and development. Meghan Carty collected information from the 5 major travel markets over the world to write her study: U.S., U.K., Australia, China and India. The survey is based on 4’000 answers and there were two conditions to be eligible for answering at the survey’s questions:

1/ Be aged between 16 and 38 years old.

2/Have taken at least one leisure trip in the last 12 months (leisure trip = one-night paid stay, minimum 80 km away from home).

 

The big upside of this detailed survey is that, besides understanding different countries Millennial and Gen Z’s behaviour, we also perceive the preferences of different age categories within the country. Meaning that we are not only able to target each country more specifically, but also target different age groups within this country and attract a specified category of costumer in a specific country.

 

Millennials and Gen Z Country Comparison

 

To be clear, in this chapter, we are only comparing the Millennial and Generation Z’s behaviour from a country to another. Comparison between different age groups’ behaviour within a country will be described in the next section.

 

The element that immediately stands out while comparing the attitude of the 5 countries is that China and India behave in a very similar way while Australia, US, and UK look alike in their preferences. However, the first common point between all of them is that they have a higher rate of domestic travels than international travels. For instance, U.S. are almost only travelling inside the country, in contrast to U.K. who are the most international of the five. China and India are more avid travellers than their compeers, meaning that they travel more.

 

Travel Motivation

 

Regarding the trip motivation, the most common one is to rest, even if for India it is more important to learn about diverse cultures and explore nature than to relax. For UK, US and Australia, getting away from home and their routine is also an important point, unlike China who would rather opt for visiting natural/cultural attractions and discover new cultures. India and China look to be very interested in participating in new adventure travel experience and local experience, connecting with local people and local culture. As next destination, US would go either to The Bahamas or Australia, UK citizens would travel to US or Spain, Australians would enjoy travelling to Japan and US, the Chinese would target Japan, France and Australia and finally, Indians are interested by Australia, US and Canada. Looking in the future, China and India predict that their travel expenses will increase, while the others predict that the expenses will stay the same. Being loyal towards a brand is important for ½ of each country’s population, besides for India and China for whom it is especially important to resonate with the brand.

 

Destination Influence

 

To choose a new destination, inspiration comes a lot from family and friends, however, travel related TV shows or documentaries are a large source of inspiration for Chinese and social medias and influencers inspire a lot of Indians. Travel-related TV shows look to have at least a little influence on the travel destinations for everyone, besides India who shows up being very influenced by those travel-related TV programs. Most of the time, China and India seem to choose their destination depending on a specific activity or event. Both of them are also very attracted by Wellness Spa services, more than their compeers. Another questions that Meghan Carty asked in her survey is what features/technologies they would appreciate to have in their hotel. Streaming services such as Netflix would be highly appreciated by Australia, UK and US.  UK and Australia are interested by a mobile phone access/key for the room and on the other hand, India and China would rather have a co-working space in the hotel. With environmental issues getting worse every year, it is important for over half of each country’s population to choose eco-friendly travel businesses, besides for China and India for whom it is a very important factor when choosing their travel company.

 

Technology and Social Media

 

The most used websites to book hotels are TripAdvisor, Booking.com and Google. However, for China it’s different, as Google is banned there, they mostly use Ctrip. Devices used are usually phones or computers, China and India are using much more their phones to book their travels (flight and accommodation). It’s not a big surprise to see that travellers use more third-party websites or intermediaries for the booking of accommodation rather than booking directly on the official hotel page. China uses a lot more third-party websites than his compeers. For new technologies, Meghan Carty asked if they would feel comfortable by booking their travels using a Voice Assistance. UK, US and Australia are pretty reluctant with the idea of using this new technology. Nevertheless, India and China answered mostly that they would feel comfortable with using Voice Assistance. Staying in the technology topic, travel-related social media accounts or influencers are used more and more, especially in China and India where respectively 87% and 75% of the population follow travel-oriented social media accounts. More specifically, the social media used the most by far is Instagram, followed at a distance by Facebook. China again as an exception, using Sina Weibo and WeChat as social media. And how about sharing personal data to receive personalized offers? Well, no country is strictly against it, but the most open-minded to share their data are India, China and UK.

 

Taking into account all those factors during the marketing process allow us to target more specifically each region’s demand and adapt the product offered to attract new customers.

 

Comparison by country

 

Throughout those tables, the goal is to understand the different behaviours of generations inside the country.

 

 

 

 

 

 

As you can see on those tables, we can find many differences regarding the travel behaviour within a generation due to differences in civilization and education in each country. For example, in each country, almost all Millennials (from 23 years old) pay their travels by themselves. Moreover, in China, most of Old Gen Z (19 – 22 years old) already pay their trip by themselves. And even earlier in India, where most of Young Gen Z (16 – 18 years old) pay for their own trips as well. Or we can also analyse the behaviour of different generations inside a country. For example, in India, it’s interesting to see that all the generations are using WhatsApp as main social Media, except for the new Gen Z who doesn’t follow their elders and use mostly Instagram and YouTube. We can even to see that, the younger a generation is, the more Facebook is losing their monopoly. And this behaviour applies for each country (besides China who uses different Social Medias).

 

In brief, it’s important to understand the behaviour of the new generations on the travel market to be able to adjust the product offered. As the behaviour of the generations differs from a country to another, it’s even better to target the generations inside a country.

 

Well, if you were brave enough to make it until here, you have all the tools to never be overtaken by the new generations coming at full speed 🙂

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