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19 & 20 OCT 2022


Hospitality Marketing to Generation Z

News and opinion pieces on Millennials seem to be everywhere. How do you market to Millennials? How are Millenials changing the way that our businesses run? Do Millenials eat too much avocado toast? What most people don’t realise, however, is that as an industry, we’ve been marketing to Millennials for decades. The first Millenials were born in 1981, making a large portion of this demographic around thirty years old, and the oldest are nearly forty. Millennials are already a large portion of the market, so we’ve had plenty of time to work out how to get a hold of them. However, while many have been focusing on Millennials, the next generation has slowly been growing up in a more digital world, and are rapidly coming of age. Maybe it’s time to shift focus and work out how to market to what looks to be a very different group.

The focus of marketing to Millennials in recent years has left Generation Z relatively untouched, if not only because they haven’t been old enough to make buying decisions themselves. However, as they come of age, their buying and spending habits are becoming ever more apparent - as is their buying power. In fact, Gen Z have approximately $143 million dollars in total spending power.  These are a group who are more environmentally conscious than any group that has come before them, while the price of products is also a large consideration. They want to know that their data is secure, and they could likely show most of us how to properly use tiktok. A generation who doesn’t remember a time when nobody had a mobile phone or computer, they have been raised in what appears to be the peak of the internet. To market our hospitality businesses to them properly, we have to rethink a lot about how to get through to them - particularly as numbers of Gen Z who eat out are starting to drop.

It’s important to remember as well that these are the people most likely to be working part time in our restaurants and Hotels. They are now starting to find themselves jobs in our businesses, while also making disposable income. It’s easy to see where this income is coming from, but it is very different to see where it is going. In the case of Generation Z, considerations into where their money is going are very different to the generations that have preceded them.

A Greener Generation

Generation Z has grown up in a world where they are constantly being told that their environment is being rapidly destroyed - and while it’s not their fault, it is up to them to fix it. As such, a whopping 55% of Generation Z buy from brands they consider eco-friendly. They put emphasis on the environmental impact of the products that they are buying, and prefer to know the implications of their purchases. In order to properly get through to this greener generation, we have to consider our own environmental impact as restaurants and takeaways, and how we can use this to get them on our side.

Value, Value, Value

This is a group of customers that have seen one of the economic downturns unfold before them as they make their way through to adulthood. In fact, 65 percent of Generation Z say they are looking for real value for money. It is no longer just about selling a product on its merits, but why these merits make it worth investing in your product. They don’t just want to know why the product is good, but whether they are getting their money’s worth. As marketers in hospitality, we have to show these customers how we provide them with value for money in our takeaways and restaurants, without talking down to them - something they have been used to for far too long.

The Cynical Generation

Twitter, snapchat and instagram to most of us still feel fairly new. For the majority of Generation Z, these services have been there since they got their first mobile phone. For a large number of these young people, they could show us how to use these services better than we could even consider. They are ingrained into the way they go about their lives, as they follow influencers and their favourite creators. However, this knowledge of these services mean they have become immune to what has become known as viral marketing. Brands that latch on to the current linguistics of a given social media are now finding that Generation Z aren’t as into these campaigns as they thought, instead killing the so called ‘memes’ when brands get involved. Marketing to them over social media is becoming ever trickier, but by no means impossible. If anything, being more honest in our techniques could well pay off better than pretending to be ‘down with the kids’. While it may be fun to read the ever hilarious posts of the likes of wendys and burger king, copying them is becoming more and more risky. Make your campaigns believable, and engage in a far less cynical manner.

Influencers who… Influence?

One of the key ways we can get through to the newest generation is through influencers. They trust people who they follow on instagram and tend toward the products that these people use and sell. Leveraging this market is becoming enormously important, as the young follow these influencers to restaurants, bars and hotels across the world. Remember that 46% of Gen Z follow more than 10 social media influencers. If you can get influencers to your bar or restaurant, then the followers of these influencers will flock to see what all the fuss is about.

Video Content Is Key

Everyone watches videos on youtube, but we are only now discovering how effective in video advertising is. 66% of Gen Z skips online ads before video content. Instead they will happily watch the content with the products actually in them. It all comes around and back to influencers. If their favourite influencer or creator uses a product, or goes to a certain restaurant or establishment, it is more likely that they will engage with the product or service as well. You have to make sure that you’re putting your service or product in the hands of an influencer, or inviting them to have a meal in your restaurant. If you want to leverage this relatively new market, your potential customers have to see the people they follow online using or experience your service.

Generation Z are making sure that they are not easily forgotten. They shout from social media, and create engaging social content that is seen all across the globe. Marketing to this more cynical generation will most certainly be a challenge, but we will be rewarded with one of the most engaged and loyal generations yet. The Hospitality Marketing Zone, new for 2020 at Restaurant & Bar Tech Live will provide you with all the tools necessary to make sure that you’re marketing is on fire for the future, showing you what you can do to appeal to massive range of demographics.