Authenticity and Connection: How Luxury Hotels Can Attract Gen Z Guests

As Generation Z gains significant purchasing power, luxury hotels must adapt and reinvent their marketing strategies to captivate this young, influential demographic. Known for their desire for authentic experiences, strong community connections, and dedication to social and environmental impact, Gen Z presents an exciting challenge for the luxury hospitality industry in 2023. To successfully engage and create lasting relationships with this unique audience, luxury hotels must delve deeper to understand the attitudes and values that define this generation.

Demystifying Gen Z and Their Approach to Travel

Growing up with technology and the internet as essential parts of their lives, Gen Z is a generation of digital natives who navigate the online realm effortlessly. With social media platforms keeping them interconnected and informed, Gen Z is fiercely independent and entrepreneurial. The allure of self-discovery and tailored experiences strongly resonates within this generation.

A Passion for Experiential Travel and Local Impact

As the demand for travel continues in 2023, Gen Z’s approach to travel inspires luxury hotels to create unparalleled, immersive experiences that leave lasting impressions. Departing from the tendencies of previous generations, Gen Z places higher importance on experiences rather than material possessions. They are magnetized by authentic and offbeat adventures that stand out from standard luxury offerings. With a strong focus on self-exploration, personal growth, and cultural immersion, Gen Z’s approach to travel seeks to positively impact local communities.

American Express Travel 2023 Global Travel Trends Report suggests that 86% of Gen-Z and Millennial respondents, and 83% of all surveyed respondents, want to shop at small businesses when they travel to a new location. Additionally, 69% of all respondents would spend more during a vacation if they knew it supported the local community, and 88% of all respondents agreed that dining and shopping at local small businesses create a more authentic experience.

Sustainable, Equitable, and Community-focused

Gen Z is particularly conscious of environmental and social issues. Luxury hotels should strive to demonstrate how their brand aligns with these values, showcasing sustainable practices, community partnerships, and opportunities for equity. By creating strong connections through shared values, luxury hotels can foster genuine relationships with Gen Z and become their preferred choice.

Gen Z is highly concerned about social and environmental issues and prefers to engage with brands that share these values. Luxury hotels must adapt by promoting sustainability, practicing eco-friendly measures, and engaging with local communities through partnerships or philanthropic efforts. In doing so, they can establish themselves as responsible and caring brands, attracting Gen Z travelers who seek authentic connections with their chosen destinations.

The Allure of Genuine Online Content

Gen Z shies away from polished, overly-produced marketing content, instead gravitating towards unfiltered, sincere representations of brands and local communities. This generation appreciates candid photos, behind-the-scenes videos, and snapshots that offer a glimpse of genuine experiences during their stays. Luxury hotels must adapt by producing relatable, heartfelt content that tells the story of their destination and staff, forming a connection with the Gen Z traveler.

Creating Connections through Authenticity

Understanding Gen Z’s preferences and values provides luxury hotels the opportunity to connect with this audience on a deeper level. By embracing the art of storytelling through genuine content and experiences, luxury hotels can create an emotional bond with Gen Z guests and establish themselves as their go-to choice for travel and adventure.

Reaching Gen Z

First and foremost, luxury hotels must understand the online landscape. Gen Z is extremely well-versed in social media and relies on multiple platforms for information, communication, and entertainment. They are more likely to scrutinize marketing materials for sincerity and relatability, ensuring that their chosen brands align with their values. To reach Gen Z effectively, hotels should focus on connecting with them where they already spend their time: Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, and most importantly, TikTok.

“To cater effectively to Gen Z, ensure that there are several areas on property within the hotel that offer “instagram/photo ready” opportunities that capture the luxury of the property and the experience it provides, says Lisa Cain, PH.D., Associate Professor at Florida International University. Additionally, it would be beneficial to partner with local and sustainable businesses that provide authentic to the area experiences that will align with the brand in addition to the younger, sustainably minded patrons. Planned excursions with unique and picturesque views and surprising experiences would certainly capture the attention of this generation.”

Authenticity on TikTok

TikTok has become a cornerstone of Gen Z’s online presence. Hotels can leverage the platform’s incredible reach to share real and relatable content that resonates with this generation. However, focusing only on the aspirational aspects of luxury travel is not enough. Instead, hotels should showcase the authentic experiences their properties offer, emphasizing unique local experiences and genuine interactions with staff and community members.

Personalization and Customization

To truly connect with Gen Z, hotels must prioritize personalization and customization. This means providing tailored recommendations, customizable experiences, and unique opportunities for guests to forge their path during their stay. By empowering Gen Z guests to dictate their experience, hotels can foster a sense of ownership and exclusivity that will make their stay memorable.

Gen Z’s independent nature drives them towards personalization and customization in their travel experiences. Hotels should offer tailored recommendations that align with their guests’ interests, preferences, and individual needs, ultimately providing a more enjoyable and memorable stay. If possible, hotels should provide customizable packages or services, encouraging Gen Z to forge their path and create the perfect stay according to their desires.

Mobile-centric and Text-friendly

Finally, given Gen Z’s tech-savvy nature and penchant for instant communication, luxury hotels should streamline their communication channels to prioritize mobile devices. Offering fast response times through SMS or messaging apps is a key aspect of meeting Gen Z’s needs, ensuring that their questions and concerns are addressed promptly.

Considering Gen Z’s reliance on smartphones and instant communication, luxury hotels should prioritize mobile-based communication. Offering prompt responses through SMS and messaging apps allows this tech-savvy generation to access information and address their concerns easily, demonstrating the hotel’s commitment to superior guest experiences.

To effectively engage Gen Z in the luxury travel industry, hoteliers must understand and adapt to the preferences of Gen Z, prioritizing authenticity, alignment with social and environmental values, personalization, and mobile-centric communication. By taking these steps, luxury hoteliers can create meaningful relationships with their young guests, positioning themselves as the go-to choice for Gen Z travelers seeking exceptional experiences.