Generation Z and millennials want similar things from their hotel stays, such as authenticity and convenience. But designers say those groups also are looking to seamlessly sync up their personal devices.
REPORT FROM THE U.S.—When it comes to hotel amenities, Generation Z wants it all. They’re looking for authentic experiences personalized to them, convenience, and at the same time, technology accommodations that mold to their lifestyle without feeling too over the top.
The industry still has a lot to learn about the post-millennial generation, which is young and still finding its voice. But hotel design experts believe they have a good sense of what this generation is looking for, at least when it comes to the layout of a hotel.
Justin Colombik, senior designer at Puccini Group, said post-millennial guests are looking for an authentic experience that “feels like it is high quality without feeling pretentious.” And of course, technology capabilities are important for the generation that’s grown up with the Internet and mobile devices.
“Authenticity brings value to their experience, and the narrative stimulates and connects with them,” he said. “So having that sort of sense of history but the convenience of technology is really important, and I think it’s very unique to their generation. If there’s no technology, they feel like it’s not connected to them, but if it feels too technical, then it’s meant for someone else.”
To create the right atmosphere for post-millennials, Colombik said Puccini Group uses authentic finishes, concrete tile and soft upholstery in its hotel designs.
“From a programming point of view, I think there’s some of that overlap of the more casual setup through large oversized furniture,” he said. “Nothing that feels very formal—not a Four Seasons sort of formal living room grouping—but … we did a hotel that was all beanbags that was very relaxed.”
- Hoteliers shared their thoughts on post-millennials last summer. Click here to see what they had to say.
Designing around tech needs
Generation Z guests aren’t looking for the opportunity to use a bunch of different devices during their hotel stay; they’re just looking to personalize their stay through their own mobile device, Kevin Tyjer, designer at Wilson Associates, told Hotel News Now.
“I think now integrating tech is less about just adding another gadget—rather, (it’s) making it purposeful technology, so giving guests the opportunity to control using their own devices,” he said. “Not only with smart TVs, but being able to use their phone, a piece of tech that’s already an extension of them, to control and connect into the hotel. Some brands are already going the way of being able to use your smartphone as the key to actually enter your room through an application.”
Colombik said technology needs to be thoughtfully integrated into a hotel.
“We’ve been told by brands not to do spaces that feel like an Apple store, but one that feels like a house, that feels residential, but has that sort of Apple technology in there,” he said.
A blurred line between generations
Right now, it seems like millennials and Generation Z want many of the same things in a hotel. Michael Lawless, associate designer at Wilson Associates, said he thinks the separation between millennials and post-millennials is blurred.
“It’s a generation that’s so young and it’s still defining its voice right now and hasn’t necessarily become the main target market for the hotels that we’re designing right now,” he said. “However, they most certainly will be the main target in the coming years, and I think at that stage they will have a more defined voice, and defined needs and wants that we would then be tailoring toward.”
Marjorie Feltus Hawkins, owner and principal at FH Design, said Generation Z members are multitaskers who want to utilize public space in a hotel, which is similar to what millennials have wanted over the past few years.
“We’re looking at doing more comfortable lounge chairs that could even be wider and have data ports in them …. the Z’s know that it’s more multifaceted, so to speak. It’s multipurpose,” she said. “(This) creates an avenue for them to not only have their social avenue outlet there, but also, since we know that they like to be on the iPad as well as the phone and watching television, and maybe even socializing with somebody, they have a place to do it.”
Because Generation Z guests want a place to socialize and use their gadgets, Hawkins said guestrooms don’t have to be as big.
“Really, all they want is a room to go lay down, sleep, shower and then go back down to the lobby and/or go out and experience the town and the city,” she said. “… They’re more in-tune to not purchasing, but experiencing food and the local culture.”