Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Connecting with Gen Y

I’m permanently wired as Gen B; and CEO for some thousands of Gen Y. I’m interested in the literature of both. Call it GenLit. TGI Global, interactive solutions for the hospitality industry, published this article about reaching out to Gen Y. This up and coming generation has some serious spending power, and are in many ways more willing to spend than Gen B. We have different values (work to live vs don’t live to work), are more demanding (loyalty is won moment by moment) and are more connected than anyone. Gen Y is always, always on. The advice is for travellers, applies across the board. This is it crunched down:

1. Remove the “Yawn Factor”... Keep it fresh
Gen Y is not attracted by the ‘proper’ message. Use social media to get your voice heard in the online marketplace. Build unique microsites for your Gen Y promotions that feature a more edgy design element. Create specials that include amenities that are important to them, like the availability of wireless networks, iPod docking stations or touch screen room service access on site.

2. Get conversationalA moment’s attention isn’t enough. It’s likely that a Gen Y-er will be tweeting from check-in to check-out, commenting on every experience in between. Give them the incentive – an experience – that will make them your destination or brand ambassador.

3. If you build it, they will come…
A series of networks that is. Gen Y is hooked on mobile. Try something like Google’s “Favorite Places” mobile based bar codes to leverage your your with a Gen Y consumer.

4. Make it “bragworthy”
The Gen Y crowd is looking for an experience that will wow their friends and earn them bragging rights on their return. This is evident in the glut of new hotels that follow extreme themes, such as the Ice Hotel in Sweden that is the equivalent of living in an igloo or the Drainpipe Hotel in Austria, that enables visitors to sleep in a capsule made completely out of repurposed municipal drainpipes.

5. Start nowGen Y may not have the extreme buying power that you seek right now, but this innovative group represents the future of your business, and they will take some wooing. By reaching out to younger employees on your property to get their feedback, or having them help manage your social media campaigns on your site, you stand to connect to this audience on a closer level.