29 Jan Generation Z part II
Following my first blog covering the hot-topic of Generation Z, the second installment will explore co-creation and how we can create a mutual solution that is authentic. This collaborative approach to design, specifically with guest experience in mind, allows the development of new concepts, services, products and ideas. And what does Gen Z love more than being part of something authentic and unique?
Starting with the simple idea of finding co-creators, it can often be difficult to engage potential guests in a genuine way. At this stage of the process, I think it is crucial to provide an interesting platform for co-creation, while also showing that you value their time and energy. One method that I found to be fun and individualized is from Curio Collection by Hilton: The Curiosity Quiz.
We all love to find out more about ourselves, especially if this is through a fun quiz that appeals to both our wanderlust and ego. With Curio’s online questionnaire, users can easily select from multiple choice options to reveal a personality type alongside the ideal Curio destinations for them. While this appears simple on first viewing, the idea is actually one of brilliance. We know that Generation Z strive for authenticity, individuality and real experience, with their thirst for choice now filtering into all product types, from Hilton’s ingenious quiz to the customisable NikeID sportswear.
When applying this to design, we must ensure that the integrity of our process and product is clear, as if something is missing it will instantly read as unclear or not satisfying enough. It is also crucial to consider the changing landscape of fluidity, designing spaces that are inclusive for all. Generation Z does not identify with a singular identity such as a profession – a trend that is spreading to wider society – so it is important to dive deeper than standard delineations or ‘categories’. Co-creation helps with this by allowing a better understanding of our future customers and their needs and desires.
Experiential design one or a community of individuals. How does our international nomad look like?
With that in mind we have created a new health shop in Notting Hill, London called Molecule. This new concept shop is giving the customers the opportunity to design their own potions, helping the individual to take active part in their health product design. Our design vision for this shop directed the guests to a central ‘lab’ area in which they can create their unique product suitable for their needs.
One way of combining all of this is through crowdsourcing certain aspects of your design process. For example, appealing to guests to submit logo ideas, perhaps through toolkits located in the hotel guestroom or by designing flexible public spaces specifically aimed at collaboration and co-creation. I think that focusing on a deeper understanding of what engages future guests, whether it be through their social or experiential desires, will allow us to not only create successful designs, but create spaces that are truly important to the future of the hotel industry. Commonly setting a benchmark for creating public spaces, hotels at the forefront must challenge traditional guest interaction and consider where we are moving societally.
Right now, research shows us that parents allow their Generation Z children to choose the family holiday destination more and more often than not. Fast forward to 2025, Gen Z will account for at least 40% of decision makers, making them our key target audience for future hotel design. Understanding their need to create their own environment will likely play out in many ways, but co-creation is already a key part of the hotel experience and is a trend that looks set to increase in importance as we look to the future.
In the final blog on this topic I will look at the relationship between technology and the lived experience, and ask: how important is social media to us?