It has been a very interesting week of speaking to local university hotel majors. There is a lot of excitement in tackling the next era of the hospitality industry. In all of these speaking segments I discovered that I am a dinosaur of the hotel business; the young students can’t imagine how I was able to run a hotel without a computer, imagine that? Over all it was a lot of fun, and we all had some great stories along the way. These students were born with an iPad in their diaper, they don’t know any other way to communicate without a mobile device; it is a necessity with them, you remove it and they feel disconnected, not only from a device but also from reality.
What are Gen Z Passionate about?
Of the discussion questions that came up, those of the members of the under thirty club were the most passionate. Loyalty was the question that set these students on fire. They asked why they should have loyalty to these hotel companies that at the first sign of recession trouble lay you off. One of the student’s said that his parents (both) worked for a major hotel for over 18 years, and when the times turned they were let go, so where is the loyalty there ? Hotels want us to be loyal to them, but they have no loyalty towards their employees. It was brought up as well that major hotels have strict rules concerning having a mobile phone with you. The students understand that it can’t be used during working hours, but they expect to be able to have the device on them.
New Policy on Mobile Devices Needed?
These are the student’s that were born with this technology; they don’t know any other way to communicate. During one of the breaks I was sitting with a group of those students, (8) and all of them were talking and texting at the same time. It never did occur to any one of them to simply just talk. These students will enter the hospitality industry with a distorted view of loyalty. Generation Z has integrated mobile communication seamlessly into their lives; remove the device and you will need Prozac to calm them down. You will accomplish one thing with the removal of the communication device - the employee will leave your company. Maybe it is time to take a look at the current HR policies regarding mobile devices. You would hate to lose a good future leader over an antiquated policy. As the tech world changes maybe the policies should change as well.
Also consider this - these students said that their communication devices do not interfere with their desire to provide great customer service. They understand the hospitality concept and are ready to proceed to the next step. The last meeting was a town hall type of meeting with yours truly as the Guinea pig. The student’s figured that an antiquated dinosaur would be a nice touch. I must admit I had a lot of fun with them. I do believe that the hospitality industry will be in good hands in spite of the dreaded mobile device.
About the Author
Alan Campbell has been in Las Vegas for over 30 years and has worked for the major strip hotels. He has spent some time in California, Los Angeles where he worked for the Radisson and Sheraton hotels. Alan considers the hospitality industry the best job in the world - it is the only place that both king's and Paupers will visit you.