This current generation, approaching those sunset years, has coasted along on the wave of 'I’ve got mine; tough on you'.
Their life is high end focused, marked by those Brands which ooze exclusivity. Just take the wrist watch. Designed to be a portable time-taker, at some point in time it will not work. What’s the matter with a Timex? Nothing, other than the message. It is the same way with automobiles, created to get us from point A to B, safely. Of course, my ride looks better than yours.
Fortunately, this Boomer crowd, much like an Oreo cookie, is embraced by two generations which have a set of values which are more distinctive, which transcend this current span of greed and hubris. The generation of our parents and of our children clamor for sanity, accountability and sustainability - thank goodness.
We always will have the luxury Brands, but they will serve a small niche. Our parents certainly did not understand the 1960’s at all, and the next four decades were a rush with change so frantic, we were spellbound and not particularly good stewards, either for the economy, the environment or society at large. This is the landscape we leave our children, where the gap between the "haves" and "have nots" expends dramatically. My, I hope they are ready!
Even though we (Boomers) have tried to keep them under thumb, technology has enfranchised that generation. They do not have to pay their dues, as we did. They do not have to experience the humiliation of Corporate downsizing, for they are becoming independent contractors, always filing that career quiver with new arrows of knowledge, and then, like the itinerant, moving on to learn more. They care about community, local and global. And, they know how to communicate. Interestingly, I validated my thinking with my eldest son, age 35. He was less sanguine than I about his generation, feeling there is a deep selfish streak running through their prospects and character. He was more concerned about the generation coming along, who has had everything given to them. They may know technology but could not build a house. Let’s reprint those books for Dummies, again.
Hospitality businesses will need to adapt. Their customer has different needs and values. No more “peel the grapes” or lavish me with imported oils to soothe. Make my experience real and memorable! Make it honest, too, not only in the marketing but also in the delivery. The prior paragraph gave some hints to future success. Provide communication platforms, offer gathering spaces, create activities way beyond reclining at the pool, be supportive of the grand scheme, such as Green and carbon footprints. In short, redesign the paradigm.
John Hendrie is the author of the LRA blog 'A Guy Walks In'. LRA is a leading research and consulting company in the emerging discipline of Customer Experience Management (CEM). We work with our clients to help them design and deliver consistently exceptional customer experiences in order to drive customer satisfaction, loyalty and advocacy, and company growth and profitability. We have built a range of quality assurance, mystery shopping, research, training and consulting solutions to help them do so.
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