Making Dollars and Sense Out of Gen Y: Y Sized Strategies to Fuel Business Growth

By Roberta Chinsky Matuson President, Matuson Consulting | March 11, 2012

They've been called a lot of names including Gen Y, Millennials, Echo Boomers and some that aren't very flattering. But make no mistake. This group of people will change everything you think you know about doing business. Gen Y, those born after 1978, has already overtaken Baby Boomers in sheer numbers and is on the brink to do the same with its incomes by 2017. If you are looking to grow your brand, look no further. This generation is over 70 million strong. And that's just here in the US. Demographics are shifting, and the younger generation is entering the hotel world and they're looking for a completely different experience than their Boomer parents. Here's why.

Getting to know Gen Y

Gen Y is the most transparent generations of all times. Thanks to social media, we know exactly what they are thinking at any given time. Or at least we think we do. To better understand Gen Y, we need to take a look at the events and circumstances that have had a powerful influence over this generation.

Technology. Technology has made the world a much smaller place and no one knows this better than Gen Y. The 9-11 terrorist attack that took place on US soil was played and replayed in front of their eyes, 24/7. This was a moment in time when many realized how life could change on a dime.

Hovering Parents. Those "Helicopter Parents," who swooped down to handle everything on their children's behalf, have raised a generation that relies heavily on the advice of their parents, even though many are now parents themselves. Parents are still an influencing force of Gen Y workers and consumers, as many consider them to be their best friends.

Trophies for all. The trophy business spiked in the eighties and nineties as every child received a trophy for every event, even when they were the only ones registered in a particular category. This desire for "special" treatment continues to play out in businesses around the globe.

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Coming up in March 2019...

Human Resources: An Era of Transition

Traditionally, the human resource department administers five key areas within a hotel operation - compliance, compensation and benefits, organizational dynamics, selection and retention, and training and development. However, HR professionals are also presently involved in culture-building activities, as well as implementing new employee on-boarding practices and engagement initiatives. As a result, HR professionals have been elevated to senior leadership status, creating value and profit within their organization. Still, they continue to face some intractable issues, including a shrinking talent pool and the need to recruit top-notch employees who are empowered to provide outstanding customer service. In order to attract top-tier talent, one option is to take advantage of recruitment opportunities offered through colleges and universities, especially if they have a hospitality major. This pool of prospective employees is likely to be better educated and more enthusiastic than walk-in hires. Also, once hired, there could be additional training and development opportunities that stem from an association with a college or university. Continuing education courses, business conferences, seminars and online instruction - all can be a valuable source of employee development opportunities. In addition to meeting recruitment demands in the present, HR professionals must also be forward-thinking, anticipating the skills that will be needed in the future to meet guest expectations. One such skill that is becoming increasingly valued is “resilience”, the ability to “go with the flow” and not become overwhelmed by the disruptive influences  of change and reinvention. In an era of transition—new technologies, expanding markets, consolidation of brands and businesses, and modifications in people's values and lifestyles - the capacity to remain flexible, nimble and resilient is a valuable skill to possess. The March Hotel Business Review will examine some of the strategies that HR professionals are employing to ensure that their hotel operations continue to thrive.