I’ve been speaking (and posting) about Gen Z for a long time and continue to be fascinated with their habits, especially their obsession with the 90’s style – that one I will never quite understand. These kiddos continue to have a limitless impact on literally everything, and the target of understanding them seems to always be moving. However, I believe that as meetings and events (and travel) are bouncing back after the pandemic, there are a few ways we can adapt to their desires.
1. Build Towards Hybrid & Virtual Experiences
The traditional 4-wall event boundaries have been obliterated thanks to new technology and hybrid and virtual events forced by the pandemic. Gen Z can now expect that events blend physical and online participation as their inherent comfort with technology has driven a significant shift towards making events more accessible, inclusive, and globally connected. That means Virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) are being increasingly utilized by event producers to create immersive environments, allowing attendees to engage from anywhere in the world.
2. Emphasis on Authenticity and Social Responsibility
Gen Z seeks genuine connections and experiences, pushing event organizers to prioritize authenticity in the way the event looks, feels, and is communicated (BizBash has a great article on how to bring authenticity to an event). Also, Gen Z is very committed to social causes which is influencing events to incorporate sustainability practices, diversity, and inclusivity wherever they can. They are after all the most diverse generation ever and have expectations of your event mirroring who they are at their core.
3. Influence of Social Media and Influencer Culture
The power of social media over Gen Z has forever changed the way events are marketed and experienced. Events are increasingly using social media geared toward the younger generations (i.e. TikTok) to amplify their reach and make events more interactive. Also, the rise of influencer culture has become a powerful tool. If events can engage with social media influencers in the right way, it will not only promote the event but lead to that desired authenticity mentioned in point 2.
Gen Z is driving some serious transformative changes in the meetings and events industry. Though technology and digital seem to be at the core, they are after all only human and desire a more meaningful and educational experience when attending your next event. The bar may seem high, however, the most minor tweaks will knock it out of the park for this generation.