The purchase preferences of genY

When I was taking part in Vita Futura Assessment Center this year I was told to prepare presentation on topic:  “Generation Y will become the core customer within the hospitality & travel industry over the next 5-10 years (…)”.

Being a representative of gen Y myself, I was afraid that my opinion will be strongly biased and won’t accurately reflect the needs of the whole group. Therefore I decided to conduct a research that would help to better understand the needs and desires of the youth of today.

Following article is summarized results of this study.



My research was based on a survey that was distributed among people between the age of 20 to 30. 48% of respondents were students, 22% working professional while 30% were working while studying. In total, I was able to collect 109 surveys, with a response rate of about 65%. The survey is available here: survey


The questions in survey were divided into three blocks:

  • loyalty,
  • technology,
  • environment,

To every of those issues, I tried to give my own solution that will be suitable for this generation.


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Attitudes surrounding loyalty are one of the biggest elements that distinguish gen Y from gen Z. According to my study only 18% of millennials  prefer to choose hotels of the same brand. Moreover 90% would choose an unknown brand if it was recommended by friends or family. What is more,  60% will choose a hotel that is recommended in the internet.

How will this change the industry?

Hotels can no longer expect that customers will come back just because they had a nice previous experience. Moreover, it will make competition between different hotels harder/stronger than before.

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New Technology is no longer “rocket-science” and it plays an important role in millennials lives. They expect that companies will use technologies according to new trends and constantly develop and adapt. In fact, 84% stated that they are willing to pay more for a product that is customized to their needs, which only further highlights how much this generation expects companies to go the extra mile.

How this will change the industry?

Advanced technology will become a competitive advantage among competitors. And the level of customization will play a major role in fighting for customers.

Mobile applications, big screen tvs in rooms, ipod ports for sound systems are all fine concepts but they are represent present time. If we want to address millenials in the next 5 to 10 years and bring them unforgettable experience we need to look into future. And I believe the future means really smart hotel rooms. Imagine that you are coming back from a long day of work to your hotel.  While you are on your way, you use your mobile to prepare bath at just the right temperature and scent you like.  You can also order a bottle of wine that will be waiting for you in the room the moment you get in. You don’t like keys or cards so you open the room with your fingerprint. Then using a voice recognition system you choose a song and turn on the tv to the news station you want. When you are going to sleep you just say: “please turn off the lights and wake me up at 7 with forest sounds” and the system responds: “Ok, sleep well Mateusz”. The first hotel to implement such systems will achieve huge first mover advantage and will certainly become pretty famous. Additionally, 68% of my respondents stated that they would return to hotel if it would remember their preferences. So this is a new way to build loyalty among gen Y.

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The problem of environment is interesting because of two factors. Firstly, I believe that world’s condition is getting worse and worse and we are responsible for it. According to my survey, also 67% of respondents stated that they care about environment. But even if they care they are not choosing brands that are eco-friendly and they are not willing to pay more for such products or services. This made me wonder: why they are so reluctant to buy eco-friendly goods? After some thinking and talking with my colleagues I believe it is because people actually don’t believe that companies care about environment. They think that CSR is just a marketing tool to attract customers. And they have some reasons to believe so.

Therefore new hotels should be built in a “green” way. Outstanding architecture cannot overshadow sustainability. Moreover, new technology will demand way more energy than it presently does. Therefore companies should think about how to use resources that are available in certain destinations.

  •  If it is in a sunny place, think about how to incorporate solar panels in walls to use sun energy,
  • If it is in windy place, is it possible to build windmills
  • If there is thermal energy why not to build a small power station

Moreover, every day there is tons of garbage produced by hotels. Instead of throwing it out, why not to burn it in special stoves to get energy back. I am aware that this requires huge investments but in some regions, a few different hotels could join forces to build such a power station and significantly reduce hard to the environment. However, in order to make customers aware that our brand truly cares about the environment, we need to communicate to future customers about what we do.

Unfortunately, as my research shows, the old approach to marketing is inefficient in terms of getting the message to generation Y. Effectively reaching customers is more difficult than any time before. However, creating new ways of marketing is a huge and different issue, therefore I will stop here.



Author: Mateusz Konopelski

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