The year was 1999, and the technology and business worlds were buzzing with Y2K predictions of doom and gloom. Meanwhile, at computer terminals everywhere, a far more lasting change was taking place --one that would have the most profound impact on technology and business in decades. Scores of youth were logging on to their PCs and connecting with the world.
Call them the Digital Generation, the Internet Generation, Generation Y, or most popularly, --The Millennial Generation,--they are literally the future, and they are arriving on the scene with considerable impact. Born between approximately 1978 and 2000, the Millennial Generation has grown up with personal technology spilling out of their pockets. They are sociable, optimistic, well-educated, collaborative, openminded and achievement-oriented. The children of Baby Boomers, they've been more valued by their parents than any other group in history, and as such have always felt sought after, needed and indispensable.
The hospitality industry will surely be affected by Millennials, as both customers and employees. In terms of job expectations, 87 percent of all hiring managers and HR professionals say some or most Millennial workers feel more entitled in terms of compensation, benefits and career advancement than older generations: 61 percent expect to have flexible work schedules; 50 percent expect more vacation or personal time; and 37 percent expect access to state-of-the-art technology. If an employer doesn't meet those expectations, they can (and will) tell scores of cohorts with one click of the mouse, while they network their way into the next phase of their career. As travelers and guests, Millennials will continue to expect access to sophisticated technology (after all, they've grown up with ATM access on every corner). They will support hotels and restaurants that cater to their sensibilities and preferences: connected, socially inclusive, eco-sensible and progressive.
For companies that haven't already begun their evolution, be ready: the Millennials are coming, and this time it's not all hype.