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Why the Youth Views the U.S. Hotel Industry as an Institution rather than an Innovation Vehicle

"Bridging the Gap"

The Imperative of Engaging Youth for the Future of the Hotel Industry


In the dynamic world of hospitality, the hotel industry stands at a critical juncture. As we gaze into the next 25 years, a looming risk overshadows the sector's future: a disconnection with today's youth. This article delves into the necessity of understanding and actively engaging younger generations to sustain and innovate in the hotel industry.

Definition of Capacity Building in the Hospitality and Hotel Industry

Capacity Building in the hospitality and hotel industry refers to the process of developing and enhancing the skills, competencies, and abilities of individuals and communities. This concept is not just about training for current roles; it's about fostering an environment where innovation, creativity, and engagement thrive. It's about preparing the industry not only for today's challenges but for the future's unknowns.

Disengaged Hotel Leader speaking, not changing, losing the guests and the youth's attention
Disengaged Hotel Leader speaking

Recognizing the Generational Gap

A comprehensive 12-month research project has unearthed a significant generational gap in the hotel industry. While millennials (ages 25-45) have found their place, the generation born after 2000, often referred to as "Generation Z," has been largely overlooked. This oversight is critical, as it means the industry has failed to present itself as a rewarding and financially viable career path to this upcoming workforce.

Impact of Youth's Perception on the Industry

The crux of the issue lies in the industry's failure to effectively communicate and engage with this younger generation. Today's youth perceive a gap in the availability of opportunities for rapid advancement, personal reward, and a playful yet impactful work environment - aspects that were more apparent two and a half decades ago. This communication breakdown has led to a low engagement rate among the post-2000 generation, potentially stunting the industry's talent pipeline and capacity for innovation.

The Need for Genuine Capacity Building Measures

There is an urgent need for the hotel industry to implement genuine capacity-building measures. These should be new, innovative programs specifically designed to appeal to and engage younger generations. Such initiatives could include technology-focused internships, mentorship programs, and opportunities for creative expression within the industry.

approachable mentorship, exciting conversations, move mountains, to the stars
Mentors Needed to move Mountains to the Stars

Strategies for Engaging the Youth of Today

To effectively bridge the gap, the hotel industry must adopt new strategies. This includes embracing digital communication channels popular among younger generations, such as social media platforms, and offering experiences that align with their values and lifestyle preferences. Importantly, the guidance and real attention, and listening and responding to a Youth Advisory Board (ours has equal voting rights, and actually advises the board) is crucial in shaping these strategies to ensure they resonate authentically with the target demographic.


The hotel industry stands at a crossroads, where the path chosen today will define its future. Without the active engagement of today's youth and a strategic approach to addressing the generational gap, the industry risks stagnation and a decline in relevance. A collective effort is required to innovate and evolve in ways that resonate with younger generations, thereby ensuring a vibrant and sustainable future for the hotel business.

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