Teens crave face-to-face experiences when visiting hospitality venues

By Rebecca Weller

- Last updated on GMT

Teens crave in-person interaction: 55% of those surveyed would rather meet friends face-to-face as opposed to virtually
Teens crave in-person interaction: 55% of those surveyed would rather meet friends face-to-face as opposed to virtually

Related tags Technology Social media Branding + marketing

Technology and social media played a key part in attracting younger people to hospitality venues, but most teenagers craved in-person interaction, new research from hospitality tech firm Zonal has shown.

The research, conducted by Trajectory on behalf of Zonal, showed 69% of the 500 teenagers surveyed believed tech had a positive impact on society and 57% believed they won’t use cash to pay in shops or restaurants when they are an adult.

However, over half (55%) of the 13 – 17-year-olds preferred to spend time with friends face-to-face and in-person interaction as opposed to online, despite having grown up surrounded by technology and social media.

Zonal group product director Alison Vasey said: “Over the course of the pandemic, the hospitality sector has shown remarkable resilience and adaptability, responding to new customer and societal demands.

“This report highlights today’s teenagers will increasingly expect technology excellence as an integral part of their hospitality experience.”

Memories are better in person 

Despite craving in-person interaction, technology played a key part in attracting future guests as 42% of teenagers who used social media hourly said they would choose venues to visit based on what they saw on friends social media feeds.

Though the most important things to impact teens choices were the quality of the food (63%) closely followed by the cost (52%).

One 15-year-old who took part said: “It’s better to be in person. I feel like my memories are better when it’s in person”, while a 17-year-old added: “Facetime is the next best thing, but it doesn’t beat in-person.”

Zonal also canvassed the opinions of 18 to 25-year-olds who work in hospitality, which highlighted the potential for technology’s increasing role behind the scenes.

For example, one young hospitality worker suggested utilising voice-activated technology, such as the shopping list feature on Google Home or Alexa: “When you’re doing stock ordering, there is always one item you forget.

Social interaction and experiences 

“If during the shift, you throw away your last bottle of vodka, you could add that to your Alexa shopping list immediately as opposed to waiting until the end of your shift, that would be useful.”

Many teens were also conscious about how their data was used, as more than half of those surveyed thought businesses should only use data in order to advertise products, services and offers.

Vasey added: “At Zonal, we have developed a range of business solutions that support the operator and customer journey, we continue to innovate and create solutions that will benefit the sector for years to come and ensure any technology enables customers to enjoy face-to-face social interaction and experiences that every generation craves.”

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