The ABCs of Gen Z: navigating the incentive travel workplace

SITE’s recent webinar highlights the preferences of young leaders in the industry.

Immersive experiences such as cooking classes are welcomed.
Immersive experiences such as cooking classes are welcomed. Photo Credit: Adobe stock/anon

SITE’s recent webinar, The ABCs of Gens XY&Z: Navigating Today's Incentive Workplaces, featured contributions from SITE Young Leaders, a global community of industry professionals aged 35 years or younger with less than five years of experience in the incentive travel industry. They shared what excited them the most in their workplace and what agendas they are pursuing with clients.

The panel included:

· Sylvie Nador, director of planning at DMC, IMS Vienna Budapest Prague

· Dhruv Razdan, director of Delhi-based DMC, Razdan Holidays

· Even Christman, co-founder and creative leader at Smashouse, based in the US

· Nataly Horan, executive VP, eGroup Communications and The X-change MICE Conferences, based in the US.

Not just cocktails and dinners

Horan pointed out how immersive activities are getting more popular. “Instead of just night after night of sitting at a dinner with somebody playing music on the side, groups want more activities,” said Horan. “It's not just a cocktail reception anymore. Are we doing a cooking class, an immersive art experience? Is there a theatrical performance? I don't think my generation wants to sit at cocktail receptions and dinners night after night.”

Flexible working hours

The sector is proving attractive as a career because of the potential for more flexible hours and home working. This flexibility was seen as particularly important when considering that incentive travel is not a typical 9 to 5 workday.

Sustainability in hotel contracts

Sustainability has moved up the agenda and clients are ‘finally getting really behind it’. “We’re finally able to convince our clients that this is something we need to work into our hotel contracts,” said Christman. “This means, for example, whether we are printing or not printing things and the increasing use of apps.”

Shorter video formats

The panel also debated why delegates are so attached to technology, highlighting their need to seek content and be entertained.

“Since the advent of TikTok, shorter video formats have become much more popular and it’s now gone to Instagram users,” said Razdan. “People are consuming so much content, in such a fast way that they don't have the patience to sit down and have the space of mind where they can consume the content and have emotions about it. This could impact our experiences.”

Mentors must be open to share

Mentors are also seen as a vital source of support for those looking to the incentive industry as a career - the more open mentors are to share, the better.

“I have so many mentors and I am not afraid to ask them questions or text them - people want to help because they are excited to share their knowledge, whether it's about hotels or destinations,” said Horan.