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Understanding the 'Generations' of travel - Part 4: The Generation X.
By Jeroen Gulickx
Saturday, 24th May 2014
 

Exclusive Feature: You are probably excited to read about Generation X, after having read about the Generation Jones, they are the feisty ones, quick decision makers, without paying too much attention to the budget and where the hospitality has serious challenges convincing them to choose just their brand over others, and even more to keep them loyal.

The Generation X is the tolerant, but skeptical generation. The generation is perhaps the first generation that caused many journalists, writers, and researchers to look into all the generations in the first place.

This article, the fourth one in range is about a generation, which has experienced an incredible amount of significant, historic, social and cultural events in their teen years.
Just to name a few, the mobile phone was developed, as well as the Sony Walkman, CNN was launched, AIDS was discovered and the first artificial heart was implanted. They were also not kept from wars like Iran & Iraq, or the terrorist attack on Pan Am. 

All in all you can say that the Generation X grew up in a time of uncertainty, many, perhaps too many inventions and discoveries took place whilst social freedom was key. This social and mental freedom, resulting in a steep increase in divorces, insecure jobs, redundancies started to be the power word for stockholders, and high educated and expensive employees are being replaced by inexperienced youngsters, for financial reasons mainly. The introduction of the Laptop by IBM, made work also possible on business trips and stimulated work at home and in the evening, leaving this generation with considerably less time to socialize.

Ownership is important for this generation, they have a need for self-esteem, much more so than the previous generations, but also they need the security.  This mostly results in a clear shift in the working situation at home, where now both partners need to work to generate the incomes associated with home owning.

Deloitte takes Generation X a step further and defines the in’s. The in’s are defined as worthy and respect, facts, do it because it makes sense, streamlined and efficient.

Within hospitality, the Generation X are considered learners, and the educated ones; they go the extra mile to get the best value for money, the highest quality. Travel should be affordable yet fashionable. They have an amazing ability to take in a lot of information in a short time, and read all information available about the place they are visiting, the trip they are booking, or the details of the executive suite. They feel opportunity.

Generation X
Born 1966-1980

Characteristics
Independent, Selfgoing, Cautious, Family, Today
Key words: Educated, Skeptical, Experienced, Informal

The .com and MTV generation
They like a challenge, several projects at the same time, not an issue. As opposed to the previous generation, generation Jones, they are not so outspoken, as they are exact; they need to have analysis before opinion.

Technology is key in this generation, they really are the drivers of technology and have an amazing understanding of a wide variety of machines, programs and applications that have been developed and launched in these years.
It is the first generation that was educated at school with computers, and started sharing video games with friends after school, producing a clear shift from exercise and play to the explosion of information and visuals available from TV and games.

MTV is another significant movement that is currently fading away, or rather being replaced. There was no household that would not play music through the TV station, letting opinions, social behavior and song texts, travel freely through the living rooms. Just like technology, paving the way for open and indirect communication, breakdown of authority, and welcoming flexible gender roles. Not in the least keeping ‘the me’ in key consideration.

The Generation X has focus on results, and they rely on their own abilities. They have seen the incredible downsizing and mergers of corporations, leaving many in the cold. They have experienced cutbacks in social programs, seen the collapse of the Soviet Union, and have respect for their work, and the work/leisure relationship.

Defining Life
The independent generation X wants to be in the driver seat, they want to control the trip they book, the hotel they choose, and don’t mind sharing the experiences within the family and friend surroundings. They are proud of what they reached, and have an educated opinion, about what others present to them. They are extremely technology savvy, being able to control and book according the many standards that have created and the goals they have set themselves.

Flexibility is key in the lives of this generation, for the right amount of money and social value; for example a trip might as well go to Miami, as to Rome. This they reflect at work as well, they want to enjoy, feel appreciated, get results immediately and get the job done.

Since the balance family and work is high on the calendar as well as education, home owning and sports, they tend to watch more carefully than the previous generations what they spend the money on. Often leaving them with less international trips with the family, but still being amongst the biggest business travelers world wide, and the ones to watch. When they spend they spend good.

They love design, the hottest, the newest, and the technology has to be ever changing. Fall behind and you loose this customer. At home they redecorate constantly, or fill the house with new gadgets. They follow the latest trends with online buying and set the tone for what’s coming next. They are catalysts.

Since this generation is assessing life, gets married later, and is extremely playful and intelligent, they make a great customer you can test opinion with, learn from and develop solid and lasting relationships.

Generation X are the quick thinkers, sensible and put emphasis on practical experience. The latter is the platform for many to admire, as there is a well-defined difference between experiencing something for real, or just reading or seeing about it.

The toolkit
Quality, longevity and reliability are the key communicators, in any campaign. They need to be combined with high technical resources but also advantages, like WiFi or free phone calls.

They make decisions based on social or physical value, and need immediate results, the best view, the non-stop flight, and the executive floor.

High style is important combined with modern trendy, yet traditionally values. Marketing programs are important and will drive the client back to the same place.

They like to travel and need options when they choose to feel comfortable and in power of the best experience to come.

Respect and recognition are important, but when they need it they will ask for it, and they will only ask the reliable hotel or airline they chose to travel with in the first place.

Resources:
Bruse Mayhew Consulting, Albright&O’Malley, Boston Consulting, Mckinsey Urbanization, Ethics Resource Centre – Research brief, Dr Rick And Kathy Hicks – Boomers, Xers


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