Is Technological Ageism an Issue in Hospitality?
February 23, 2017 8:46am
By Larry Mogelonsky, MBA, P. Eng. (www.lma.ca)
Ageism has always been a part of our social fabric, but whereas in the past it was standard to venerate the old for their experience and sagacity, nowadays the situation has been flipped somewhat due to the rapid proliferation of technology. With all the new devices, new media and new apps, it has become increasingly difficult for those who are proverbially ‘set in their ways’ and without young, sponge-like brains to keep up.
Much like how we abridge complex social stratifications into ‘the have and the have-nots’, we are likewise experiencing a generational movement with regard to ‘the techies and the tech-nots’. For those who were born into a world where the internet and social media has already been ubiquitous aspects of our environment (circa 1985 and beyond), most digital interactions are readily intuitive. For instance, a tail-end millennial or post-millennial may not know how to code HTML, but give them an hour and they’ll be able to source some great tutorial websites off Google to learn and write a few basic tricks. Infants these days know how to swipe an iPad even before they know how to talk for God’s sake!
Although there are technology-literate boomers amongst us, when considering the entire population in the first world, the trend line shows a strong inverse relationship between age and electronic fluency. Even though I would like to subscribe myself to the minority of boomers who are ‘with it’, it still takes me far longer to grasp the same new concepts and developments that my juniors understand almost instantaneously. And therein lies an opportunity for you to more effectively target and service your elderly clientele.
Technological ageism presents itself in three main areas of guest interaction:
As this is the 16th entry in this series, we’ve already touched upon more than a few ways that the three abovementioned areas have been transformed by digital disruptions. Boomers still respond to print advertisements while expecting them to use Twitter for guest service will be demised in favor of a physically talking to an actual staff member. Despite any technological differences amongst the generations, though, they still have a ton in common. Everyone is in search of new experiences and adventure, and we are looking to our chosen hospitality provider to treat us with the proper level of respect that dollars command.
Accounting for this technological ageism should nevertheless be a top consideration for all advertisements, hotel websites, social networks and on-property devices and staff training. Part of this ‘respect’ also means having empathy for those who are not digitally fluent, being patient with them and providing them with a few ‘luddite’ options.
To conclude, here are a few ways to better market to and satisfy those among us who are not necessarily up-to-snuff with all the latest technological advancements:
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Editor’s note: To discuss business challenges or to discuss speaking engagements please contact Larry directly.
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One of the world’s most published writers in hospitality, Larry Mogelonsky is the owner of Hotel Mogel Consulting Limited and the founder of LMA Communications Inc., an award-winning marketing agency based in Toronto. His experience encompasses hotel properties around the world, both branded and independent, and ranging from luxury and boutique to select-service. Larry also sits on several boards for companies focused on hotel technology. His work includes four books, “Are You an Ostrich or a Llama?” (2012), “Llamas Rule” (2013), “Hotel Llama” (2015) and “The Llama is Inn” (2017). You can reach Larry at firstname.lastname@example.org to discuss hotel business challenges, to inquire about his consulting services or to book speaking engagements.
Contact: Larry Mogelonsky
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