It may feel like Gen Z is still in diapers, but time flies and here’s the reality: the oldest members of this generation are turning 26 this year. They make up the much-coveted consumer demographic of 18-to-26-year-olds, and any business that doesn’t pay attention to their spending and purchasing habits is doing themselves a big disservice. (Well, that may not be entirely true; AARP, we’ll let you off the hook on this one).
Not only are they well into the age for renting venues for events and weddings, but Gen Z accounts for a quarter of the United States population. If they aren’t yet on your radar, you’re way behind the curve.
Here’s the first thing you need to know to attract Gen Z customers – they’re addicted to social media. (That’s not us being old fuddy-duddies, either. More than 60% openly admit to this being true.) If you want to find them, you have to be on social channels. They aren’t reading magazines or even clicking digital ads – they’re scrolling TikTok, Snapchat, and Instagram.
This may be a huge mindset shift for venue owners, who’ve been told for ages that millennials are the only age group that matters. Don’t get us wrong – they still represent a huge chunk of the wedding pie – but Gen Z is coming, they know what they want, and it’s not what you’re used to. If you want them to become the future of your venue, it’s time to expand your marketing repertoire.
Here’s a look at some of the ways you can get Gen Z to say yes to your venue.
A Good Website Is No Longer Enough
According to a recent study, 61% of Gen Zers said they would pay more for better quality, 56% for a better experience, and 50% for convenience. They’re setting a high bar, and it’s up to you as an event venue operator to meet or exceed it.
Let’s apply those ideas to your website. For millennials, your website is everything. They’re all about stunning photography, a well-designed website, and authenticity in marketing. For Gen Z, however, it’s more like a nice-to-have. While 64% told Hootsuite that they would look up a website before visiting in person, a whopping 97% said social media is their top option for searching for options. Gen Z is completely at home with the idea of social commerce, or buying completely within their chosen social platform, and they trust the algorithms to bring them relevant suggestions. (This is why #tiktokmademebuyit is a very real thing.)
To attract Gen Z to your venue, it’s essential to get comfortable with social tech. Learn ways to set up social commerce, and be sure that every CTA on your website is also available on your Instagram account.
A TikTok account we love: The Barn 1906
This whimsical, chic wedding venue in Ontario, Canada, understands TikTok. They’re leading the way with audio CTAs like “Come and get married with us!” and trending sounds that entice viewers to take the next step. (Their Instagram account is on the money, too.)
Use Your Influence(rs)
Gen Z loves a good influencer. And by influencers, we don’t mean movie stars. The celebrities of the future are social media personalities: people who are TikTok famous, or popular YouTubers. Because there are so many niche creators out there, they can be a little difficult to track down. But once you find them, they can be extremely valuable in helping you promote your brand. This works because Gen Z wants to align with influencers that mimic their values – if that influencer supports an organization, those values are in parallel by extension.
An influencer campaign we love: The Bouqs co
In an effort to promote their wedding and retail services, this online flower delivery business hired a team of influencers who had recently gotten engaged to use their services and promote them along their journey. The influencers engaged with Pinterest, Instagram, Facebook, and blogs, producing 50 pieces of content that were then amplified with paid social campaigns.
Share Your Values
In poll after poll, Gen Z has made it clear: They want to do business with companies that share their values, like sustainability, organic food and drinks, and social-justice causes that align with their own beliefs. What does your business stand for? Let them know! Show them that you don’t just offer them the perfect gathering space, but that your overall vision is one of making the world a better place.
One word of caution, however: Your efforts need to be sincere. Gen Z can spot virtue-signaling from a mile away, and they aren’t interested. They want real, authentic communication that doesn’t try to create a world that only exists in a marketing plan. (If you, as a venue, do some discovery and realize that you don’t have any of the values that would attract a Gen Z customer, maybe it’s time to rethink your game.)
Setting the example: Ashford Acres Inn
This charming, historic inn, located near Lexington, Kentucky, was built in 1858 and today serves as a picturesque venue for weddings and other special events. As a member of the Inclusive Kentucky Weddings initiative, the inn’s owner says, “Ashford Acres Inn was built as a wedding present in 1858 and has hosted numerous weddings on-site through the century-and-a-half of its existence. We have continued that tradition on our property since opening in 2016 and have welcomed all couples who wish to exchange vows, as we believe love is always to be equally celebrated among all who are lucky enough to have found it.”
Make Sure Your Venue is Camera-Ready and Content-Worthy
Even when they’re offline, it’s possible to engage your Gen Z audience digitally. Create a space that looks beautiful not only IRL but in photographs as well. Be sure that you offer reliable, high-speed Wi-Fi for live streaming and plenty of photo opps – a red carpet with a step-and-repeat, a fun photo booth, or unique beverage displays are all Insta-worthy.
At the end of the day, Gen Z is looking for an experience, not just an event. They want to be able to connect with the things and people around them, whether that’s through an app or face-to-face. This isn’t to say that your venue needs to give off party, night-club luxe vibes (unless that’s your vibe!) – it just means that you’ll find success by leaning into who you are, owning it, and sharing it with the world on social media.
If you still aren’t convinced: #genzwedding
To see Gen Z in action when it comes to their thoughts on weddings, just take a browse through this hashtag on TikTok. For venue owners who have been catering to older couples for a while, it will likely be an eye-opening scroll. From the up-and-coming trends in bridal fashion to the way Gen Z approaches the most traditional aspects of a wedding (like seeing each other before the ceremony or kissing in front of the crowd), everything about the way we think we know weddings is changing.
Does all this sound great, but you’re not sure how to put it into action?
Our team of designers, writers, and strategists are at your digital disposal. Just drop us a line any time.