Nearly a million people were born in 2000 in the United Kingdom and today, they will be in their early 20’s, taking their school leaving certificate exam and starting their careers. They are the so-called Generation Z – and the future of today’s economy. Together with Generation Y, born after 1980, they will set the pace for tomorrow’s market and are therefore driving businesses to rethink strategies. This has an immense impact on areas such as company structures, work models, and even down to the smaller details like working in meeting spaces. The latter will particularly play a decisive and key role in the daily work flows of the future, not only for businesses, but also for hotels that offer seminar and conference rooms. To find out why and how you can already prepare the perfect meeting space for conferences, read more below.

Different expectations, different values

For those who want to make their hotel future-proof, just as with any type of enterprise, one must meet the demands and criteria of their business customers and guests. Today, it is well know that the work world is changing from the ground up, and on the job, value is added by very different factors than for the Baby Boomers and Generation X. While Baby Boomers and GenX use cell phones and apps, their user behaviour completely differs from that of their successors, Generations Y and Z, who live in the internet rather than simply go online. Linear TV and lexica are out of step for Gens Y and Z – video streaming and binge watching or asking Siri or Google are their modus operandi. Now, New Media are not just a part of their daily life, rather, they are their daily life. So what does this generational shift mean for the work locations and meeting spaces of the future?

In order to answer these questions, it is necessary to examine the needs of Generations Y and Z. These generations value a work-life balance. They want to fulfil a purpose on the job. They want to be a part of a well-functioning and harmonious team. And they want to apply their core competencies in the digital arena. In relation to meeting spaces, this means: young business clients expect more than comfortable chairs and a clear view of the speaker or the podium. The key concepts that should influence your meeting space design are interactivity, digitalisation, flexibility, and environmentally-friendly facilities.

The meeting space as smart room

It’s a known fact that digitalisation not only changes how employees use hardware and software, but also affects how they organise meetings. Despite all the options emails, chats, and videoconferencing offer, face-to-face communication remains indispensable in today’s work world. However, to meet the requirements of these new generations, this reality must change drastically, in order to ensure the most effective long-term results as possible. For you as hotel owner, this means you must continue to develop your conference room infrastructure and adjust these spaces to the digital demands of the future market. This is the only way to guarantee the optimum meeting space.

It is not too early to make the meeting space of the future into today’s reality. In doing so, it is recommendable to focus on the key concepts of interactivity, digitalisation, flexibility and environmental-friendliness. Digitalisation is of utmost priority in designing state of-the-art meeting spaces. The perfect conference, seminar or convention space shall be equipped with a comprehensive up-to-the-minute media facility. Interactive monitors, a good Wi-Fi internet connection, and a simple networking of mobile devices (key word, Internet of Things) are all now basic features. Make sure that your meeting space has uninterrupted access to all media, supporting your guests to ensure the most productive work session as possible. In other words: turn your meeting space into a state-of-the-art smart room. Because that is what your business guests want in 2019.

More is more – the multifaceted meeting space of the future

Interactivity is closely tied to digitalisation. Younger Gen Y and Z employees, in particular, value harmonious and effective team work. Therefore, your meeting space should be arranged in such a way as to enable seamless and easy interaction between the attendees of a talk or a presentation. For instance, rows of seats like at university are a no-no for the modern meeting space. Instead, think open space design, and a seating arrangement that allows all participants to see and interreact with one another.

Multifunctionality and flexibility are the magic words of the day for your perfect meeting space. Not only offer seminar participants or talk attendees a large variety of technical tools, but also the chance to network with each other and connect to the world wide web. In addition, add value to your conference room design by transforming your meeting spaces into an oasis of wellbeing, keyword: work-life balance, since the slogan “live to work” no longer resonates with today’s young employees. Instead, this new generation prefers to balance work stress with relaxation. The wellbeing factor of your meeting space is therefore an essential consideration.

Environmentally friendly, accessible, and sustainable meeting spaces

For your conference room to provide an uninterrupted, productive and a comfortable work space, you should focus on visual design, even when that means renovating your locations or even building them again from scratch. Aside from accessibility, environmentally friendly and sustainable facilities will be a priority for your business customers of the future. When choosing your arrangement, design elements and interior space, use building materials that meet stringent environmental and sustainability standards.

To enable your guests to work productively in your meeting space, it makes sense to incorporate optimal lighting into your design concept. Room lighting tastefully adjusted to the time of day is another factor which helps all meeting participants remain focused, guaranteeing not only effective and productive collaboration, but also guest satisfaction. And happy guests are the most important thing for making your hotel future proof.