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The Rise of Gen Z – Making Your Events Attractive to the Next Wave of Attendees

The Rise of Gen Z

Move over Millennials…Generation Z is entering the world of work and becoming a valuable subset of consumers ripe for targeting. Representing those born between 1995 and 2015, your attendees aged 18-24 are members of Gen Z, and they have specific needs that are different to their older counterparts. 

A new study carried out by market research firm Attest, looked at the feelings, motivations and behaviours of Gen Z and uncovered some interesting findings. In this article we’ll look at what those learnings mean for your events and how you can create experiences that will better resonate with this demographic.

1.Gen Z is addicted to social media

More than 60% of Gen Z openly admit they are addicted to social media. They like to chronicle their lives with photos and videos, so be sure your event provides some choice photo opportunities for your attendees’ Instagram feeds.

Consider having a fun photobooth or selfie station at your exhibit booth where attendees can take snaps to upload to social media bearing your event branding. Design a bespoke Snapchat geofilter for even more branded photo opportunities. Install a social media wall to display posts made with your event hashtag and use an audience engagement tool that lets people comment on and share presentation slides.


Social media should also play a big role in your pre-event marketing if you want to appeal to attendees aged under 25. Your strategy should include tactics like Facebook Live or Twitter broadcasts, pre-recorded videos for IGTV and Instagram Stories, and Instagram and Facebook ticket contests.

2.Gen Z often feels stressed

A staggering 73% of Gen Z say they often feel stressed. Consequently, event organisers targeting this demographic should do everything they can to make their event experience as stress-free as possible. One way to reduce friction is by introducing RFID bracelets or badges.

We all know how stress-inducing standing in long queues can be, but RFID streamlines check-in and can seriously speed up entry. With RFID, attendees simply wave their wristband or badge over a sensor to get in. The tech can provide easy access to zones and sessions and seamlessly handle re-entry for multi-day events.

Gen Z often Feels Stressed

Credit card information can also be stored on RFID bracelets, so attendees can pay for food, drinks and merch with a wave of their arm. Eliminating cash at your event is another way to cut lines and improve the attendee experience.

3.Gen Z feels less accepted by society

Of all the demographics, Gen Z is the one most likely to worry about fitting in. Although most are confident about their place in society, a significant 16% said they do not feel accepted. Event organisers wanting to attract young people should therefore aim to make their events as inclusive as possible.

Gen Z Feels Less Accepted By Society

Think about how you can make your event accessible for people with disabilities or mental differences, like autism. Take a positive and welcoming attitude towards members of the LGBTQ community and make provisions for attendees with special dietary requirements like vegans, or the growing number of non-drinkers (research shows more than a quarter of 16 to 24-year-olds do not drink).

Aim to be representative - will attendees see someone or something they relate to on stage? Ensuring panels, lineups and programmes represent a diverse range of backgrounds, identities and opinions is crucial. You can enable your audience to have a say in your event programming by, for example, inviting them to vote on potential speakers or topics on Facebook.

4.Gen Z welcomes personalization

While older folks might find it creepy to receive an offer for a store on their phone as they pass it, the younger generation is open to this form of personalization - more than 70% agree it’s helpful.

RFID badges or bracelets that store attendee data make all sorts of personalization possible. For example, you can have LED displays that welcome delegates by name as they approach, or alert attendees when someone they wish to network with is nearby.

Engagement is super important to Gen Z, so consider using a system like Visit by GES, which makes your event completely interactive. Utilising smart badges with ‘Touch-to-Collect’ microchips, attendees can collect digital information as they move around your event and exchange contact details with other participants.

Gen Z Welcomes Personalization

5.Gen Z want enriching experiences

Enriching ExperienceYoung people might traditionally have a reputation for partying, but this new generation is breaking the mould. A staggering 79% say they would rather have a quiet night in than a big night out. This doesn’t mean they’re not interested in getting out and about, rather that they’re looking for experiences that don’t revolve around drinking. Try making your booth fun and inviting with graphics, videos and experiences that differ from other booths.

We already looked at the growing number of teetotallers in this demographic, which tells us that it’s no longer enough to simply provide music and alcohol at events. To be a hit with Gen Z, make sure your event has a good selection of activities - from hands on workshops to opportunities to try something new, it’s important to give people under 25 something to tell their friends about.

If you need any help with your event, exhibition or trade show contact GES for help!

In conclusion

With their enthusiasm for social media and their openness to technology, Gen Z represents one of the most exciting demographics for event organisers to target. Aim to create conversations with your young attendees that allow them to shape your event content. Delivering that content in a way that is both personalized and fun will delight this age group, as well as many others.