Pub Leaders Summit 2021 keynote speaker Michael McQueen imparted a resounding message for the more than 250 hospitality leaders to view every step of recovery in the industry with fresh eyes.

It was a message that echoed throughout the day in attendee conversations and Q&A, panel and presentation sessions at Doltone House Darling Island on Monday.

McQueen, a multi-award winning speaker, trend forecaster and bestselling author of eight books, presented an engaging and popular address regarding post-crisis trends. He told the audience to “follow the tides, not waves of change” as he encouraged everyone to find the underlying effects from the pandemic on the new consumer, rather than following the first big trend that may be irrelevant a short while later.

He identified three key trends for hoteliers to be aware of: acceleration of automation; the post-millennial marketplace; and the empowered customer.

Under the acceleration of automation he advised the audience to analyse different technological benefits to help streamline service and payment methods. He said the pandemic forced many businesses to completely shift to cashless payments and identified it as something that will become more relevant as 2021 progresses.

McQueen also outlined his thoughts on the post-millennial marketplace. He said with so many new applications in the digital sphere, new marketing opportunities have presented themselves to attract the younger generation, who would otherwise miss the majority of traditional advertising.

“Finding a way to communicate with the millennial cohort is crucial, if you have millennial kids or staff and call them they likely won’t pick up, instead they’ll deny it then text you after. Even those of you who are using email campaigns to send out updates and special deals. Every month, you’ll find that to many millennials and Gen Z kids, that message is not getting through,” he said.

“For them, it’s Instagram or Facebook messenger, particularly Instagram messenger. That’s what they are on and opening constantly as we start to think about the implications of this around how we communicate with that side, that millennial cohort. If we look at the post-millennial marketplace however, the generation Z grew before we knew it.

“The numbers as a percentage of our population, show 35 per cent globally are Gen Z. And they cash up $143 billion of combined consumer spending power. For them, everything is on their phones. So again, unless campaigns and notifications are designed with video as the primary way of getting through to their phones, don’t bother. That’s exactly where they’re hanging out and how they get engaged with content.”

McQueen also outlined the Gen Z consumer passion for equity and sustainability. He said for them it’s a non-negotiable thing, it is part of their core values and for publicans, it offers a unique marketing tool if used effectively.

The empowered customer is another trend McQueen analysed. He outlined how the new consumer uses technology, particularly Gen Z, will play an integral part to the review and popularity of a venue. As younger generations no longer use feedback pages instead posting their reviews on social media, when picked up by their followers, they can completely change the image of a venue or brand.

At each stage of his presentation, he reiterated that a new consumer has emerged from the pandemic and for venues, unless management looks at each stage of their rebuild with fresh eyes and “fundamentally rethinks their idea of hospitality,” they will struggle to recover. As he exited the stage he left the room of attentive ears this:

“Use times of challenge to do things we wouldn’t otherwise do.”

This message was picked up by many industry leaders, who used their insight to share how they viewed the crisis as a chance to change various facets of pub operations, including F&B, asset assessment, bottle shop management and more.

More highlights and content from the fifth annual Pub Leaders Summit will be revealed in the coming weeks via Australian Hotelier magazine and online.

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