Age Matters: How Different Generations View Hospitality Annoyances

Critical generational differences in hospitality expectations are both rife and highly nuanced. The latest GO Technology report from Zonal, powered by CGA by NIQ, sheds light on the distinct frustrations and needs of various age groups, and provides signposts for venue operators to multiply consumer satisfaction and loyalty.
Download the report here

Consumer frustrations with bars, pubs, restaurants and other similar venues vary significantly across different age groups. For this reason, understanding the generational divide in hospitality expectations is crucial for venues aiming to appeal to diverse clienteles, while maintaining service standards satisfactory to different age groups.


Guests aged 65 and above are notably more sensitive to speed and service quality issues, including:


  • Long waits for service – Older customers are 15pp (percentage points) more likely than average to be very annoyed by long waits for food and drinks.
  • Cold food – They are also more likely to be frustrated by hot food being served cold.
  • Broken promises – This age group heavily over-indexes for annoyance at broken promises, such as unfulfilled special deals or loyalty discounts.


Couple their high likelihood of voicing complaints with their inherent loyalty, it’s clear addressing these concerns can significantly nurture customer retention among older patrons.


Conversely, younger guests aged 18 to 25 tend to prioritise technological efficiency and hassle-free digital interactions, such as booking and payment. For example, younger customers are 5pp more frustrated if they’re unable to amend bookings online and 10pp more annoyed if they can’t split bills.


Their digital savvy is accompanied by expectations for tech-enabled convenience, emphasising the importance for venues to integrate robust online booking systems and flexible payment options to meet the demands of tech-native younger customers.


But it’s not just younger generations who can be put off before arrival at a venue. In fact, more than four in five (82%) consumers in general say they take action and vote with their feet if frustrated before a visit. This demonstrates how previsit issues such as out-of-date online menus and booking problems can deter potential guests, leading to missed sales opportunities.


Similarly, common in-visit annoyances like long waits and cold food can severely impact customer loyalty, with 61% of affected guests saying they wouldn’t return to the venue.


For these purposes, addressing such bugbears promptly and effectively can transform disgruntled customers into raving fans, earning customer loyalty and boosting brand reputation.


Karl Chessell, Director – Hospitality Operators and Food, EMEA underlines the relevance of these insights: “Understanding the diverse needs and expectations of different age groups is crucial for venues looking to grow cross-generational businesses. This is why a combination of excellent service and technology is key to bridging the generation gap in hospitality. Plus, venue operators can improve customer experiences, encourage loyalty and drive growth by addressing other frustrations highlighted in the report.”


The ‘Fixing peoples hospitality bugbears’ report from CGA and Zonal provides many more insights into consumers top frustrations and annoyances in hospitality – and how to fix them. Click here to download the full report for free. 


GO Technology is based on an exclusive survey of 5,000 nationally representative British consumers. To discuss the research and ways CGA by NIQ helps businesses drive loyalty, email Client Director Andy Dean at    

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