Over the last few years, the UK has grappled with a significant cost of living crisis, impacting individual and families across the nation. Among those feeling the squeeze most acutely are the Gen-Z demographic, who find themselves increasingly constrained in their ability to spend on leisure and entertainment. 

With rising expenses in essentials like housing, utilities, and transportation, disposable income for leisure activities has dwindled, particularly among younger individuals who are also burdened with student loan debt and stagnant wages. As a result, many feel they are being priced out of experience which were once within reach. 

In a recent article in The Telegraph, one student shared how they felt “people of my age are definitely being priced out of fun”, a sentiment we found reflected when speaking to Birmingham City University students who visited our studio this month. With many not experiencing the night life and socialising that previous generations enjoyed during their student years.


For brands in the hospitality industry, understanding and adapting to these shifting consumer behaviours is not just crucial to survival but for continued success and relevance.

So how can brands in the hospitality industry navigate this challenging landscape and remain attractive to a demographic that is increasingly cautious about spending? Here are some strategies to consider:

Value based offerings

In times of financial uncertainty, consumers priories value for money. Brands can adapt by offering affordable yet high quality experiences that resonate with the younger demographic. This could include discounted packages, happy hour specials or loyalty programs that reward frequent visits.

Flexible pricing structures

Recognising that not all consumers have the same budget, brands can implement flexible pricing structures that cater to various income levels. This might involve tiered pricing options or customisable packages that allow customers to tailor their experience to fit their budget.

Embrace technology

Leverage technology to streamline operations and reduce costs, allowing for more competitive pricing without compromising on quality. This could include implementing self-service kiosks, mobile ordering apps, or digital marketing strategies to reach and engage with younger customers where they spend most of their time – online. 


Community engagement

Foster a sense of community and belonging by hosting events, workshops, or social gatherings that appeal to the interests and values on the Gen-Z demographic. By positioning your brand as more than just a place to spend money but as a hub for connection and enrichment, you can build loyalty and encourage repeat business. 

Innovative experiences

Think outside the box and offer unique and Instagram-worthy experiences that create buzz and drive foot traffic. Whether it’s themed pop-up events, immersive dining experiences, or interactive installations, capturing the attention and imagination of the younger demographic can differentiate your brand from competitors and justify the expenditure. 

Partnerships and collaborations

Collaborate with other businesses or influencers to create mutually beneficial partnerships that expand your reach and appeal to new audiences. This could involve co-hosting events, cross-promotional campaigns, or exclusive product collaborations that generate excitement and attract attention.


Educational opportunities

Position your brand as a source of education and empowerment by offering workshops, tastings, or classes that teach valuable skills or knowledge. By providing value beyond the immediate experience, you can justify the expenditure and cultivate a loyal customer base. 

In conclusion while the cost of living crisis in the UK presents significant challenges for brands in the hospitality industry, it also offers opportunities for innovation and adaptation.

By understanding the changing needs and preferences of Gen-Z (as well as your wider audience segments), we can implement strategics to provide value, flexibility and unique experiences. Brands can not only weather the storm but emerge stronger and more relevant in the long run.