Arena Futures

Growing into 2021

Arena Futures was launched in 2020 to help the younger generations and those new to the industry to build connections, develop their skills and grow within their careers.   Whilst Arena Futures physical events are currently ‘on pause’ we were delighted to kick-off 2021 with a free virtual event. Growing into 2021 welcomed speakers Katy Moses, Managing Director, KAM Media and the Arena Futures committee who provided industry knowledge and insight for the year ahead.  Read on to discover some insights from Karis Thomas, the Chairman of Arena Futures...

Event Review

by Karis Thomas, Chairman, Arena Futures

Arena Futures, the division of Arena set up to support younger generations and those new to their hospitality career, launched last week (11th February) with their first virtual event, titled ‘Growing into 2021’. The seminar was supported by KAM Media and hosted by KAM Media MD, Katy Moses, alongside members of the Arena Futures committee; Ellen Potts & Natalie Tuckwood of ISS, Victoria Joseph of William Murray PR & Marketing and myself, Arena Futures chair and Upfield employee.

Providing an insight into trends under the banners ‘The post-pandemic consumer’ and ‘Gen Z, your future customer’, the event was geared towards the next generation of hospitality employees and provided an insight into the millennial and Gen Z generation of customers.

Over 80 people tuned in via Zoom, including an audience of Gen Z and millennials who were new to Arena, combined with many existing Arena members and familiar faces. Thank you to everyone who attended and if you missed it don’t worry as there’s a link to the recording below.

Whilst I’ve got your attention, I’d like to explain the purpose of Arena Futures. For those who have attended Arena events either as a one-off or regularly pre-pandemic, you will be familiar with the supportive network that exists within the sector and will have experienced first-hand how beneficial networking can be to both your career and business. I’m sure we can all call out the names of friends we’ve met over a drink and some delicious food through Arena networking.

However, there’s no denying that for someone who’s first foray into networking is to attend one of the existing Arena events, to find themselves amongst a closely-knit group where most people are well established in their careers and seemingly everyone knows each other, it can be a little intimidating. Especially for the introverts amongst us.

That’s why we set up Arena Futures in partnership with Arena to ensure that people who are new to the industry (either through age or a career change), have the opportunity to connect with others, develop their skills and grow within their careers before attending a main Arena event. This secondary network is not about ageism or exclusivity, it is a platform to bridge the gap between new and existing Arena members and therefore to protect the future of our network.

Existing Arena members are of course welcome to attend Futures events, but we ask that for every event you attend, you invite two to three new people who you think would benefit from this new proposition, especially whilst they can get to know us from the comfort of their own homes.

I am sure you’re also reading this to get an insight into the content of the event itself and therefore it’s worth me picking out a few useful insights from the presentation for those who missed it live:

  • It’s no doubt that to describe 2020 as ‘challenging’ is an understatement, particularly where our industry is concerned. With long-term closures posed upon pubs, restaurants and hotels, and restrictions and differing demands impacting care homes, hospitals, and schools, we’ve all had to adapt.
  • The future of foodservice may look slightly different. Whilst money will be tighter and consumers have become accustomed to taking hospitality into their homes, the returning consumer will be looking for more tech-enhanced experiences and their focus on health & wellbeing will be magnified.
  • Many 2019 trends have almost been ‘held’ and are set to return, from a conscious approach to sustainability to increased demand for plant-based foods.
  • With 23% of Gen Z’s (those born mid 90’s-2010) spending more than seven hours on their phone each day, your future consumer will be especially tempted by these tech experiences including online ordering, review searching and contactless payments – alongside the more ‘fun’ technological ideas you may have.
  • The future consumer also has a different relationship with alcohol – Gen Z’s tend to seek more ‘low and no’ alcohol alternatives – and tend to be influenced by ethics and sustainability even more than generations before. Social media is a useful platform for communicating consciously with these consumers.

Whilst the trends presented by KAM Media were data-led, what’s perhaps equally as useful is to understand how we, as a committee of millennials and Gen Z’s have personally witnessed these trends emerge within our own lives and the ways in which we have interacted with hospitality outlets over the past year, as well as what we expect for the short-term future. To save me having to watch myself back on video to recall what we said, I recommend you tune in yourself for more!

You can find the full video recording here

And whilst you’re at it, please do click and follow us on LinkedIn.

Thanks for reaching this far, can’t wait to see you again!