credit James Lewis for SXSW


Resy at SXSW 2023: What We Heard, Learned and How It’s Shaping the Future of Dining and Travel


On Monday, March 13, 2023 Resy CEO Alex Lee joined travel and leisure industry experts at Austin’s South by Southwest Festival for Boarding Now: The New Consumers Redefining Travel, the kick-off panel for the conference’s new-for-2023 Travel track.

Moderated by Ana Kreacic, Chief Knowledge Officer of Oliver Wyman and COO of the firm’s think tank the Oliver Wyman Forum, the panel centered around the Forum’s Modern Renaissance Report, based on more than two years of research and over 150,000 voices representing over half of the global population. The latest insights from the Forum’s research on Gen Z were also discussed.

“For businesses that can tap into the new zeitgeist, there is a world of opportunity ahead,” says Kreacic. “This research can provide inspiration for new market opportunities, and solutions for a new need set.”


To set the stage, ANA KREACIC, CHIEF OPERATING OFFICER OF THE OLIVER WYMAN FORUM, shared top takeaways from the Gen Z population surveyed:

  • On Identity. Gen Z is clearly the most generation. The most global, the most digital savvy, the most diverse, and the most non-conformist.
  • On Travel Patterns. They are signaling a “strong yes” to more travel, reinvented experiences, technological innovation that simplifies and streamlines travel, hyper personalization and a willingness to share data to unlock this personalization.
  • On Habits. In summary, Gen Z is not willing to pull back on travel and leisure.

Then Kreacic engaged three industry leaders to hear how they are meeting the changing needs of their own customers. Comments have been edited for length and clarity.



  • On Meeting Consumers’ Needs. Resy seeks to inspire people who love restaurants. We are creating an ecosystem for where this micro inspiration can happen.
  • On Digital Innovation. Great digital experiences are ones that allow you to spend less time in the process. People come to our digital platform to solve the question – and often anxiety – around the question, “Where should I eat?” Innovation, for us, is a digital journey that gets people to their answer quickly and expertly.
  • On AI. AI predicts your behavior based on your routines. Take me as an example: I order pizza every Friday for my young children, so if I’m looking for a Friday night restaurant reservation, AI would probably predict I want pizza – but I’d actually be looking for the exact opposite of that. There are many potentially useful ways that predictive technology can be applied to the restaurant business, but when it comes to restaurant recommendations – I think you’ll only get so far with a bot, you will still rely on your social network and human-curated expert resources, like Resy.

    Resy’s CEO and CMO discuss SXSW takeaways on LinkedIn, watch here.


  • On Loyalty that Resonates. The more you show yourself authentically as a company, the more you cultivate loyalty.
  • On Communication. A company’s communications should be a conversation with their customers, not corporate jargon.
  • On Simplifying the Customer Experience. Consumers – especially younger ones – are demanding a more simplified travel experience. This often entails focusing on streamlining technology and travel-related tech experiences
  • On Authenticity in Marketing. Marketing as we know it has completely changed. Being real on social media is crucial if you want to reach an audience that feels connected and understood. Posting something that’s formulaic and packaged on a platform like Instagram won’t land. Instead, show real behind-the-scenes content.



  • On Building Trust. During the pandemic, travelers felt a lack of trust and clarity when it came to airport safety so building trust with customers became more crucial than ever. In an effort to prove that DFW was safe, the team seeked out a global certification from a third-party validator. The airport rebuilt its strategic plan and messaging, focusing on building trust with both employees and travelers.
  • On Accessing Customer Data. Airlines have rich data on customer history and their experiences. Airports, however, have more data on infrastructure. Learning more about your customers helps you decide what kinds of experiences you want to and can offer them.