Big hotel brands have made their mark by providing predictable, consistent stay options to the Gen X or the baby boomers generation as it is popularly called. And this standardization gave them a big advantage over independents and smaller chains who weren’t able to keep up. This was back then, now the millennial trends in hotels are changing in the last century but the Gen Y, popularly known as millennials (born between 1980 and 1999) want the exact opposite experience. They don’t want the same kind of hotel room every time they travel, they are also a mobile first generation and love technology lot more than the previous generation.
“Younger consumers (currently age 17-34) will have more spending power than any other generation by 2017. By 2025, they will make up three-quarters of the workforce” –Deloitte
According to Deloitte, the generation of American adults between ages 18 and 34 numbers 80 million and spends $600 billion a year. Travel spending by Millennials rose 20% in 2010, making them the fastest-growing age segment for travel. And these younger consumers (currently age 17-34) will have more spending power than any other generation by 2017. By 2025, they will make up three-quarters of the workforce—which makes them the most attractive guest segment and the industry is competing hard to capture their business. In this article, we will discuss the top millennial trends that independent hoteliers can adapt to attract more millennials to their properties.
Top Millennial Trends
Invest in a powerful backend, online distribution and booking technology to cater to the tech savvy customer demographic.
Millennials love their gadgets and use technology to research, plan and book their stay. As a hotelier, you have to ensure that guests can book your hotel from anywhere: on your website, through OTAs, recommendation websites and elsewhere. Provide images, reviews, contact details and everything to facilitate their decision to choose you over others. What’s more, they expect to be provided with real-time booking confirmations. Invest in a powerful backend, online distribution and booking technology to cater to this tech-savvy customer demographic.
Hotels with right reviews have little to worry but if your hotel has negative reviews, then it’s time to take control and change things for the better.
Millennials often turn to their peers for reviews before making a decision. And unlike the previous generations, they don’t rely on feedback from friends and family but rely on expert opinion available online. Review sites like TripAdvisor and Yelp are a big hit amongst millennials to get real opinions from travellers who have stayed at these hotels. All the more for independent hotels since they don’t have the advantage big brands have. Hoteliers should respond to both positive and negative reviews proactively. Hotels who have the right reviews have little to worry but if your hotel has negative reviews, then it’s time to take control and change things for the better. If you don’t, your hotel would be skipped by the millennials.
Provide Free high-speed Internet:
Millennials typically carry multiple mobile devices and want to be connected, always. While free internet has been a debated topic in the industry for a while now, most hotels have slowly started providing free internet to their guests. CNN reported that 64 percent of hotel brands already have free Wi-Fi. And if your hotel wants to cater to the millennials, then free Wi-Fi is an absolute must.
Mobile Guest Portals and self-check-in kiosks:
Millennials love technology and would flock to your hotel if you provide them with the right tech tools to play with.
Millennials love technology and would flock to your hotel if you provide them with the right tech tools to play with. Hotels with a self-check-in kiosk or a mobile guest portal are most likely to be frequented by millennials. No wonder, technology first hotels are embracing newer hospitality tech products to engage their customers. Invest in a mobile friendly website/app as millennials prefer booking hotels on mobile.
“Hotel” keyword search is the most popular travel-related keyword searched online and is growing 27% YoY.”
Be a social media pro:
The millennial traveller is a social pro. He updates his hotel check-in, posts pictures of your hotel and good reviews when he is happy and thrashes you when things don’t go right.
The millennial traveller is a social pro. He updates his hotel check-in, posts pictures of your hotel and good reviews when he is happy and also thrashes you on social media when things don’t go right. As a hotelier, if you can engage your guest on social media, you will earn valuable paid media to promote your hotel online. Capitalize on the power and reach of social media to reach your guests’ followers and potential customers.
The older spectrum of the millennial generation is already travelling for business. The line between work and travel has blurred for this generation and they like to work while travelling and vice-versa. Cater to their business needs by providing reliable high-speed internet, charging docks and work spaces throughout the property. Many hotels have aesthetically designed lobbies for business travellers to work or hold meetings.
Communicate with your guests:
Luckily, millennial doesn’t mind a non-human interaction, rather they love to interact virtually both during and after the stay.
Hotels have always faced the challenge of communicating with their guest face to face. Luckily, millennial doesn’t mind a non-human interaction, rather they love to interact virtually both during and after the stay. Sending an automated email a few days prior to guest arrival, during and after the stay is much appreciated. You can send details about what to expect on arrival, weather updates before arrival. On arrival, you can let them know about the facilities available, prominent watering holes nearby, send them special discount coupons for famous attractions in the vicinity or even inform them about on-premise amenities. Asking guests to rate your hotel, at departure is also a great way to get reviews for your hotel. Keep communication channels open and the millennials will reward you with great reviews and incremental upsell revenues.
Provide an authentic local experience to your guests and they will love you for that. Millennials love themed hotels and that’s what sets them apart from the other generations. Millennials also like to try local cuisine and have off-the-beaten-path local experiences. Hotels who integrate unique and local experiences, get more millennial guests.
Loyalty programs that resonate:
Old loyalty programs don’t work anymore. If they don’t remember Bryan Adams’ lyrics, will they remember your hotel’s loyalty programs?
As per the millennial trends, modern traveller is no longer interested in a discounted 2nd-night stay at your hotel. Old loyalty programs don’t work anymore. If they don’t remember Bryan Adams’ lyrics, will they remember your hotel’s loyalty programs? Give them instant gratification- happy hour discounts, complimentary event tickets, experiences which they will remember.
Your hotel has to be different from the flock to grab the attention of the Gen Y, especially since your hotel doesn’t have the backing of a big brand. If your hotel is known for themed rooms, food, energy efficient practices, environment friendliness or socially responsibility, then your hotel will surely resonate with the millennials.
We are keen to know what millennial trends do you follow to attract them to your hotel. Leave your comments in the comment section below.