The Gen Y is one of the biggest influencers in the world today – in terms of fashion, lifestyle, business and more. The hotel industry is not immune to this trend and is hugely influenced by this generation of fancy, savvy travelers. Born between 1980 and 2000, the Millennial, aged roughly between 20 to 35 years old, make up over one-third of the world’s hotel guests, and that number is expected to reach over 50 percent by 2020.
Taking this into account, it’s only obvious that the hotel industry is changing its game plan to accommodate this fast growing section of travelers. However, we’re not talking about a set of simple tweaks and adjustments. The whole hotel landscape has undergone some huge changes to cater to this generation of travelers looking for seamless, meaningful experiences.
Here is how hotels around the world are catering to Millennials.
Exclusivity is Key
It makes a lot of sense that hotels provide exclusivity to Millennial travelers. After all, they’re also called the Generation Me – a generation preoccupied with themselves and their individualism. They want personalized experiences, service that is quick and efficient, rooms that look lavish and views that are Instagram worthy. Hotels, therefore, are doing all they can to offer customized experiences that cater to the needs and preferences of these travelers. It’s all about making them feel special so they get lifelong loyal customers.
Going Savvy with Technology
This generation is undoubtedly the most tech savvy generation. According to a recent study, 52 percent of them use their smartphones and tablets for bookings, and over 20 per cent have checked in to hotels online. Many hotels now have adopted various technologies to make user experience a seamless one. They understand the travelers need to always be connected to the rest of the world and guarantee free and fast Wi-Fi to their guests. Hotels like HTL Hotels, a Scandinavian hotel group, enable check-in and room access through smartphones. No more worries about losing your room key after an evening of sightseeing and wine tasting!
Social Media Frenzy
According to a survey by the Pew Research Center, U.S., some 88% of 18 to 29 year use social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat and more. Many hotels are now making their presence felt in these social media platforms in an attempt to attract more Milennials. Subtle advertising is the new trend because this generation is put off by aggressive, in-your-face marketing. Making interactive posts, re-posting pictures or replying to pictures of the hotel posted by their guests are some tactics used by many hotels.
Experiences That Offer Meaning
Traveling is all about having new experiences and Millennials like to add meaning to their experiences. They want to remember a trip by more than just sightseeing. The cumulative experience is equally important to them. Little things like a refreshing drink upon arrival, a towel origami on your bed can add a lot to the whole travel experience. Getting on the trend, Hilton Hotel’s Canopy brand welcomes guests with gifts from a local bakery upon arrival and access to local fitness centers and local wine and beer tastings.
Collaboration is the New Way
One of the biggest changes in the hotel industry is the concept of a shared economy. Entrepreneurs collaborate with local homeowners to provide Millennials with an experience that is hugely different from the traditional travel experience. They get to experience the local way of life first hand by staying with hosts in their homes, eating food prepared by them and experiencing a little bit of home away from home in the comfort of a ‘hotel’. Airbnb, one such example, is a widely popular platform that assists travelers in finding accommodation that lets you choose the kind of accommodation you want – independent or with hosts, the location and much more.
Hotels for Rejuvenation
No other generation is so concerned with wellness like the Millennials. With the ever rising stress from work and life in general, more and more Millennials go on wellness vacations to unwind and rejuvenate themselves. More hotels now provide wellness packages that include fitness programs, spa sessions, detox menus, meditation spaces and more. Gone are the days when vacations were all about eating junk without any caution. Millennials are a health conscious generation that does not compromise on health even during their trips.
Apart from being health conscious, Millennials are also very socially and environmentally aware. A lot of Millennial travelers always try to look for hotels that are Eco-friendly, have sustainability programs for energy, water, and other utilities, and efficient waste management techniques. They choose hotels that reflect their values, and hotels have changed to fit their preferences.
The Millennials are a force to be reckoned with in the hotel industry. Their needs and demands are of all kinds – big and small. And if hotels want to be on top of their game, they need to take Millenials and their demands into account.
Ram Gupta, the author is a hotel management graduate from India and Germany; He is a certified Hotel Administrator from U.S. and MIH from U.K. He has over 40 years of sound experience in the Hospitality, real estate industry in India, Dubai, U.K, Europe and Japan and is well versed with all areas of business including acquisitions, mergers, joint ventures, diversification, strategic planning, development and operations. He has been associated with over two dozen luxury and boutique hotel projects and has launched two hotel chains in India. He is currently an independent hotel consultant and could be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org. Website: www.bcgglobal.com
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