In a recent Skift article, a number of hotel CEOs discussed their biggest technology challenges, and the rapid pace of innovation change topped the list. This also includes the guests’ changing behaviors and attitudes when new opportunities for enhanced engagement present themselves.
The second challenge is less about technology and more about people. We are seeing a seismic shift where Millennials are embracing more of the new sharing economy, while always being tethered to their smartphones.
Conversely, Baby Boomers and Gen-Xers seem to prefer more human interactions and tend to have more discretionary with their money to pay for travel experiences.
So, how can a hotel brand bridge the gap while meeting the divergent needs of these groups? It would seem that a “one size fits all approach” to innovation would not be optimal.
Developing innovations that provide highly personalized offers and information is a solid first step. By taking a data-driven approach – from booking to check-out to beyond – it is possible to leverage new innovations that enhance personalization, which ultimately increases guest loyalty and overall revenues.
For highly diverse generations, this often starts with tools that anticipate guests’ specific needs before they even arrive. If it is a Millennial guest, perhaps it is an offer for free music downloads, where the Baby Boomer may appreciate a gift certificate for a nice off-premise restaurant more.
While bridging the ever-expanding generational gap may be very challenging, it is possible for hoteliers to develop different experiences for each type of traveler.
Once this is achieved, hotels can experience long-term brand loyalty from the widest demographic: everyone.