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Hotels and Millennials

Marriott Hotels in the UK Crowdsources Innovation Ideas from Millennials

Embracing innovation is much more than just new technologies in a hotel room, or a mobile app that helps to provide a first-rate hotel experience. It is a bigger slice of the pie, such as effectively gathering guest preference data and building this into new systems.

But how does a hotelier effectively gather this information, especially when it comes to the millennial traveler?

Marriott Hotels in the UK asked five British millennial thought leaders – ranging from TV personalities to rugby pros – to share their vision for the hotel room of the future.

As expected, some of the insights were very interesting, to say the least. From an interactive Instagram wall and “selfie sticks” to mind controlled projectors, the room designs are packed full of innovations and technology that reflect the needs and wants of the next generation of traveler.

Now the hotel brand is calling for the public to vote on their favorite elements of the rooms on www.travelbrilliantly.co.uk/guestroom before October 20, 2014.

To further their understanding of the lifestyle habits of the Gen Y traveler, Marriott Hotels in the UK, through a survey, identified the emergence of five Gen Y “personalities” grouped together by similar attitudes, lifestyles and aspirations, which include (courtesy of Hospitality Net):

  1. The Desirable Digerati: Early adopters of all hi-tech gadgetry and digital inventions. These fit, sociable, fashionable males are well travelled and often use their tech prowess to create start-ups.
  2. The Fashionista Mumpreneurs: Fashion forward, savvy, self-employed, likely to have had a career change after having kids to fit around their lifestyle. Big in the blogger sphere and on social media.
  3. The Competitive Challengers: Fitness super-fans who thrive on the challenge of physical competitions from Iron Man to Tough Mudder. Keen sharers on social media, this group travels in packs, always on the look out for adventure.
  4. The Social Media Savvies: Lovers of the Selfie and fans of every social app under the sun, these well-groomed, young and carefree spirits love nothing more than a good party at home or away.
  5. The Financial Foodies: An emerging group of foodie fans who are ditching high powered jobs in the city in search of a fulfilling career in the food industry where they passion can flourish.

By embracing crowdsourcing and tapping into true influencers, Marriott has been able to gain insights on true innovation wants (and needs) from millennials. In addition, the hospitality provider has produced the “holy grail” of millennial definitions to help re-invent the travel experience on a highly customized basis.

We believe that Marriott will pave the way for similar programs in the U.S., which could ultimately help to transform the hospitality arena.



Inside the Mind of the Millennial Hotel Guest

Today’s Millennial Guest is young, digitally focused and highly connected. As such, their expectations for travel are already set as they move through a world full of rapid interactions on mobile devices used to streamline the smallest of tasks in their lives.

The Millennial Guest is also very advanced in using the most cutting-edge social mobility apps and continues to seek new mobile experiences, while quickly retreating from more mature social networks like Facebook. Simply put, they are the early adopters and shape the future development of innovation.

As such, they have high expectations from large hotel brands when it comes to mobility. Millennial Guests demand frictionless access to anything, anywhere, at any time, and quickly abandon experiences where their expectations are not met. In the offline world, these expectations are equally high of all service providers.

Millennial Guests look for and expect digital interactions that share their unique approaches to discovery, planning and acting on intent.

Meanwhile, hoteliers continue to make significant investments to provide Millennial Guests an experience that both delights and creates loyalty. However, in general, the time-to-market for apps is not meeting the expectation of Millennial Guests who are accustomed to seeing new features added in rapid succession rather than receiving a completed app on the first release.

By adjusting expectations and working on initiatives in parallel, apps can be released to Millennial Guests in shorter timeframes, while preserving the overall goal of providing an app that addresses the entire stay-cycle. And, by using behavioral analytics, apps can be modified employing user interaction to augment feature priorities that produce higher utilization with each successive release.

Staying one-step-ahead of the Millennial Guest is no easy task. A hotel brand needs to provide a superior digital experience coupled with high touch service. This will help a hotel win in the battle to capture this audience and in the process, they will learn how to better target Millennial Guests with offers on which they will take action, and generate additional incremental revenue in the process, across the entire stay-cycle.