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Millennials and Hotels

Hotel Brands: Millennials Are Not What You Think

One of the biggest demographic trends in the hospitality arena is targeting millennials, a generation that seeks out “experience-based” travel opportunities.

From leveraging new mobile innovations to offering more dynamic lobbies for networking, many hotel brands are wisely investing in a new technology and marketing efforts to influence this generation.

Of course, the perception of millennials may not always be what hotel brands think. Although what we often think of millennials as a cohort of people who continually pursue, and invest in authentic experiences, this can reinforce a one-dimensional perception of this generation.

Reality is much more complex.

As highlighted in this recent Marketplace article, millennials are the largest and most diverse generation of Americans, with about 19 percent of them identifying as Latino or Hispanic, 13 percent as black or African-American and six percent as Asian-American.

Adding further to this complexity, a new study shows that many minority millennials lack financial security, and most are actually “losing confidence in the American narrative of pulling yourself up by your bootstraps.”

With this new information in mind, hotel brands may consider new approaches to actually getting to know – and more effectively targeting – millennials in ways that meet their lifestyle and financial expectations. This could include creating more offers and discounts, or even barter arrangements with the more influential millennials on Instagram.

The core takeaway is that everything is not always what it seems. With this in mind, it’s best to invest in strategies that can you help you to better understand this diverse group, then developing the right approaches to influence their booking behaviors.

Hoteliers Appeal to ‘Digital Natives’ with PR-Worthy Innovations

Marriott International recently made headlines with the announcement that it is test launching a new virtual reality system at the New York Marriott Marquis in Times Square and the London Marriott Hotel Park Lane.

Named “VRoom Service,” this new system allows guests to test out a Samsung Gear VR headset for 24 hours in their rooms. The virtual-reality content is comprised of 360-degree 3D videos that take viewers to “Chile’s Andes Mountains, an ice-cream shop in Rwanda and Beijing’s bustling streets.”

On the surface, this seems like an example of today’s PR efforts to come up with the most innovative ideas – in the vein of robotic butlers and other “out of the box” technological services.

However, this effort is different.

When asked why the hotelier is undergoing this product test, Marriott pointed to the need to appeal to ‘digital natives.’ Many people in this demographic fall into the Millennial category, who are very digitally focused and highly connected.

As we have highlighted before, there are many considerations when creating innovations that will when appeal to Millennials. For example, travel planning should incorporate several key features important to this segment of travelers. This could include digital check-in and checkout, and intelligent voice-based searches that understand the rules of the today’s web searching capabilities.

What about virtual reality? Perhaps so … or perhaps not? However, these considerations are critical for truly appealing to and building long-standing loyalty with this generation.

We all know that Millennials will continue to aggressively adopt new and disruptive innovations long before the traditional traveler.  So, to attract Millennials, hoteliers need to provide innovations that meet their diverse needs, which may expand beyond virtual reality.

Millennials Vs. Baby Boomers: The Balancing Act for Hospitality Providers

The topic of catering to the millennial guest is something that is usually top of mind for hoteliers. In many ways, this generation is driving hospitality providers to embrace new innovations, which ultimately benefit all guests.

However, is catering exclusively to the millennial guest a smart business strategy?

It is easy to forget that those individuals over 50 years old, the “baby boomers,” hold the majority of our nation’s wealth. As such, hoteliers should consider the technology adoption challenges that come with this extremely influential demographic.

The reality is that a hotel’s IT plan should have varying degrees of technology to cater to both generations. For example, at check-in, while some millennials want to check-in with a mobile app, boomers might simply want to interact with a human.

In addition, a millennial might find it easier to use a social media tool – like Yelp – for dinner recommendations and reservations, while again, a boomer might prefer gaining these insights from a human concierge.

Of course, the technology adoption differences between these generations are not always black and white. Many boomers are tech savvy, and there are millennials who prefer human interactions.

This points to the need to offer a wide-variety of services that cover both the innovation and human elements of guest interaction. By taking this approach, you can offer a frictionless guest experience based on many services.

While the digital world has disrupted traditional methods of doing business, this does not mean that the old ways of engaging with guests – especially the 50-plus generation – are no longer effective.

Putting all your eggs in one demographic basket may not be the best approach.