Attracting Millennial Travelers

#millennials #hospitality #hotels

There’s been a lot of talk about the Millennial market, particularly around the fact that Millennials are device dependent and practice isolated togetherness. New hotel brands have been created to cater to these new travelers including Moxy, Tommie, and Aloft. However, we haven’t yet seen any statistics to show that Millennials have actually taken over the hospitality market. In Teresa Y. Lee’s article on, Lee takes a closer look at Millennial behaviors with airlines and finds some significant activities that provide insight into their booking behavior.

While Millennials account for only about 30% of U.S. business travelers today, by 2020 they are expected to be about 50%, with Baby Boomers only 11%. The road warrior culture seems to be dwindling with only 28% of Millenials taking regular business trips (versus 45% of non-Millennials), but more are expected to take trips for training, recruiting, and conferences during their earlier career stages. Together, these trends point to some great potential for future growth in the travel industry.

We’ve highlighted Millennial traveler behaviors with both business flights and loyalty programs that stand out as opportunities in the hospitality industry:

Millennial Business Flight Behaviors

  • 13% more spending per trip compared to non-millennials (due to last-minute bookings, refundable tickets, and itinerary changes)

  • 60% more likely to upgrade their seat for more leg room or in-flight entertainment

  • 42% spend company money on higher end meals, compared to only 26% of non-millennials

  • 4X more likely to pay for onboard Wi-Fi

  • 2X more likely to download and watch on-flight entertainment

These statistics indicate business opportunities for hoteliers in the form of meaningful amenities geared toward Millennial travelers. Things like room service/food delivery, in-room entertainment, and upgrades for Internet services are standard amenities, but fine tuning these amenities to local food vendors, gaming systems, and tiered bandwidth for better streaming are a few ways to cater the younger crowd.

Millennial Loyalty Behaviors

  • 3X more brand loyal in other industries (and willing to take action on social media on behalf of brands)

  • More likely to use miles and points for free or discounted travel due to their stage in life and spending

  • Report more dissatisfaction with airline mile programs, especially how quickly miles expire, since they travel with less frequency

It’s no question that Millennials are changing the way brands create loyalty programs and, in turn, loyalty and preferences will change. Hoteliers need to design loyalty programs and choose distribution systems that better match Millennial lifestyles. Once these younger business travelers accrue larger amounts of points or rewards in a particular program, it’s unlikely that they will change unless their status can be matched.

The Millennial behavior highlighted above and detailed further in the article, Segmenting Millennial Travelers Business vs. Leisure, contains some great proof points for hoteliers to use when designing programs to increase market share amongst Millennials.

How is your property changing to meet Millennial needs?