"Authenticity is the new definition of luxury"
- Erin Green, VP of development Americas of Rosewood Hotels & Resort
It is no secret that millennials are trending in hospitality right now. As the fastest growing customer segment in the industry, it is crucial for hotels to incorporate them in their plans for the future. This begs the question: how exactly do you attract a millennial? Here is everything you need to know:
- Be Authentic: Avoid the cookie cutter look and offer authentic experiences. They want a unique memory they can share with friends and family. A one-size-fits-all offering will result in an immediate snub.
- Offer Local Experiences: Let them live like a local. Fill your hotel with everything local from art to products to the food and beverage.
- Teach Them Something: Make it easy for them to immerse themselves and learn something new; 39% rank learning as extremely or very important. That’s a full 10% more than any other age group. (Resonance consulting firm report)
- Monitor Online Reviews: Millennials will trust reviews from strangers and just one bad one can be off-putting enough for them to search elsewhere. If you did receive a less than glowing review, a sincere response will go a long way. They don’t expect hotels to be perfect, just show that you’re trying.
- Forgo the Traditional Lobby: Open up the lobby into a communal space. Instead of a big front desk, have smaller check-in kiosks. Move the business center into the lobby and include a bar and cafe. This setup even attract locals to come spend time at your hotel as well, making the whole experience more unique.
- Be in the Know: Location is still extremely important in hospitality. It is important to be within walking distance of local bars, restaurants, and attractions; hotel staff should know what’s in your area and be ready to make recommendations.
- Look the Part: These travelers love a unique experience; make sure your hotel’s aesthetic speaks to what makes you unique. Maintaining historical structure gives a very unique feel or if you’re building from scratch, make sure you incorporate one-of-a-kind features.
- Keep ‘em Connected: This likely goes without saying but be sure you have enough bandwidth to allocate to all your hotel guests. Nothing leaves a sour taste in a millennial’s mouth more than a wimpy Wi-Fi connection.
- Stay Mobile: Mobile technology in hospitality continues to grow including mobile check-in, mobile hotel maps to guide the guest to their room, and an in-room tablet that allows guests to order room service, change the channel, or control the temperature.
- Embrace Sustainability: More than just a towel program, offer in-room products that are sustainably packaged. They appreciate and like to support sustainable companies and products. By literally transform your hotel to be green with large planter boxes and potted plants, you can bring the fresh and sustainable vibe full circle.
- Be Boutique: Boutique space can actually be cheaper to build with a higher return. Because room size is not a concern, you can get away with a room one third the size of a standard hotel room. Once you take out the desk and wardrobes, you can replace it with wall-mounted TVs, iPads, and nightstands that double as desk space. A full-scale restaurant is also low on the priority list for these travelers. Offering fresh to-go options will be more appealing to them and easier for you to maintain.
Several larger brands have started to turn their attention to this generation. IHG, Starwood, and Marriott have all started to introduce “lifestyle” brands in an effort to capture this elusive market:
- AC Hotels by Marriott
- Moxy Hotels by Marriott
- EVEN Hotels by IHG
- Hotel Indigo by IHG
- Canopy by Hilton
- CitizenM Hotels
- Edition Hotels
Concerned about the competition? Don’t lay down in defeat just yet. While Airbnb is popular, they are far from snagging the market. A report by Resonance consulting firm revealed that 40% of 18-34 year old travelers they surveyed prefer anything else over Airbnb.