“Millennials,” the group covering those with birth years ranging from 1977 to 1995 and presents a dynamic opportunity for hotels to attract and retain a booming market that already represents one third of all hotel guests.
The two biggest questions for hotels are: How do you market to Gen Y? And, once you get them through the lobby doors, how do you meet or exceed their expectations?
When it comes to marketing strategies, Millenials are far more likely to take hotel advice from their peers than from traditional marketing channels. Social networking sites like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram are essential to capturing this demographic.
Does your hotel have a Facebook page and a Twitter handle? If not, you’re missing an opportunity to market to Gen Y. More likely than any other demographic to Tweet from check-in to check-out, encourage Gen Y guests to connect with you during their stay and share their travel experience with their circle of friends. When guests log-on to the hotel Wi-Fi, your splash screen should prominently feature your social media channels.
So what does Gen Y really want in a hotel? According to consultants “Y Partnership” this new generation of travelers expects:
- Free Internet
- Casual food available 24 hours
- Self-service check-in/out
- Hotels with individual personality and a distinctive ‘sense of place’
- Multi-use lobbies that encourage guests to socialise
Read the full article from Skift.com here
So many accommodation providers still see Wifi as a lucrative revenue stream as opposed to a necessary free service. As the Skift article explains, tech-dependent young travellers won’t just expect Wifi for free, they’ll expect it to work seamlessly throughout the hotel on multiple devices at the same time. It’s surprising how many hotel and hostel chains still haven’t cottonned onto this fact yet. Avoid leaving your guests sitting in the street outside local coffee shops after dark, surfing off free wifi by offering it in-house and make up the revenue elsewhere in the bar or café.
You can also avoid competing with local eateries offering free wifi at all hours by offering your own ‘casual food’ 24 hours. This doesn’t mean employing a Michelin-starred chef throughout the night, it just means having casual snacks available when travellers who have the late-night munchies actually want them.
This ties in neatly with the use of social spaces. Chains like Generator Hostels and Meininger Hotels have understood this trend well and are applying it with imaginative effect, providing large open spaces for guests to play pool, computer games, strum a guitar or chat. Gen C might be connected 24/7 but that doesn’t mean they want to hide out in their hotel room!
Of all the recommendations, I think it’s the need to offer a ‘sense of place’ that is driving the most fascinating changes in hotel management and marketing in recent years. For decades, driven by the demands of the US hotel guest seeking familiarity in foreign climes, hotel chains went on a relentless march of installing the same plastic interiors and identikit menus. Today, hostels best placed to attract the young authentic experience-seeking traveller will offer local food, local music, art, drama, crafts and a whole host of other means of connecting the traveller to the destination before he/she’s even stepped out of the front door.
- Guests help design the hotel of the future (usatoday.com)
- Millennial Motivations: How Millennials Have Impacted Hotels’ Evolution (dc.curbed.com)
- Top five hotel technology trends [INFOGRAPHIC] (tnooz.com)
- The Good, Bad, and Ugly of So-Called “Connected” Hotels (everything-pr.com)