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Everyone’s talking about Millennial hotel travel trends and there’s a good reason why. This target group represents an important means for generating revenue because they are coming to the age where they have more disposable income – and travel is one of the key places they spend their money.
Millennials prioritize digital as a way of life and are constantly connected. They often book at the last minute, they have a strong focus on “the experience”, and are likely to spend more money on an experience that resonates with their values. They will expect a unique approach to loyalty programs, have a strong preference towards technologically savvy hotels, are looking to travel on a shoe-string and use reviews to guide their purchasing decisions. These are just some of the many trends that we are seeing in this target group.
In this article we will look in detail at who Millennial travelers are and why they are important for the hotel industry, as well as some important hotel trends.
What do we mean by Millennial travelers?
A Millennial traveler is someone that was born between 1981 and 1996, representing an incredibly large target group that consists of 72 million people in the US alone, and almost a quarter of the global population. This target group is well-connected and tech savvy as they grew up during the rise of the internet and are the last generation to know what life was before the internet. They are independent travelers who essentially coined the term “wanderlust” and they are looking for experiences that go above and beyond.
They are traveling in a different way than their parents, the Baby Boomers, and are largely using technology to make informed and budget-conscious travel decisions that are heavily experience-focused.
Why are Millennials important for the hotel Industry?
So why is this target group so important for the hotel industry? Well if we look at the numbers, they have a large disposable income, having spent $200 billion on travel in 2018. If you attract a Millennial for leisure travel, they’re way more likely to choose your hotel for their business travel needs, and with 38% of Millennials traveling for business, it’s well worth it.
With the right hotel property management system, hoteliers can take advantage of business intelligence to get customized reporting about guest data to make important decisions to attract both business and leisure Millennial guests. It is estimated that in the coming years, millennials will make up 50% of hotel guests, so attracting this target group will be increasingly more and more important to generating lasting hotel revenue.
What are the most important trends in hotels for Millennials?
Now that we understand who Millennials are and why they are so important for the hotel industry, let’s take a look at the most important trends in hotels for Millennials.
Digital is a way of life
When a Millennial arrives at a hotel, one of the first things they will ask for is the Wi-Fi password. They want to be constantly connected, sharing pictures and stories with their social media channels. First thing to help adopt this trend is to make sure your hotel is set up to attract this target audience with some practical hotel social media marketing strategies.
Digital also means that your hotel should be set up with mobile-technology. That means a mobile-friendly web, that makes it easy to book from a smartphone, and if you have the resources, it may be worth developing an app. An app improves their perception of service during their stay with convenient features like mobile check-in, and can be used to retarget them after they have left through push notifications and customized deals.
Focus on the experience
In the last decade no buzzword has stuck around so long as “experience.” That’s because the experience is here to stay, and Millennials are all about them. In fact, 86% of Millennials travel for experiences and culture while looking to connect with local culture and food, and to learn something new. They are looking to disconnect from their everyday lives and live one-of-a-kind experiences to share with others on their social media channels.
This tangible in-person experience can set your hotel apart from the competition. Hotel packages, upselling opportunities and loyalty programs should be created with the experience in mind. You may even think about taking on a staff member that is primarily dedicated to creating a curated experience, also known as a hotel curator.
Last minute bookings
Booking a hotel is now as easy as the click of a button on your smartphone and no one knows this better than Millennials who are big on last minute travel. Hotels can take advantage of this trend by driving last minute bookings through flash sales. Since this target group is also budget conscious, they are likely to choose your hotel over the competition if the deal is just right.
Unique loyalty programs
As we’ve mentioned many times, this target group is incredibly budget conscious so there is nothing more appealing to them than an attractive and unique approach to loyalty programs where they can save money and take advantage of experience-focused offers. Promote packages at an attractive price and give them a reason to join your loyalty program by offering deals on restaurants, free drinks at the bar or a food tour. Give them a reason to keep coming back.
Preference towards tech savvy hotels
Since this target group is incredibly tech savvy, it’s important that the hotel experience incorporates technologically-forward solutions, such as the self-service check in kiosk from Mews, where Millennials can check in themselves no matter what time of day they arrive. Facilitating digital registration and easy technologically-minded solutions will without a doubt improve guest satisfaction.
Online reviews are paramount
Online reviews are an important trend in Millennial travel. Online reviews are like word-of-mouth 2.0. Not only can they rely on what their friends, family and colleagues have to say about a hotel, they can also get the opinions of a worldwide audience. Online reviews from real travelers on Tripadvisor and Google play an important role in driving bookings to your hotel, so make sure you are constantly managing your online reputation.
Travel on a shoe-string: more travel for less price
Another important trend in Millennial travel is that they are looking for the ability to travel more at a low price. That is to say, they are not saving up for a once a year trip where they spend all their savings; instead, they want to get the most out of their vacations and travel budget so that they can see more of the world. Try offering deals, packages, coupon codes in order to draw them in and show how your hotel can be enjoyed even on a shoe-string.
The rise of the Millennial traveler means that hoteliers need to pay attention and start creating a strategy that is focused on attracting this target group while keeping in mind the seven Millennial hotel trends mentioned throughout this article. Millennials are revolutionizing the way we check into hotels, the technology used, the amenities offered and the way we conceive loyalty programs.
This generation has impacted the hospitality and tourism industry more than any generation in the past, paving the way for tech-savvy, budget-conscious, experience-focused hotel stays. This generation is here to stay and more than ever, hotels need to learn to adapt to these trends in order to continue to prosper in the future.
Eva has over a decade of international experience in marketing, communication, events and digital marketing. When she's not at work, she's probably surfing, dancing, or exploring the world.
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