There is a great deal of research and statistics that speak of millennials as a new generation coming into its prime. However, millennials have already arrived and been part of the workforce for some time. Many millennials have stable incomes and have earned their financial independence, with some even starting young families. In the next 10 years, statistics show that millennials will make up 75% of the workforce. This hard to please “trendsetter” demographic have a direct influence and even the power to change whole industries with their preferences, behaviours and purchasing habits. More and more millennials are joining the workforce every day and gaining their financial independence. Which means that the influence and effects of their choices and tendencies will grow heavier.
The hospitality industry is no exception. The industry is aware of this so some brands have already started to transform their marketing strategies, brand images and guest interactions accordingly.
Who are Millennials and What are Their Characteristics?
Millennials are generally considered to be those born in the 1980s, 1990s and early 2000s. Most millennials today are young adults. Since there are no distinct cut-off dates for people to qualify as millennials, many people born before or after this time period will still identify as millennials based on their characteristics and behaviours.
Millennials are usually referred to as the “Me” Generation” and often vilified in the media due to their strong emphasis on individuality. They spend their disposable income more readily than previous generations, primarily on leisure activities and products. Thanks to growing up with the convenience and connectedness brought by technology, they’ve also been characterised as demanding, impatient, practical and tech-savvy.
How Hotels Can Appeal to Millennials?
Millennials Are Tech-Savvy
Even though Millennials weren’t born into the internet and computer age like Gen Z, they adapt to new technologies very easily. Since they’ve experienced how technology can speed or ease up the usual processes, they usually try to solve even the most basic problems with technology. This has resulted in the abundance of mobile apps and software being released every year.
A millennial will directly look up a hotel on the internet if they ’re planning a holiday. They will also look for the hotel’s reviews, social media posts, and corporate accounts. To summarise, millennials will seek out any digital footprint during the consideration period before booking their stay. As a result, leaving a consistent digital footprint (backed up with a positive user experience) is very important for the hospitality industry to attract millennials.
Millennials Prefer Smartphones
The ownership and usage frequency of smartphones or computers is very high at around 72%. However, the popularity of tablets amongst millennials is very low at around 37% and the frequency of regular usage is even lower.
Millennials seem to prefer either full mobility or high functionality when they are using smart devices. Keep in mind when attracting and engaging them.
Millennials Respond to Loyalty Programs
Millennials respond highly to loyalty programs or personalised services due to the importance they place on individuality. According to research, 52% of millennials are even willing to share personal data in exchange for more personalised services or better loyalty programs.
Even small touches personalising the experience seem to create a positive response amongst millennials and results in loyalty and return visits.
They Value the Experience
Most millennials are looking for an “experience” when planning a holiday or trip. Some brands in the hospitality industry have already discovered this and are recalibrating their marketing strategies to emphasise experiences, rather than specific goods or services. Most millennials will connect better with brands offering experiences they value.
They Share Their Experiences on Social Media
Millennials are very active users of social media platforms and most have multiple social media accounts to share their lives, including their travel experiences. This makes millennials both influencers and the influenced. If they witness a friend’s positive experience through social media, they tend to think more positively about a hotel (and vice versa).
Millennials Expect Hotels to Use Technology
Technology is such a key part of their lives that millennials expect it to be available wherever they go, including the hotels they visit. They want to have the option of using the hotel’s services through their smartphones. According to research amongst millennial hotel employees, they don’t think the hotels are promoting their tech-based or mobile-based services enough.
Millennials are Interested in Their Surroundings
Since millennials value experiences and personalisation, they appreciate being made aware of the surroundings of the hotel. They want to have information about the activities and places of interest around the hotel so they can tailor their own unique experiences. Whether they benefit from those activities or not, they appreciate being able to choose.
What Can Hotels Do to Satisfy The Demands of Millennials?
Hotels should obtain a consistent and respectable digital footprint to attract millennials. This doesn’t mean that all reviews about the hotel must be positive, however, they must be genuine. It’s important to know the hotel is friendly and engages in two-way dialogue with guests.
Hotels should use technology so their millennial guests can access personalised services and communication. One of the best technological solutions is a smartphone app. This can also present opportunities for upselling and cross-selling.
In addition, hotels should maintain a social media presence. Since millennials use social media and actively share their experience on those platforms, it’s a very good opportunity for viral marketing and improving brand image. It will also reinforce the perception that the hotel is accessible and reacts to its guests.
Research amongst millennials reveals that they would like to use the following services through their smartphones when they stay in a hotel:
- Room service
- Watch TV and movies
- Connect a device to the TV or speakers
- Check in and check out
- Book external and internal facilities and activities
- Access the room
A guest engagement platform offers solutions for all the above. With a guest engagement platform like WeBee, hotels can:
- Personalise and emphasise their experience
- Create and continue their digital footprint
- Better promote their services
- Provide information about the hotel to guests
- Resolve guest issues and needs
Obviously, the millennials have been and will be around for a while. In increasing numbers. They are joining the ranks of hotel industry too. This is why it’s important to understand them because they are both the providers and consumers in the hotel industry.