7 ways hotels must adapt to suit millennials

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Although travel has always been a popular pastime from generation to generation, what motivates people to go on holiday has changed.

Similarly, the things that people now want and need, as millennials, from hotels and the experiences that they have are very different too.

One thing that is important to remember, is that millennials are becoming the core target audience for nearly every sector, including the travel and hotel industries, so businesses in this sector need to adjust their marketing and the products and services that they’re offering to satisfy this market.

According to a white paper from Bazaar Voice, millennials – i.e. those in their late-teens to mid-30s – will hold more spending power than any other generation.

As such, it’s becoming really important that hoteliers and those in the industry find new and effective ways to engage with this new millennial generation of travellers.

Revinate website has outlined seven ways that are particularly effective and we’ve included these with some information of our own for you to think about.

Mobile access

Millennials are attached to their phones, they literally cannot cope without them anymore. Whether it’s making calls, sending texts or Tweets or finding an app that can turn the lights on in their house without the need for pushing the switch on the wall – you’ll quickly see that a millennial needs their phone to do almost anything.

For this reason, it’s important for hotels and such to increase their mobile access, as millennials are more comfortable making requests and interacting with people on a digital level, rather than face-to-face.

When compared to other generations, millennials have a more positive view of how technology is used and how it affects their lives, according to a Nielsen survey.

In fact, data collected from this survey showed that more than 74 per cent of millennials believe that technology consistently makes their lives easier.

Think, for example, of paperless boarding cards with the likes of Easyjet: thanks to the company’s app, millennials (and other travellers) can choose and book flights, as well as download their boarding card in one convenient place. This means that they don’t have to print out the flight information and only have to make sure that their phone has a decent amount of battery to get them onto the plane.

Similarly there are lots of airlines and hotels that allow customers to check in on their phone through an app. This not only makes things easier for the consumer, but it also makes the life for the hotel staff better too, as in-app check in helps to avoid customer jams at the reception desk, causing a backlog and ending in frustrated staff and customers.

There are also apps developed now that allow customers to communicate with the concierge, or bar and restaurant staff, letting them know that someone would like/is missing something that they need.

Millennial consumers also love making complaints over technology, for example through social media channels and accounts.

If someone is having a problem with something in a hotel or other hospitality establishment, they are much more likely to make a complaint online, rather than seek someone out for a solution.

Make Wi-Fi free and accessible

Gone are the days when Wi-Fi was seen as an extra or added perk; having a decent internet connection is an absolute necessity in today’s millennial hospitality market.

This is true of people who are travelling for business and for leisure, and both groups of visitors will not take kindly to being charged extra for Wi-Fi.

One thing that you have to be generous with is this connection, as it’s been found that free Wi-Fi is the most-desired standard amenity in hotels overall.

Revinate also did in a study in 2014, the results of which showed that if a hotel has poor Wi-Fi it can actually keep your hotel from receiving a five-star review. In fact, this is one really good way to annoy your millennial guests and when they find a free Wi-Fi connection, they’re likely to use it to complain about how your hotel is running down their 4G data.

Millennials are spontaneous

One thing that really groups together millennials is their love of spontaneity, this applies to most of their choices and in particular towards booking to go on holiday.

This group of people are slowly becoming the most high-earning folk of the past couple of decades and as such, they have more expendable income to spend on holidays and are apt to book them at a drop of a hat.

One of the reasons for this is because it’s very easy to book holidays and accommodation on a whim thanks to the advancing mobile technology that we mentioned earlier. This is facilitating things like same-day, or day-before reservations and hotels can take advantage of this holiday habit by including upgrading possibilities as a way of rewarding this spontaneous behaviour.

Spend money on comfortable lounge furniture

Although most millennials aren’t particularly drawn to face-to-face conversations, they do love spending time in public places. A quick jaunt down to your local Starbucks to have a look at folks sitting on sofas tapping away on their MacBook Air laptops will prove this.

This is because millennials have an inherent desire to be sociable, which is largely boosted by social media sites.

As such, they will be keen to spend more time in the hotel lounge, the bar or other areas of the building. With this in mind, hotels should look to improve their living spaces and lobby areas to include extra (and more comfortable) seating that allows them to feel sociable, but also gives them an extra place to do some work.

Give back

Never underestimate the power of a freebie. Like most groups, millennials love an incentive to do something and there’s nothing more attractive to them than money off a stay in the hotel, or an opportunity to win something.

You can use this to your advantage by promoting a feature of your hotel through your social media channels and saying something like ‘Share this message and win 15 per cent off dinner in our hotel restaurant’.

Another way of doing this is by encouraging your customers to recommend your accommodation to their friends, by doing this guests can get themselves a free stay, or free breakfast for the weekend.

Millennials love local things

Although a millennial guest’s first port of call for places to go outside of the hotel will be their trusty smartphone, they also appreciate staff who know all the best off-the-map places to head to for a good meal, or a decent drink.

For this reason, you should cultivate relationships with your local restaurants and bars, to combine package offers for your guests.

An example would be that when you check in to a restaurant and quote the name of the hotel, you get a free round of drinks.

This multiple platform approach is great for you as businesses, but it’s also great for the customer who gets to have a great meal and a freebie to help them enjoy their holiday all the more.

Keep it personal

Millennials, and even those who aren’t millennials, are becoming increasingly fond of personalised holiday experiences. This is particularly true of their stays in or visits to hotels.

Hotels can use personal information collected about their guests during their visit and store it, with a view to improving their experience the next time they book to stay.

For example, if someone has food or beverage preferences, the next time they stay in the hotel, the staff could place a favourite bottle of wine or type of beer in the room.

What this does, is not only make the guest feel important, but it also makes them want to share the experience with their friends, on social media. It’s a really easy way to show your guest and their friends that you care about them having a good stay in your hotel and it will help you gain some free social media publicity.