Millennials are the reason more hotels have free Wi-Fi

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​The baby boomer generation are credited with appreciating things like warm and home baked cookies in their hotels.

However, the millennial age group would perhaps prefer a cookie that has a microchip in it, instead of chocolate ones. Or, they’d want it to be gluten-free, sugar-free, vegan and made instead with agave syrup, and responsibly sourced chocolate from carob farms.

Similarly, the coffee that they like to have on the side of their cookie is preferably made by a local micro roastery and served in the form of a flat white, by a barista who’s made several trips to Australia to perfect the art of that and the espresso.

Not that there’s anything wrong with this, after all, high standard have always been expected from those, particularly in hotels that are more expensive.

But, it’s not so much the baked goods on offer that are important to the millennial, instead this traveller will be keen to see what your hotel can offer them in terms of your technological amenities.

There are so many things now that are no longer considered perks, but are instead non-negotiable and standard functions of hotel rooms, for example…

In-room Wi-Fi

Even if a person doesn’t refer to themselves as a millennial, the reality now is that a hotel wouldn’t have the audacity to call itself a hospitality provider without having free Wi-Fi.

One thing that does make millennials different from the average traveller however, is that they are utterly dependent on connectivity.

Where someone older than this age group is probably going to want to use the Wi-Fi for work, i.e. to write documents, or to make important video calls, the millennial will need the internet for different reasons.

According to The Washington Post, around 75 per cent of millennials use mobile devices to research their travel plans. This, if anything, seems like a small number, considering the ever-increasing number of people who have smartphones and use them with growing frequency.

Not only do millennials use their phones and such to book and organise their holiday plans, but they also use them to check out places in the area that are close to where they’re staying. They do this for various reasons, one might be to locate proximity to a restaurant or a bar, but it’ll also be to look at their social media pages, to see what kind of reviews other people have left on this place.

Often, a millennial traveller will prefer to use this as a base of reference and will use Google Maps, rather than ask the concierge for a recommendation or directions. Why? Purely because they are dependent on their technology.

It’s for this reason that it really won’t look good for you if the Wi-Fi isn’t working in their room, or even worse, if you have the cheek to ask them to pay for it.

Free Wi-Fi is a thing of the present, so if you want customers to pay for it, you’re going to have to include it in the initial price of the room.

What are the challenges of attracting a millennial’s attention?

Thanks to super-speed internet and the ability to have just about any question answered in a matter of milliseconds, millennials are known for having short attention spans.

Perhaps this is one of the reasons why Twitter is so successful? As a tool, Twitter and tweets are short, snappy and contain all the information that someone would need without having to hunt around too much to find it. And, if they do need more information on that particular subject, there’s usually a handy little link attached to the text.

This is not to say that millennials are lazy, quite the opposite, what they do have is a thirst for knowledge. What this means, is that this group of people are interested in finding out what is new, almost constantly.

Such a compelling need to know things and not to leave anything ‘important’ out has created a social media generated phenomenon called fear of missing out, or FOMO.

FOMO is something that drives millennials to be constantly seeking out information on products, news and services, basically because they’re worried about missing something.

Millennials also like to appreciate original products, or hotels and other places that have a quirk or a theme. More than any other generation, this group of people love unique and personalised experiences, so that is something that the hospitality industry needs to bear in mind when it comes to their marketing.

However, despite appreciating what may look like gimmicks to another generation, millennials are still discerning and can spot an unauthentic product or promotion a mile away. If something feels forced or out of place, this crowd of people will be able to spot it and then sadly you’ll be at the mercy of their negative social media skills.

Due to this fondness for a unique experience, a millennial will prefer not to stay in a chain hotel, or somewhere too corporate. It’s worth remembering that this doesn’t just apply to leisure travellers, it’s also becoming an important consideration for people who travel for work.

Creative industries and businesses are beginning to take over the corporate world, which is influencing how people dress when they go to the office, the type of office in which they work and therefore it has a knock-on effect towards the type of hotels in which they send their employees for a conference or an overnight stay.

You need to be able to adjust your strategy and marketing to reflect this and remember that not all professionals wear suits and ties. Some will be wearing jeans and t-shirts, but all of them will be willing to pay above board for the right type of alcohol.

Of course, in the case of millennial travellers, this alcohol is likely to be in the form of a small batch beer or gin that was made around the corner.

Other priorities

As we said, free Wi-Fi everywhere in the hotel is completely non-negotiable, however you’ll find that you won’t have to spend as much money on computers and phones in the hotel.

This is because millennials prefer to work on their own devices, instead of in a smart-looking business centre or hub in the hotel

Although they might still require a printer, this also isn’t as likely as most business travellers will have smartphones and therefore access to paperless in-app boarding passes and other paperwork that they need for travelling.

While a millennial traveller is going to first look at what’s around in the neighbourhood that surrounds the hotel, in terms of bars and restaurants etc, they’re probably still going to want to know that the staff in the place are knowledgeable about the area.

This is because, unlike previous generations, the millennial has more of a sense of adventure and will love to go off the beaten track in the hunt for an excellent local wine or meal that they can’t get anywhere else.

As such, they’ll be looking to the staff for their personal experiences, seeing as they have the luxury of living in the area, for some places that will perfectly whet their millennial appetite.