Mashable states that millennials are a generation who seem to shun traditional media in all its forms, which largely relates to physical newspapers, magazines and – of course – watching and digesting the news on television.
Research conducted by Crowdtap and Ipsos has shown that millennials prefer to get their news from their peers rather than a traditional outlet. This preference for what is known as user-generated content (UGC) is fuelled by several motivations, including a mistrust for the sensationalisation of ‘normal’ news.
This UGC doesn’t necessarily refer to alternative news blogs and independent outlets that pride themselves on giving an unbiased version of current events and things that are happening across the world. Although it can include these forms of media, it largely references status updates, blog posts and reviews of just about anything that literally anyone can write.
It might sound hard to believe that millennials would prefer to trust the information that their friends post, rather than listen to a newscaster or read a newspaper to get the news they need, but this is fast becoming the case.
The study by Ipsos shows though that millennials trust UGC just as much as they trust professional reviews – so really this group of people sees traditional news as being on a par with what their peers say.
However, where UGC is more influential is when it comes to purchasing things online or booking hotels and holidays over the internet. Millennials are particularly wise to the fact that businesses are keen on selling their best traits to get people interested in their business, which is why millennials are keen to get an opinion or recommendation from someone outside the company.
For this reason, websites like Amazon and eBay thrive due to their star-rating and review sections that tell you exactly what previous customers think of the products and services they have bought.
Tripadvisor and other websites have done the same thing for hotels, as this allows people to leave reviews of their own personal experiences. This is seen as much more valuable to the average holiday-booking millennial rather than the words of a faceless reviewer.
Even though personal reviews are not necessarily expert opinions in any way, this is how they are viewed when people come to read them for advice on places to stay and things to do.
How many millennials use it for hotel recommendations?
To understand this, we need to first look at how often millennials are spending time online in general.
According to research portrayed by Mashable, millennials spend around 18 hours per day with media and 30 per cent of this time is spent looking at UGC, which is around five hours every day.
It’s social networking sites that have the monopoly on UGC and this is where 70 per cent of millennials spend their time, according to an Ipsos Millennial Social Influence Study.
Not only are people using this time to absorb UGC, they’re also creating information that they can share with other people and it’s becoming increasingly easier for millennials to create this type of content. Thanks to the rise of updates on sites like Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest, anyone can leave a review on just about anything.
When it comes to checking out holiday accommodation, including hotels, it seems that some 45 per cent of the people questioned in the Ipsos study said that they use UGC to find somewhere to stay when they’re going on vacation.
How you can use it for your benefit
Although it can seem daunting that millennials are relying on each other for reviews of your hotel and that you don’t have any control on what they’re saying – this isn’t the case at all.
In fact, it can actually be a great thing for the promotion and expansion of your brand, all you have to do is make sure that you’re working with your audience and encouraging them to leave honest reviews.
By doing this, you’re showing your customers that you value their thoughts and opinions, which is one very easy way to bring them around to your way of thinking.
One of the easiest ways to get reviews from your millennial audience is to invite them to give their opinion on something new that you’re launching in your hotel over social media. A Facebook post can be a powerful way of getting your message in front of the people you need to target and it’s one place that they’re guaranteed to be using to look for holiday accommodation.
Don’t forget that people aren’t afraid to give their opinions freely on social media channels, so as long as you have someone community managing what you’re putting out, you should definitely reap the benefits of UGC.
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