In the hotel industry, there seems to be a lot of misunderstandings and beliefs about millennials. Largely, this is due to the fact that this group of people are subject to a lot of generalisation.
What can make them hard to understand is that it covers a wide range of ages, typically a millennial can be a person aged anywhere between 18 and 35. When you look at it like this, it seems ridiculous because most people who are in their late twenties wouldn’t consider themselves to have many things in common with folks in their late teens.
Despite this, many businesses are having to become increasingly aware of marketing themselves to this all encompassing group of millennials. The main thing that joins together this wide age-range of people, is that they have spent most of their younger years growing up with and adapting to lots of different technologies both in their personal and working lives.
Essentially, a millennial group will see technology as a way to make business easier, purely because contacting and arranging meetings is much more efficient. However, a common misconception by events planners in the hotel industry is that millennials like to conduct meetings over digital platforms. In actual fact, this group of people tend to prefer to have face-to-face meetings with clients. This is generally because a millennial mindset is focused on creating a personal experience with their customer and this can’t solely be achieved over email, hence face-to-face meetings become inherently important.
We’re going to be deconstructing myths about millennials and meetings, and pointing out things that are instead, very important to this group of professionals.
As we mentioned, much communication is now conducted via email or over video phone, purely for the sake of ease. When you need to get a quick response for something or get a document sent over to a client, email and non-verbal contact is very effective, but having impersonal relationships like this really highlights a need for face-to-face meetings.
One of the most important ways to make connections or to improve on the ones you already have, is by attending networking events. Often, companies will organise large-scale events that include seminars or talks but have a focus on getting contacts to network with each other. In a digital world, it’s so important to have these live networking events, not only to help other people but to expand your own business too.
This is a really great thing for hotels to be aware of, as it’s a perfect way for you to upsell large conference rooms and other spaces on site.
Although social media is well known for being a large part of the daily personal life of a millennial, what you might not realise is that it’s a big part of their working lives too. Never underestimate the amount of attention a millennial will be paying to your hotel and staff, particularly if they are there for a meeting or conference.
You might not realise it, but you’ll probably be under a lot of scrutiny and subject to instantaneous reviews. Why? Because most conferences and other events are now given a hashtag, so the attendees can join in conversations on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn to share what they’re doing with their audiences.
Although most of these social media updates will be concerned with the conference or event itself, whoever is sending the posts will also be having a good look around at the facilities you have, the layout of the event and all the other things you have provided to make this event happen. As a result, you could be getting included on updates via @ Twitter handles and # event hashtags. Depending on what you have done this could be a great source of word of mouth for your events department.
Millennials are an age group of opinionated people who post almost everything they think online, which as we know is written in ink, not in pencil.
Food and drinks
Most millennials like to think of themselves as foodies, or at least that they know what foods are trendy at the moment.
For this reason, you might be surprised to find out that having food and drinks at meetings and conferences is an increasingly important part of organising or attending a function at your hotel.
You aren’t going to get away with putting out a few sandwiches anymore, unless they are made with artisan sourdough bread and a side salad of kale and heritage tomatoes. Although this might sound like an arduous task, it can actually be a great thing for your hotel because you can upsell the skills and imagination of your chefs.
At M by Montcalm Shoreditch London Tech City Hotel, our events section has packages that include meals that you can organise directly with our kitchen.
Establishing this contact means that you can also make sure guests are getting everything they need, including those all important food intolerances and allergies. Don’t forget that your food will be subject to review too, so making sure that you will provide things for people with intolerances is likely to get you a long way.
Think of something surprising
There are obvious things that millennials will want from events, including digital whiteboards, excellent Wi-Fi connection, plenty of connection to electrical sockets and plenty of space for meetings, among other things.
However, millennials are always interested in something a little different, they’re going to be more impressed if you give them everything they’ve asked for and then some. For example, a milllennial will be thrilled if you have a non-traditional space for them to use outside of the usual meeting room arena.
This might be something that is outdoors, or involves a more open plan meeting setting to encourage networking and conversation.
Surprises aren’t just limited to spaces, if you can do something unexpected with their menu, or give some kind of freebies out to all the attendees of a meeting or conference you’re going that extra mile to secure a return booking. Similarly, those who are just attending the event are sure to be impressed to, so you could be working your way to filling up your bookings diary very quickly.
Small things that can make a difference, would be if you offer to send a digital map of the location of the venue to each one of the attendees. Although it might be easy to find, the bigger the event the more likely it is for people from out of town to be coming, so a little Google Map screenshot can be very helpful.
Don’t make assumptions
As we’ve mentioned previously, when it comes to millennials you shouldn’t make assumptions about anything, particularly that video meetings are completely replacing real-life events, because they really aren’t.
Don’t forget too that you need to promote your event spaces in ways that millennials will see them. It doesn’t do to just have the information on your website; but you should be looking to engage with potential clients directly through newsletters and via social media networks.
For information on the meeting and event spaces at Shoreditch London Tech City Hotel and all the other hotels in our selection, contact M by Montcalm now.