Despite the slightly vague age grouping of millennials – which is around 18 to 30 years old – there’s no denying that many factors of everyday life are now either influenced or aimed at them.
One industry that is constantly being, reportedly, driven by millennials is the hospitality industry, particularly in large cities like London.
Perhaps one of the reasons for this is because millennials are interested in different things from the previous generation. For example, many have written articles on the various requirements that this group of people have towards property.
One of these such articles was written by Los Angeles Short Term Rental Alliance, which stated that millennials are the driving force behind the increase in short-term rentals.
The reasons for this are not so much because they are poor, but instead they are more interested in travelling to exotic places and for that reason renting places suits their lifestyle.
So, if millennials can be credited with influencing such a huge industry as the property sector, then it’s no wonder that hotels and all things hospitality are being affected by this group’s preferences.
But what kind of changes are they causing?
New business formats
As millennials are digitally-literate creatures, indeed most people who are 18 years old now probably aren’t aware of a time when you couldn’t get a smartphone, nevermind a standard Nokia 3210 from the early noughties.
For this reason, they’re interested in booking their holidays in different ways, which will most likely be through an app on their phone.
Take for example the idea of Airbnb, although this is perfectly viewable through a tablet or a laptop – or a desktop, if you have one – the site it most usable in a smartphone format and it allows the millennial to choose and book accommodation for a holiday in a few easy prods.
One thing that makes this form of travel appeal so much to the millennial mindset is that it’s not faceless, people create a profile to advertise their holiday rental property and the person interested in renting the property contacts that person directly. In this way, there is a social element involved in the booking process, and due to the success of Airbnb, we can speculate that this method of finding holiday accommodation is only going to continue to grow in popularity.
Not only this, but things like Airbnb are opening up the industry to new influencers in general, which means that there are more people on whom to focus your message. Millennials and their diversifying interests can be a great boost for the businesses within the hospitality industry.
The millennial is your new customer
According to a scholarly article from Topuniversities.com, millennials are indeed set to become the core customer in the travel and hospitality sector.
One thing to remember from the beginning is that these are people who are attracted to highly personalised services and are used to enjoying experiences as privileged customers.
This is partly thanks to social media platforms, which allow businesses in any industry to reach out to their customers and have a direct conversation with them about their products, services and to help eradicate any issues they might have.
Hotels and similar places are instilling this idea of direct conversation within the very fabric of their business with the likes of real-time concierges.
What this means is that customers (millennials if you will) who are staying in the hotel, will have a chat app, which will let them directly text a concierge for something that they need. Millennials will prefer this method of communication because it will make them feel directly connected to one person, rather than having to chase after one or two people throughout the whole hotel.
Looking for a career in hospitality? Focus on digital
If you’re a millennial who’s looking to start working in the hospitality industry then you’re going to need to make sure that you’re completely digitally literate.
Lots of shops, bars and restaurants are now using touchscreen tills, or even iPads instead of standard till operation software; for this reason, you’re going to need to know your way around the technology. This is not only to ensure that you get a job, but it’s also important for when you’re dealing with customers, because if you don’t know what you’re doing, you’re going to hold people up and millennials love to write speedy reviews with their smartphones.
This doesn’t necessarily mean that you’re going to get a full-blown negative write-up on Tripadvisor once they’ve gone back home. Instead, an aggravated millennial is likely to send out an angry tweet or Facebook post from the end of a long queue, or even worse, when they’re standing next to, or in front of an employee struggling with technology. Something along the lines of, “Sandra at the (hotel) doesn’t know how to use an iPad check out system. Brilliant #Useless”.
Something like that can seem innocuous, but if the author of the review – which it is, of a sort – tags your hotel in the post, then you’re getting all kinds of negative press out of nowhere and sadly, it doesn’t take long for rumour to spread that your staff don’t know how to use technology.
For this reason, it’s also really important that you get yourself using social media like a pro, because if someone does tag you in a complaint, you can easily respond to it within seconds and attempt to mollify the situation before it gets out of control.
Don’t forget, the internet doesn’t just give millennial customers a voice, it gives you a voice too, so make sure you use it to the best of your advantage.
Consider working in many capacities
Young millennials who are considering joining the hospitality industry and have their degrees still warm in their hands are also going to have a bag full of practical experience.
It’s well-known that in any industry, it’s important to not only have a qualification, but you also need to have relevant experience to help you stand out from the crowd.
For this reason, many millennials who come to work in hotels as general managers, may not just have hotel experience. Instead, they’ll have spent time doing event management, PR, working aboard cruise ships, in spas, restaurants or even for airlines.
In this way, we can see that such a wealth of experience brings a completely fresh perspective to a hotel and means that its day-to-day running will benefit from an open-minded millennial approach, rather than from the approach of someone who has only worked in hotels.
Millennials don’t just influence from the outside
Although there is much discussion over reaching out to the millennial consumer, we have to remember that millennials aren’t just customers – they’re also creative business people.
Increasing numbers of people are leaving university and starting up their own businesses or creative companies and are building things like Airbnb.
Millennials are looking around at what’s out there in the hospitality industry and are inventing businesses that don’t yet exist, to create something that their demographic well be interested in.
You know what this means, to get inside the mind of the millennial you don’t just have to do your research on what you consumer might be interested in, you’ll also need to have a close look at what your millennials competitors are up to and make some notes.