You can't escape the term 'millennials'. In fact, this is our second blog post about them in a single week following our Selfie Stick experiment post. You can run, you can hide, but the millennials are coming to get you. Why?
They've got the monies. 18-to-35 year olds are charging through the workplace and their disposable incomes are on the up. This means more bookers for your hotel and fierce competition to keep them loyal.
A study by Software Advice investigated millennials' views on hotel loyalty programmes and the outcome was simple. Millennials can become brand loyal, they just have more information to make decisions and therefore are pickier about who they hand their hard-earned cash over to. With so much information out there, how can you stand out and market your hotel to the valuable 18-to-35 year old segment in a way that makes them want to come back?
Build a brand they'll love.
The New York Times this week reported on the speciality chains that are popping up across the world aimed directly at the Facebook generation. They're becoming lifestyle brands in their own right. Examples such as Moxy Hotels (Marriott for Millennials) to Canopy by Hilton show that building a sub-brand can help keep existing (and perhaps ageing) customers happy whilst attracting a new cohort of travellers and their disposable income. We've seen other strong brands appear with millennials firmly set in their eyes, Motel One from Germany being one such example, and so decided to put our heads together and come up with 5 things we think millenials want from hotels:
1. A strong design-led ethos
Pretty things make for pretty Instagram photos. As simple as that sounds, millennials don't need a selfie stick to realise how crucial a well framed shot of a snazzy hotel room can boost their social kudos. All the hotels we've mentioned so far share is a strong design-ethos that attract millennials through the front door.
2. Clear, transparent pricing
Value perception for millennials is critical. With so much information at their finger tips, they're not afraid to walk down the road (or more likely grab an Uber) if they think you're over-priced. What's more, this is a cohort that has grown up with the likes of the Generator Hostel and so expectations around value for money have been set high from a young age.
3. Lots of technology
Free Wi-Fi isn't a perk, it's a basic expectation. Yes, some millennials head off on digital detoxes, but the majority want to ensure they have access to their maps and apps along the way. Find ways of integrating technology throughout the building to provide a superior service.
4. A relaxed culture
Hyatt Centric's 'knock 'n' drop' service peaked our interest. The idea that room service is dropped off rather than enduring the on-the-bed presentation invoked a collective sigh of relief in the building. Yes taking a trip away is a time to be spoilt, but no, millennials don't want an over the top service.
5. Smart partnerships
While some of Starwood's hotels might be out of the price bracket for many millennials, its Uber partnership is a very smart one. By providing other ways to earn loyalty points outside of the hotel, people have more of a reason to want to go back and are in turn receiving more value from your brand. So partner up. And partner smart.
This list will only expand over the coming years as technology and tastes develop, but if you can get these five things perfect right now, you'll have more millennials knocking on your door in no time.