Although millennials aren’t the core customer group of airlines, hotels, and travel companies today, it’s going to change very soon. BCG in its study, Traveling with Millennials, claims that millennials or Gen Y will be the core customer group for hotels in coming years, when they enter their peak earning, spending, and traveling years.
One of the major reasons fueling this trend is Fear Of Missing Out (FOMO) in today’s digital age. According to CNBC, “A lot of millennials’ motivation (for travel) has to do with distributing photos of themselves on social media.” Therefore, traveling these days isn’t a luxury but a necessity for people – especially millennials.
With the millennial market expected to have the highest share in the travel industry, it’s essential for travel and accommodation providers to understand their travel habits and preferences. We show you what millennials expect from their hotel stays and how you can delight the millennial traveler of today at your property:
Cater to bleisure travelers
There has been a rise in bleisure (business + leisure) travel among millennials. With nearly half of the workforce now comprising of millennials, this generation is constantly on the move for work and business. In their pursuit to explore new places and improve their work-life balance, they very often extend their business travel into a leisure trip. As a matter of fact, millennial business travel spending is projected to grow to nearly 50% of the whole business market in 2020.
To delight bleisure travelers at your property, help them know and experience local cuisine or places around your property. Chances are these travelers are busy attending events and meetings. As they won’t have time to actively look out for options, make sure to have a city guide or map and pamphlets with local food recommendations always at your reception. It’s also a good idea to set up fun group packages that include perks like transportation, tickets to museums, and on-site lunch or dinner.
Enhance your experiential offerings
Millennials want to be immersed in the local culture. Destinations that have options for outdoor adventures, food and wine, music festivals, entertainment, nightlife, and art will naturally witness an increase in the number of millennial travelers. After all, millennials are prioritizing their cars and homes less and less and assigning greater importance to personal experiences – and showing off pictures of them.
If you want to capture part of Gen Y’s travel market, you’ll have to adapt to the changing nature of millennials and enhance their experiential offerings. Consider offering unique guest experiences and niche facilities at your very own property, like a well-being retreat.
Food also plays a major role in defining a local culture. Offer more authentic and interesting local dishes rather than a generic menu. Traditional recipes made using local and fresh produce and wholesome ingredients are going to be big among millennials. Other ways to pay homage to local cuisine is to hold food events or culinary tours and offer cooking classes or demonstrations.
Don’t forget to depict your local culture in your interiors too. You can also bring more authenticity in common areas and hotel rooms through regional elements, artworks, and materials. With traditional artisanal crafts and art by local artists featured in your hotel rooms, your guests will feel a powerful sense of place the moment they step through the door.
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Regardless of what activities millennials pursue, they look to technology to keep them more connected than ever. 93 percent of frequent travelers prefer travel brands with technology that simplifies travel.
If you think giving free WiFi to your guests is enough, think again! While WiFi is a digital must-have for millennials during their stays, there are other digital facilities that delight millennials. Consider providing other digital offerings, like mobile hotel apps, voice-based technologies, digital keys, mobile payment services, wearable technologies, and automated check-in and check-out. All these technologies can help guests experience frictionless and smooth stays.
Also, invest more in having a strong and attractive social media presence. Millennials are extremely active on social media. They don’t only look for online reviews before booking a hotel, but they also keep on engaging with the property digitally during and after their stays. Make sure that you are Instagram worthy every time your guests mention you in their stories or posts.
Provide personalized stays
Providing personalized experiences to your millennial guests can help you stay ahead of their expectations and building customer loyalty. As a hotelier, you might have access to a treasure trove of information about your guests, which includes room preferences, past upgrades, reasons for staying, and more. It’s time to act on this consumer data.
By using this data for providing personalized experiences, your guests are bound to be delighted and become repeat guests with positive reviews. Imagine knowing that your guest always asks for an upgrade to a king-size bed and giving the king-size bed without him asking the next time; or knowing that your guest is in the town for a family vacation and offering at-property fun and adventurous activities for the whole family.
Being sustainable isn’t only going to help the environment but it’s also going to positively impact your brand as well. Forbes reports that 75% of millennials consider it either fairly or very important that a company gives back to society instead of just making a profit in its study, 10 new findings about the millennial consumer. Millennials love brands that support their local communities and would rather purchase from them than competitors.
This also stands true for travel brands. Hotels that run environment-friendly campaigns and have sustainable initiatives around the property are hot favorites among millennials. Such initiatives include waste reduction and global carbon emission compliance, among others.
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Are you ready to delight millennials at your property? Let us know in the comments section below.
Featured image: Bruce Mars on Pexels