Millennials have been subjected to a lot of monikers in the past few years, but there really are only two words business owners in the hospitality industry need to associate with them: The future.
The wisest hospitality industry leaders are working to get inside the minds of Millennials and leveraging technology to ensure the products and services they offer align with several key values: speed, responsiveness, frugality and constant connection.
Millennials Travel Habits Bring Big Bucks to Hotel Industry
The U.S. hotel industry made a $58 billion profit in 2012, according to the STR Analytics’ 2013 Host Almanac, in no small part thanks to Millennials.
In 2010, Gen Y’s travel spending increased 20 percent, and they’re expected to account for half of all travel spending by 2020, according to a report from The Boston Consulting Group. The same report stated that, on average, Millennials take four overnight leisure trips per year.
And, while they like their privacy as much as anyone else, this generation craves community and being around others in group settings, even if all they do together is surf the web on their phones and tablets.
Research also indicates that Millennials don’t need a lot of fuss from service people. However, when they do want attention, they want it quickly and efficiently. Don’t waste their time.
Hotels Making Millennial-Inspired Renovations
Smart businesses can take cues from hotels that already are making dramatic changes to accommodate the rising generation.
Some are building entirely new hotels targeted solely at Millennials, with free Wi-Fi and central charging stations for cellphones, tablets and laptops, among other amenities. Needless to say, Millennials won’t give a second thought to hotels that aren’t tech-friendly. This even extends to hotel bars and restaurants. And to cater to the desire for community, some newer hotels are even developing lobbies or common areas conducive to large groups.
Translation for the Hospitality Industry
One simpler way to cater to Gen Y and enhance the guest experience is to focus on reducing wasted time during check-in or while waiting for a restaurant table. Nobody likes to wait, but this generation knows it doesn’t have to – another option is just a Google search away.
Hotels have gone away from the old clipboard method of keeping wait lists and instead adopted modern paging systems. Guests are freed to do something more productive – like browse the gift shop or hang out at the coffee bar – without fear of losing a place in line. They can be alerted by pager or by smartphone when their room or table is ready.
To cater to Millennials’ aversion to fussy service, hotels are employing push-for-service button pagers in locations such as resort cabanas, at the beach or at poolside – places where you mostly want to be left alone while knowing you can still get a waiter’s attention quickly and effortlessly.
Hotels also are adopting the same used by restaurants to close the loop with Millennials and ensure the best guest experience. Remember, they love to be asked what they think, and they’ll probably soon be telling the whole world on social media anyway. You’re better off knowing now what they think.
What Gen Y wants from you is no-nonsense value that takes full advantage of technology. After all, the technology wonders that still amaze older generations are old hat to them. To this generation, it’s either climb aboard the technology train or get off the tracks.
Find Out More About The Millennial Generation
Complete the form below to download the free eBook, The Millennial Mindset: Reshaping Hospitality, for more detail about why businesses need Gen Y-ers and how dismissing them can be fatal to your business.
Jason Barge is a marketing manager at LRS and an expert in communications for the hospitality industry.