Who are Millennial Travelers & What Do They Like?
The hospitality industry worldwide has come a long way, witnessing stupendous growth year on year and with revenues pouring inconsistently. The face of the industry has undergone massive transformation recently, owing to rapid advancement in technology and subsequently consumer behavior. Quite interestingly, the Millennial generation (it refers to the generation of people born anywhere between the early 1980s and early 2000) has been driving the industry with full force and swing and is urging the hotels across the globe to adopt newer ways and outlook to engage with the guests and leave aside the traditional norms of functioning.
As a result, the hotels of today have evolved into unique high-tech destinations, promising to deliver a wow experience to this new generation of travelers. Research shows that the millennial travelers already make up for over one-third of the world’s hotel guests, with predictions that they will reach over 50 per cent by 2020. Quite true, they seem to be the show runners.
Capitalizing on the growing trend, all the major hotel players are trying to catch the pulse of this stratum of the population, in order to keep running the show successfully and create a top-of-the-mind recall amongst them. Yes, many of the hotels are revisiting their marketing strategies and are trying to respond to Millennials’ needs by adding new features and services that appeal to their tastes.
So, what would be the top millennial trends in the hospitality sector at present? Let us take a dig at it…
- Greater use of technology since the planning stage of travel to post stay
Millennial travelers live in the world of technology and are always scouting for a hi-tech, seamless experience. Availability of free Wi-Fi plays a key role, as revealed by a report stating that 70.9% of Millennials consider free Wi-Fi as an important factor while choosing the hotel. Technology and the internet come into the picture as early as the planning stage, from checking out the best travel and hotel prices, among other things like guest reviews, etc. Millennial travelers like to search for places and food they can experience while on vacation and post their reviews and pictures while on their travel and post-travel about their overall experience.
- Mobile the most used device –
Talking about technology, superior mobile technology is undoubtedly a no-miss for the hotels. Mobile devices have become essential in the travel experience of millennial travelers for quite some time, where mobile check-ins and check-outs have already emerged as the popular trends in the industry. These tiny devices are aiding Millennials in performing a large array of functions starting from the discovery, booking, mobile check-ins, Geo-location, special discount apps, payment, etc.
Thus, a mobile-friendly hotel website, in such a case is not a new requirement at all; rather it is an elementary necessity for the successful running of hotels.
For those who wish to win loyalty of millennial travelers, embracing this technology is on the topmost of the list.
According to a recent study, 52% of Millennials use mobile devices to book hotels and more than 20% have used their mobile devices to check into a hotel. In the U.S., 29% of the Millennials reported already having paid for the hotel with a mobile device, and 44% expressed a desire to do so – clearly a big opportunity.
- Millennials Love Robotics and hotels are happily adopting Automation –
Millennials are happy using technology and robotics assisting them in travel planning, before and during the stay, providing them all answers speedily, without any delay. The hospitality industry worldwide has already tasted the magic of automation in some way or the other, where human involvement has been minimized to a great extent for many of the functions like competitive price tracking, rate optimization, online reputation management, etc.
Robotics, for example, has taken wings in various countries and is gradually being accepted by others as a vital order. As the dependence on digital devices increases significantly, technology is seen as a key investment area for all major hotel brands, and revenue managers have already stood up to make a note of the same.
- Excessive use of Social Media –
It is a widely acknowledged fact that social media has broken all barriers of communication, giving tremendous power in the hands of the traveler to influence others within a few seconds. Yes, it has given powers in the hands of the hotel too.
A recent study pointed out that an astounding 60 million tweets have mentioned hotels, TripAdvisor recently announced that there are now over 500 million reviews on their platform and this could be positive or negative, good or bad, a make or break for hotels. The millennial traveler, with an utmost desire to e-share stuff with the masses, is glued to social media round the clock, where Facebook check-ins, posting reviews, concerns, problems, etc. are already flooding the social media channels in big numbers. Of course, hotels realize the importance of social media in managing their online reputation, boosting their occupancy rates and RevPAR, and therefore constantly monitor the medium to take instant and appropriate action.
- Personalized, unique and meaningful experience – Millennials are constantly on the lookout for authentic, personalized and meaningful travel experiences – with lots of significance, learning, and value for them. With technology at their fingertips, they demand unique & distinct experiences and are attracted to highly personalized stay experience that reflects their individual preferences. Collating guest data is, therefore, an important activity for hotels, which helps them run targeted campaigns and specific promotions to create value and drive revenues.
- The rise in Bleisure travel – “Bleisure travel”, mixing business with leisure, is more popular than ever amongst Millennials. According to Expedia, employees under 30 are traveling 4.7 times per year on business compared to 3.6 times for those above 30 years old. In fact, 62 percent are more likely to extend their business vacationsto gain cultural experience and see more of the world, all while on their company’s outlays.
- Better Value – Gone are the days when a humble traveler used to visit a hotel property and would stick to the traditional ways of availing hotel amenities during the stay. Clearly, those days are long gone. Today’s traveler community, especially Millennials, is a smarter lot – definitely more educated, aware, savvy and prepared. They want better value for the price that they pay and expect premium services and a lot of them. Additionally, even though they demand additional features from their hotels, they are quite sensitive to price, wanting more for less. This is the reasons hotels are investing in Guest Feedback Survey Tools to understand their guest preferences, like & dislikes through a much-customized Hotels can no longer quote a high price only basis the established brand name but do justice to each and every penny that they earn.
- The rise of Solo Group Travel – 37 percent of Millennial travelers showed their intention in solo travel. However, here solo does not have to mean traveling alone. In fact, solo travel is becoming increasingly attractive, safe and easy when planned with a group tour operator. It gives the freedom to explore alone while also having the safety net of a larger group. This is a good opportunity for hotels to offer customized packages for solo travelers.
As the widespread use of technology has given birth to a new generation of traveler –the millennial travelers are also causing the birth of multiple millennial-inspired hotels, which are fully equipped with technology to woo this special stream of guests. Needless to say, there is an immense unprecedented opportunity for the hotel industry to grow their business by leaps and bounds. The key to success is well known now, as already illuminated through the article.