If you can choose between getting the latest flat screen TV or taking a quick weekend getaway, which would you choose?
If you are part of the millennial generation (those born between the 1980s and 2000s), you just might choose the getaway, because according to Boston Consulting Group, millennials will account for almost 50% of travel spending by 2020.
This follows the trend line seen in a recent Eventbrite survey that 78% of millennials prefer to spend more money on experiences than on material things.
Why? The survey also found that eight in 10 millennials said experiences help shape their identity and create lifelong experiences and 69% said their experiences make them feel more connected to their communities, other people and the world.
With social media and mobile technology being at the core of the lives of millennials, how can hotels adapt and provide a higher level of experience that millennial travelers crave?
It’s no secret that social media plays a big role in purchasing decisions as 89% of millennials plan travel based on content posted by their peers. Additionally, 70% of them already follow travel brands on social media.
Having a presence on social media does not mean just having a profile page and that’s it. The key word is “social.”
Hotels are getting creative by incorporating social media to drive engagement and more interest in their hotel.
In this example, a boutique hotel chain Moxy curates pictures from Instagram from various locations and encourages guests to post their photos with the hashtag #atthemoxy for potential guests to see.
In this example, Loews Coronado Bay Resort highlights their morning yoga class to show potential guests the experience they provide. As you can see in the comments, people really like it!
These examples show how hotels can leverage guest content as well as highlighting unique social activities to showcase a truly unique experience that millennials and even older generations can appreciate.
With today’s technology-driven world, the old expression “patience is a virtue” no longer holds true with millennials, especially when interacting with brands.
With Netflix and Amazon leading the way, personalization is no longer a nice to have, but a necessity for companies to provide some form of personalization.
In the hotel industry, it’s all about personalizing the experience for millennial guests, and it starts with getting to know your guests before they arrive on property.
The most common place to get information about your guest is during the booking process. Don’t be afraid to add in a couple of extra questions to get to know your guests better, as 63% of millennials would share personal data in exchange for personalized discounts or offers.
To enhance and personalize the guest stay, try asking questions like these:
- Are you traveling for business or pleasure?
- How many people are you traveling with? (Kids? How many?)
- Are you traveling for a special occasion (birthday, wedding, anniversary)?
- Do you have an activity preference (relax or adventure)?
The important thing is to put the data to use during the check-in process when the front desk agent should be able to identify the guest and have the necessary accommodations like an extra roll-away bed ready based on booking information.
From an upsell perspective, providing recommendations to activities and events in or nearby the hotel can help hotels tailor the experience for each guest.
Let’s face it, we all live in our smartphones, but millennials lead the way for mobile usage as one quarter of millennials look at their phone more than 100 times a day versus less than one tenth for baby boomers.
This reality presents a huge opportunity for hotels to engage millennials through the entire guest journey, starting with the booking when 46% of millennials book travel through a smartphone or tablet. Unfortunately, 86% of millennials are disappointed by bad mobile experiences.
There are several fundamental things you can do to improve bookings on your mobile site including:
- Making sure the site is fast loading
- Highlighting special offers and best prices upfront
- Including videos that highlight the hotel and experiences it offers
- Including social media sharing buttons for visitors to share your content & offers
- Highlighting best reviews and testimonials to gain additional credibility
After the booking is where the fun really begins.
The versatility of smartphones gives hotels a great way to engage with millennials during their stay to make it stress-free. From mobile keys to apps that provide recommendations to basic communication, everything a guest needs must be available through their phone.
Innovative hotels are incorporating text messaging into the guest experience to enhance the stay in several ways. Here are a few examples:
Welcome message: Sending a text message to guests after check-in to welcome them and make sure their room is to their satisfaction.
Service Requests: Enabling guests to message staff for any questions or service requests, including housekeeping, room service and valet car pickup.
Personalized Promotions: Sending guests personalized recommendations based on expressed interests.
Guest Satisfaction Survey: Automating mid-stay and post-stay feedback surveys to better measure satisfaction in real-time.
With Millennials making up half of the travel spend by 2020, now is the time for hotels to accelerate their efforts to attract and cater to this younger generations and provide a truly unique experience that is social media shareworthy.