A brief overview of the latest hospitality trends for leisure travelers ages 22-37
Wifi, free and fast
Even though millennials will book trips to “unplug” and “get off the grid,” they still want to be able to check their email before they go to bed (and maybe even post a photo or two). According to the New York Times, a new branch of millennial-targeted hotels by Starwood called Aloft makes free Wifi a priority throughout their establishments—from rooms to poolside. Not only should the Wifi be free, but it should also be reliable and fast. Skift says, “Millennials are not necessarily technologically savvy; they’re technologically dependent. That dependence is merely a conduit through which to dream, research, share and experience travel. It is not the travel experience itself.”
Instagram-able amenities // Adventurous experiences
Having gorgeous views and cozy rooms is important for perpetuating millennial traffic through your hotels. With nearly 60% of active Instagram users being millennials, there’s a good chance of your hotel ending up as a post…if it makes the cut. For those who don’t feel like their ambiance appeals to a younger demographic, never fear: try marketing your destination as an experience more than a place to sleep, like international hostel company Generator. According to Forbes: “They make use of inspirational content to make people desire adventure and exploration….You’ll notice a distinct lack of photos of bed and breakfast tables. The company is selling itself on being an experience.” Adventure is more important to them than rest, at least according to this year’s AARP leisure travel report, which states that millennials are the least likely general to be motivated by the need to relax and rejuvenate (28% vs 47% GenX and 38% of Boomers). This is because they are more apt to look at vacation as an opportunity for adventure or to go somewhere new, so it’s equally advantageous to put the splendor of the area on the forefront of your marketing if you’re lacking in, say, towel-swans.
In the era of Airbnb, “some companies…have capitalized on the sensibilities of the traveling millennial—promoting the ideas of flexibility and local authenticity.” Millennials want the “real” experience of an area, which could be its uniquely weird food, gorgeous lake views or even the charming hotelier with a folksy accent. A room within walking distance to a frequented bar or the locals’ favorited beach should be touted on your website (and if your hotel is in the middle of a parking lot next to a chain like Perkins, best not to mention it).
Speaking of Airbnb, millennials want to be able to browse hotel amenities and cabin rentals, and then book, without having to physically speak to anyone. According to the same previously mentioned NYTimes article, “44% of millennials prefer booking hotel services from a mobile phone” — and that’s through clicks, mind you. Ergo, it’s important that your website is mobile-friendly and offers the ability to book everything online.