The “Millennial generation” is the last generation to be born in the twentieth century, so it makes sense that the key feature of a “Millennial traveler” is that he or she is tech savvy. You will find them using their smartphones for pretty much everything and technology is at the heart of their everyday lives. They are a generation of Tweeters, Facebookers, Instagrammers, SnapChatters, WeChatters, Pinners and the like. They will give you their ‘stamp’ of approval or disapproval, share their feedback, comment and upload their videos and photos without delay. They are patrons of the ‘I need everything now’ club, meaning they need lines to move quickly and want to be served straight away. They need to be able to continuously charge their devices. Selfies are the norm, and there are different variations of it, such as the ‘Spafie,’ ‘Barfie’ or ‘Airfie’ (maybe you can figure those out). They are trendsetters and trendfollowers, leading the way into a whole new world of communication and exchange that hotels have to recognise, accept and adapt to if they want to attract this group of people.
Nowadays, hotels are being built and upgraded with the “millennial traveler” in mind. Thus, the hallmarks of a Millennial Hotel are the following:
They should be fitted with the latest technology and designed with the ease of use of this technology in mind. This means guests should be able to plug their Macbooks in when they are in the lounge or lobby, get free high-quality WIFI (so they can check-in and upload videos of your awesome bar) and have access to an app or hotel website to get information from instead of having to ask the concierge.
2. Well-designed spaces
This is key because visitors love sharing their updates, from ‘being in the hottest new bar, drinking the most amazing cocktail’ to ‘chilling in the rooftop pool while checking out the gorgeous views.’ Hotels need to create fantastic spaces that Millennials want stay in and share with the world via videos and photos. If your hotel has a great ‘reputation’ on social media, this is usually a good sign.
3. Customer service
Millennials might also use TripAdvisor, but they will more than likely use other channels to review the hotels, such as Goop, SheerLuxe, Tablet or Thrillist, mainly because their reviews and feedback are more raw, bespoke and ‘in the know.’ Hotels need to make sure their customer service is up to par because when Millennials post reviews, they make sure to be heard and expect a reply. Loews Hotels, for example, even allows booking of rooms by Twitter.
Another factor is design. This is key because Millennials enjoy cool pieces of furniture, interesting art, and unique places because they love to instagram, pin, post and tweet about them. Up and coming architects and designers are always a plus and a drawcard for this generation – so if Zaha Hadid is designing your hotel, it’s safe to say you are going to be getting some visitors.
5. Smart space utilization
Millennials appreciate a well-designed bedroom with smart storage features, hidden power sockets, multi-functional design furniture, ‘intelligent-lighting’ and ‘smart’ appliances from TVs to tablets. A hotel doesn’t necessarily have to have the highest price tag to do well. Modern, well-designed lodgings like CitizenM, Generator Hostels, Mama Shelters and Alofts, for example, are ideal for the Millennial traveler.
6. Extra services
Publicly engaging spaces and services are necessary. For example, yoga studios, spin classes, art programs, art galleries, trendy coffee or chocolate bars, pop-up stores, loft spaces where guests can chill and connect, and marketplaces where they can grab fresh juices and tuck into gluten-free treats – these amenities will set one hotel apart from another.
According to Ernst & Young’s Global Hospitality Insights Top Thoughts for 2014, in the next 5 to 10 years, Millennials are projected to account for 50% of all employees worldwide; 20% will be entering their peak spending ages and 40% have yet to enter the full-time workforce. Thus, Millennials are ruling the world and hotels are going to have to keep up with the times if they want to get on board this exciting and profitable train.