In 2017, millennials will become the most important consumer group for hoteliers. Not only are they the biggest generation yet, millennials will replace baby boomers and become the primary spender in the hospitality industry. However, this tech-savvy generation does not book, travel, and engage hotels in the same manner as other generations. This shift in consumer segmentation and behavior means a shift in guest preferences, which are moving towards digital convenience, mobile engagement, and customized experiences.
In this article, Zuzapp discusses what hoteliers must do to stay competitive and capture this growing market. In part, hotels must understand millennials’ travel decisions and adapt their hospitality service and technology strategy, as this weighs heavily in millennials’ buying decisions
Mobile Innovation is Critical for Millennials
Millennials are looking for authenticity. They are less interested in a cookie-cutter experience and want to discover something new both on and off the hotel property. To that end, millennials are using mobile technology to look for local inspiration, shop for deals, and interact with their preferred brands for more convenient communication and personalized service during their business and leisure travels.
“Both business and leisure millennial travelers are much more interactive through their smartphones and tablets," says Ricky Plaskett, director of revenue management, Georgia Tech Hotel & Conference Center. "They want technology to be integrated into every aspect of their hotel experience, and are more open to using mobile technology to enhance their stay and engage our staff during their travels.”
Understanding the unique nature of millennials’ mobile behavior in tandem with knowing the goals of business and leisure travelers allows hotels to improve engagement with their guests before, during and after their stay. This unique and timely engagement is key to providing deeper experiences, increasing guest satisfaction, and securing long-term relationships.
Business Millennial Travelers
Millennial business travelers are specific about knowing what they want from their hotel experiences. Hotels need to effectively communicate all of the necessary amenities that business travelers need.
“We’ve embraced mobile technology to better connect with our business millennial travelers’ needs," says Allison DeHenzel Teat, assistant general manager, the Hotel at Arundel Preserve. "To ensure the best guest experience, we focus our mobile guest engagement strategy on three main principles: connection, convenience and context. By providing relevant content, an easy booking process, and a mobile engagement channel to satisfy both our guests’ work and leisure needs, we are offering a service that exceeds their expectations.”
Similarly, after a long day of work, millennial business travelers are also looking for diverse and fun ways to unwind.
"Given all millennial business travelers carry a smart device, we use mobile engagement and texting to elevate our service to best meet their business and leisure needs," says Matt Hood, Director of Guest Services, Hotel Capstone. "By connecting with them directly through their mobile device we’re able to satisfy their business requests in real-time while curating relevant leisure recommendations.”
Leisure Millennial Travelers
Unlike business travelers who generally spend more on their travels, leisure millennial travelers are more price sensitive. Leisure travelers have a greater appreciation for the extra “frills.” They look for ways to improve their travel experience in an affordable manner. Leisure millennial guests look for hotels that provide them with offers, packages and incentives to enhance their experience and stay within their budget.
"Our goal is to help our guests get the most out of their stay," says Susanne Simpson, general manager, Pavilion Grand Hotel. "With mobile engagement we have the opportunity to increase the satisfaction of our guests by pushing mobile offers right to their smart device. By doing this we can promote compelling packages such as city events and festivals, city tours around the most popular tourist destinations, itineraries for family excursions, romantic getaways, restaurant specials, and much more.”
"Providing a virtual mobile concierge allows us to deliver added value and better connect with our guests when they are both on and off our property," states Tim Bilston, general manager at Amora Hotel Riverwalk Melbourne. "This gives our guests direct access to property-specific services including room service, concierge services, spa offerings, golf reservations, restaurant reservations, valet services, and stunning hotel visuals for our guests to explore.”
Combining Mobile, Local & Personal with Anything, Anytime & Anywhere
Embracing mobile technology is key for hotels to enhance the guest experience and win millennial loyalty. Mobile guest engagement & messaging empowers hotels to connect and bond with guests in the moment during their stay, both on and off their property. By pairing technology with “the human touch,” hoteliers can redefine personalized service to win the loyalty of their most influential customers.