Millennials, the last generation to be born in the 20th century. A generation likely to live through three centuries. I'd say they're quite important.
By 2020, Generation Y will make up half of the global workforce. So who is this superhuman, VIP generation? According to demographers at Pew Research Center, those born between 1981 and 1997, which is roughly 27% of the global population are currently between 20 and 35 years old. Today, Generation Y spends 70% more on experiences than purchasing items. These young adults seek experiences with travel rather than settling down. I agree, it is much easier to spend two weeks travelling Asia than landing your dream job or putting a down payment on a house.
So are these adventure-seekers vivid travellers or just nomads? They are passionate about travel and willing to spend extravagantly. However, they won’t suffer in silence. This means hotels have had to accommodate this new generation. But what exactly attracts these millennials?
1. Target the millennial masses
Anyone in the hotel industry should be targeting millennials because the largest working generation will also be 50% of the consumer generation by 2020. Millennials are in their young adulthood and are becoming the world’s most important generation in consumer spending growth and leaders in the overall economic future. So, they are worth the investment!
Indeed, these changes to the hotel industry may attract the millennials but will benefit all generations. Hotel marketing has to target this growing consumer generation, according to Greenberg, “If we attract young people, old people will show up. But if you build a hotel for old people, young people never show up”. So what is it that captivates this enterprising audience?
2. Offer exclusivity
First things first, how different is the hotel from the others? How ‘Instagram- worthy’ is the hotel? Millennials often choose based on these 2 questions before booking a hotel or travel destination. The question “If you didn’t gram it did it even happen?” although said in jest, does have an element of truth in it. Let the millennials do the marketing for you by creating a unique experience, which they can’t help but brag about on social media. Overly preoccupied with themselves, with a slight obsession with individualism, they have developed the name Generation “Me”. Each one with the common goal of self-actualization, today’s young adults play to each other's eccentricity by using social media to display their personalized, meaningful, full of adventure lifestyles! They are hungry for a unique experience, one which matches their lifestyle and interests. Offering an experience as a hotel that will provide them a lifetime of memories with unparalleled views is the key to success here. Easier said than done though.
Image Credit: Attrap’ Reves Hotel, France
Image Credit: Kakslauttanen Artic Resort
3. Create an experience of a lifetime
The millennials may be the generation of avo on toast, lattes and going on Tinder dates, but when I talk about purchases vs experience, I don’t mean everyday purchases, I mean bigger investments. Generation Y would rather invest in the experience of a lifetime, than expensive jewelry or a swanky car.
The old phrase ‘you get what you pay for’ is out. Millennials want more than what they paid for. They want you to go that extra mile to turn their holiday into a unique experience, and I’m not just talking about free chocolates on the pillows… That’s not to say that the traditional ‘freebies’, like complimentary breakfasts, aren’t appreciated, just that they are no longer enough.
So you ask, how can you market to millennials to make their trip more of an experience? Well, some hotels, such as Hyatt Centric, are revitalizing room-service. Long gone are the days of silver tray service. Now, you can pick up your restaurant meal in a paper bag and either gorge on it in your room or have it on-the-go, for example, if you have a busy day of sightseeing planned.
Another way to create a unique experience for your millennials is to offer them local advice on the area. Who lugs around tour guide books anymore anyway? With apps such as RunGo, which points out landmarks en route, you can get a tour of a city and burn off a few calories from last night's meal in the process! These are just two examples of innovative ways to make your hotel special and attract those millennials willing to spend their money on new, original experiences.
4. Adapt to the high-tech culture
“52% of millennials use their smartphones to book hotels”
Technology is not just having free WiFi, to millennials, this would be like not providing toilet paper in a hotel bathroom - it’s just expected! Now that I’ve stressed that point, we can move onto exciting new technological inventions. According to a recent study, 52% of Millennials use their smartphones or tablets to book hotels and more than 20% have used their mobile devices to check into a hotel. Two-thirds of Millennials said they were willing to book an entire trip from their phones, so make your websites mobile-friendly! Hotels are beginning to adapt to the culture of technology. So much so that you won't find a front desk when you arrive, instead, you'll check-in at the bar. Just like how we’ve become accustomed to checking in on our phones before flights. Some hotels have decided to invest in mobile key services, an app that you download on your smartphone, which translates as a key for your door. Creating a much more modern experience for the user.
Adopting a high-tech, or even an all-tech approach is bound to make the customer feel special. If they can request towels, order room service and stream Netflix onto a bigger screen without going to the reception desk they will have everything they need at their disposal 24/7, making them feel more at ease and generally more satisfied with the experience.
Image Credit Zaplox
5. Visuals are key
"Content and visuals including images produce 650% more traffic"
Most importantly, Millennials are so technology-oriented that nowadays everything needs to be visual. Even texting mostly consists of just sending gifs… Anyway, as they spend their days roaming social media and other blogs with more images, fewer words, they become conditioned to a visual-oriented understanding. According to Webdam’s research, content and visuals including images produce 650% more traffic, meaning the photography involved in the representation of the hotel is quite a big deal. When it comes to booking the hotel, millennials look at photos first and foremost. Actually, 60% of them look only at the pictures posted before making a decision. Websites such as Booking.com and Trivago use stunning photos to capture millennials’ attention. Whether on the website or on the company’s social media, the photos are the customer’s first impression. Webdam confirmed that the average person forms their first impression within 50 milliseconds. You have less than a second to prove you are the best. Don’t you love millennials?
Provide the consumer with just the right pictures, perfectly photographed so they can imagine just how their experience will unfold. Conveying the atmosphere of the room and hotel features isn't easy, but it is a necessity to grab the consumer’s full attention. The idea is for the consumer's experience looking at the photos to be just as exciting as the experience they will encounter when they arrive. Use that mentality and the millennials will follow. Especially when it comes to having a unique hotel or experience, this is exactly what you want to catch your (millennial) consumer’s eye.
Webdam’s research also mentioned that people are 85% more likely to purchase a product after viewing a product video. Therefore, integrating a 3D or 360° experience will interest the 18-35 user, relating directly to their technological interest. For those shopaholics out there, this attracts Millennials in the same way that Asos catwalk does, using 3-D videos to show the buyer exactly how the clothes look and fit.
The power of video through the experience of a 360° tour made by Meero
6. Accommodate millennials’ social media needs
97% of Millennials post on social media on holiday. That is a huge proportion of your customers spreading the word about their experience at your hotel. In addition, 92% of social media consumers trust content generated by their peers more than traditional media such as TV, newspapers. This makes your hotel's interest in social media all the more important, providing a platform for your clients to do the marketing for you! Millennials aren’t afraid to applaud you on social media, but they also won’t hold back if something isn’t up to their expectations. This makes it all the more essential for you to monitor your social media and pick up on dissatisfied customers. More and more hotels are using Chatbots, AI-powered automated online assistants, to respond to any customer queries.
Another way to make sure your hotel is Insta-worthy is to join in with current trends to appeal to your target audience. For example, millennials are much more socially conscious than any other generation. So, if you're like Radisson RED with “paperless rooms,” advertise your hotel as eco-conscious and you'll be appealing to the largest demographic. They want to feel like their money is making a difference and you will increase your chances of getting a #shoutout on their social media accounts too! Some hotels have also used social media as a place to attract influencers by posting pictures of their guests on their accounts (authorized, of course) to front a ‘real’ experience, rather than always staged. Some hotels have chosen to follow the fashion world route and have become quite recognized for their celebrity postings and fashion blogging.
Edition Hotels show a good example of reposting a client’s image:
Image Credit: Edition Hotel's Instagram
Kenza Sadoun-el Glaoui (a French blogger with 149K followers) paid by Dokhan Hotel, Paris to promote their hotel on Instagram:
Image Credit: Kenza Sadoun-el Glaoui's Instagram
Edition Hotels also shows an example of representing the fashion world by posting an editorial picture of Winnie Harlow (Famous Model & Influencer with 4.3M followers on Instagram).
Image Credit: Edition Hotel's Instagram
Keeping up with the fast pace lifestyle of this generation isn't easy, especially when they have high expectations. A complicated generation but a stimulating one. Millennials are changing the world every day for the better. Follow them or fall behind.