How Do Hotels Market to Millennials?

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When I think of Millennial marketed hotels I think of small rooms instead of suites, less of an overall luxury feel, grab & go food rather than proper room service, speedy wifi, a push for people to mingle and be social whether by way of a larger lobby or cafeteria style bars/restaurants, and more of a self-checkout grocery store line feel than an eager concierge. Are there any facts to support my impression? HotelREZ Hotels & Resorts has released an infographic intended to help hotels market to Millennials and I think readers may find some of the data interesting too.

Poised to take over as the next generation of travelers, Millennials will surpass baby boomers by 18 million in the year 2030. Hotels definitely want to appeal to Millennials, who are defined as being those who were born between 1980 and 1999.

According to the infographic –

36% of millennials prefer automated self-service check-in kiosks versus 19% of non-millennials.

Grocery store self-service lanes? No thank you. I can’t stand trying to find the bar code on an item to scan or try to weigh my vegetables only to get an error message to see an attendant. To me it just says “cost cutting”. Airline kiosks? Not really, for the same reason. I don’t like wasting time and then ending up having to hunt down someone to finish the process. Many Hyatts and Marriotts now have automated kiosks but I skip those in favor of the traditional agent check-in. Why? The kiosk often just gives me a room assignment automatically and there is no place to ask if it is a corner room, ensure that there is no connecting door, or see if there is a suite available instead of a standard room. A hostess can check the room type and make a change if needed. If automated kiosks operated so that room choices were given I’d probably use them more.

You probably won’t be surprised to hear that reportedly 80% of Millennials sleep right next to their smart phone, or that 48% check Facebook as soon as they wake up. 86% are disappointed that a lot of websites don’t offer a good mobile functionality.

The study shows that this means the gradual disappearance of a standard hotel concierge, and the implementation of social media based assistance and smartphone apps.

It also means that technology, especially good wifi is important. This one I wholeheartedly agree with, and am pleased to see that large hotel chains like Hilton, Taj Hotels, Marriott are starting to offer free wifi to all guests. Now all they need to do is upgrade their internet and router so the wifi isn’t impossibly slow.

36% of millennials claim they prefer to work in the lobby area of hotel, versus 17% of non-millennials.
So says HotelREZ “Millennials love to practice ‘isolated togetherness’, i.e., working on their laptops or smartphones while in public locations, such as cafes or hotel lobbies.”

I’d really prefer to work in private rather than around others. Hence my love of the increasing privacy of airline first class suites.

IMG_1903Etihad First Class Apartments

Hotels seem to be taking note though, and many have increased the size of the lobby lounge area along with adding more comfortable seating and power ports. I’d wager that one of the reasons that so many Millennials liked to hang out in hotel lobbies is that lobby wifi used to be the only place it was free. Now that free wifi is offered in guest rooms I wonder if the number of those still preferring the lobby will change.

When looking around for hotels, you may have seen buzz phrases like “locally grown ingredients” or “distinctive artwork”. According to the infographic, this may be because Millennials want unique experiences at hotels and this is their way of providing that.

One area I hope everyone agrees with is a focus on the environment. The infographic shows that minimizing or reducing waste is important to Millennials.

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Studies show that Millennials travel on a budget. I’m not sure if that is because they are younger and thus have less money to spend yet, or if they just don’t want to blow as much money on a holiday as previous generations.

The hotel industry is listening though and it seems I was correct about the smaller hotel room sizes, according to HotelREZ.

Screen Shot 2015-06-15 at 10.40.41 AM

Here are some other interesting points from the infographic –

Screen Shot 2015-06-15 at 11.02.40 AM

One area the HotelREZ Infographic didn’t touch much on was meal habits. If Millennials are spending more money on gourmet meals while traveling, why are some hotels doing away with room service or paring down their menus and open hours?

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I am not a Millennial, so my perspective is obviously different from those who are. What are your thoughts on the findings?

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  1. BenT

    All of this sounds about right to me as a so called “Millennial”. Your comment: “Studies show that Millennials travel on a budget. I’m not sure if that is because they are younger and thus have less money to spend yet, or if they just don’t want to blow as much money on a holiday as previous generations.”

    I travel on a budget because I want to take a lot of short trips. Blowing a year’s travel budget on one week or weekend doesn’t make a lot of sense when there is so much to see!

    • Melinda

      That makes sense BenT, and that way you can fit more travel in. Thanks for sharing!

  2. Nathan

    I agree with these findings for the most part. I like to spend less money traveling so I can take more short weekend trips.

    I spend most of my discretionary income on food and beverage, and will pay a lot of money for a more local experience in that regard.

    Smaller hotel rooms are great–big rooms are often furnished poorly and make me feel awkward. I appreciate clever uses of space. I lived in Japan for 2 years and they seem to have this figured out. Pod hotels could be a great way to go; Imagine your own bed/room in new york for $59/night

    Also a huge gripe that could be good marketing to millenials– I want to rent a car in a city and be able to return it in a city on a Sunday past 2pm–why do so few places offer this? Also, cheap one-way rentals. I’m not sure if it’s just me, but I love to include some kind of journey within my vacation. I like to come into one place and leave from another (fly to Montreal, train it to Quebec City and fly home from Quebec City….Fly to Chicago, train to Kalamazoo, bus to Grand Rapids and fly home from there). Inflexible and expensive car rentals make these kind of trips very difficult.

    I’m 29.

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