Millennials represent the next prized demographic for the travel and hospitality industries. This group, made up of those individuals age 18-34, is looking for an experience, and may not be satisfied with a standard hotel stay. To millennials, personalization is a great way to develop brand loyalty, and a one of a kind experience is the golden ticket to repeat business for your property.
Trends Among Millennial Travelers
As millennials continue to look for a unique experience, they are tending to shy away from the traditional hotel. Millennial travelers are actually a major reason why companies like Airbnb have taken off in the past couple of years, specifically in the leisure travel market.
According to a recent eMarketer study, the leisure travel market is not the only place where millennials and Airbnb are making great strides. A small but growing amount of business travel spending is shifting to Airbnb – a trend that, if it takes hold, could pose a threat to the broad hotel business.
According to the report, the impact of Airbnb is limited today because the service is often used as an inexpensive lodging alternative for younger travelers. Longer term, the threat could be substantial if these millennial travelers continue to use Airbnb once they become regular business travelers.
Other Important Millennial Trends
- Real Time Information – Millennials are one of the first generations to grow up with handheld technology. They know how to use their smartphones, tablets, and other devices to find the best rates and deals. More often than not, these individuals also would rather use these devices for many travel activities (especially hotel check-in) than face-to-face interaction.
- Social Media/Real Time Information – Social media allows millennial travelers to connect with anyone and everyone at the touch of a button. Millennials are typically referred to as the Now Generation because they demand information as it occurs, and are eager to share at the same pace. They expect hotels and hoteliers to do the same. Incorporating social media into your day-to-day operations will help to nurture this particular demographic.
- Booking Structure – This is a trend I attribute to two different phenomena: The millennial generation and the most recent U.S. recession. There was a time when families typically planned their vacation more than 93 days (approximately three months) prior to leaving. In fact, at one time this number was probably closer to 180 days (six months), with packages purchased months in advance. The recession changed this because these same families were unsure whether there would be enough money to take a trip so they held off on planning until the “last minute”.
Now, with the abundance of OTAs, metasearch engines, and real time deals and packages, travelers are more willing to wait for the price of a room to go down as opposed to booking early.
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