4 min read
Brands like Marriott’s Moxy target the growing Millennial market in the Hotel Industry.
Well established hotel companies and investors are looking to stay ahead of the curve, and this is definitely the case when adapting to trends in the hotel industry. In today’s hotel markets, Millennials are establishing themselves as a formidable force. With markedly different preferences than their older counterparts, hotel developers and investors are looking to cater to these younger travelers to ensure that they stay ahead of the curve. For many hotel flags, we are seeing significant changes in response to those preferences.
Good news for the hotel world – Millennials overall prefer to spend their money on experiences, rather than on material goods. Luckily for hotel investors, this means that hospitality is a great area of opportunity. The Millennial travel market is only going to grow more and more, and learning this generation’s preferences and how to appeal to them is essential for continued long-term success in the hotel industry. Here are some of the ways hotel’s are seeking to appeal to this group of travelers, and earn brand loyalty early on.
Interactive Social Media
Millennials are more tuned in to their devices than ever. As opposed to more traditional advertisements through commercials and print marketing, many of the most successful brands are turning to engaging their customers online. Marriott’s Moxy brand, for example, has established their own instagram account (@MoxyHotels), and encourage their guests to share pictures online using hashtags such as #AtTheMoxy. This social media wave is incredibly efficient – guest travelers who post and share their experiences at Moxy Hotels provide what is essentially free marketing. That extra boost in exposure to guests’ peers can build a rapport among Millennials as they begin to build loyalty to specific brands.
No surprise here. Going hand in hand with social media, capitalizing on technology and engaging with your customers is a major step that hotel developers need to compete with. Having wi-fi available for guests beyond just their rooms has become expected, rather than a luxury amenity. Many hotels are moving towards providing charging stations in the more communal areas of the hotel, or providing more USB charging ports in their rooms to accommodate mobile-friendly travelers. Even hotel rooms themselves are seeing an increase in the number of power outlets. Holiday Inn parent company IHG also recognized such patterns in their guest habits:
“At Holiday Inn, the first thing hotel guests can do upon entering a room is recharge their phones. When designing the new H4 guestroom, parent company InterContinental Hotels Group conducted focus groups and consumer testing to determine where to place power and USB outlets…One result is a ‘Welcome Nook,’ a place for guests to hang their coat, drop their keys, and plug in devices.”
Airbnb has developed a mobile app to appeal to younger customers more than ever, and creating apps that facilitate check-in and check-out will give hotel brands an edge over their competition. Large companies such as Marriott already have apps that allow you to check-in to your room on your phone, and also incorporate other features such as allowing you to track and earn loyalty points. Creating these apps also offer an additional stream of revenue by opening up advertising opportunities on the app to nearby businesses seeking to appeal to Millennials and other customers as well.
Large Communal Spaces, but smaller rooms
With the increased emphasis on social media and communal experiences in general, hotel brands are seeking to develop hotel products with larger communal spaces. Larger lobbies, recreational rooms, and more open-design spaces. Some hotels, such as Hilton’s Tru brand, are now also designing their rooms smaller, with more efficiency. A hotel may remove their ironing boards and in-room bars in individual rooms in exchange for larger communal versions of them on each floor. Similar to the advantages of a dual-brand model, these design differences have the potential to save developers money, while also appealing to their younger customer base – a double win.
More outlets, and larger communal spaces geared toward more points of social contact. (Source: Tru by Hilton)
It’s important to note for hotel developers and investors that while smaller rooms are efficient and may appeal to many customers seeking a more communal experience, caution should be taken especially in full-service and luxury hotels, where making rooms too small can actually be unattractive to their customers who may value that larger space and more individualized amenities. Millennials currently are largely tourist travelers looking at more budget-friendly options. Generally – keep in mind which customer base you are appealing to, and what amenities your hotel offers.
It’s important to keep in mind upcoming preferences as hotels seek to capture Millennial travelers. The Millennial generation is still growing and as the generation ages, their average income increases, and we expect full-service and even luxury hotels to start adopting some of the trends and design changes that we already see in millennial minded hotel products.
However, at the end of the day, it’s also important to continue driving the personal, human aspect of hotels. There is no replacement for quality service, and hotel developers should not see technology and amenities as a complete replacement for strong customer service and quality associates and hotel staff to drive guest satisfaction. It’s that combination of strong customer service and appealing amenities that will push Millennial interest and loyalty in the long run.
Saiidi, Uptin. Millennials are prioritizing experiences over stuff. CNBC. May 5, 2016. https://www.cnbc.com/2016/05/05/millennials-are-prioritizing-experiences-over-stuff.html
Moxy Hotels. Marriott. http://moxy-hotels.marriott.com/en
Trejos, Nancy. “Hotels add plugs, ports for device-laden guests.” USA Today. May 21, 2017. https://www.usatoday.com/story/travel/roadwarriorvoices/2017/05/21/hotels-add-plugs-ports-device-laden-guests/101863684/
“Marriott Mobile App | The Perfect Travel Companion.” Marriott. mobileapp.marriott.com
Meltzer, Matt. “How Tru by Hilton Is Trying to Win Over Millennials.” Aug 23, 2017. CN Traveler. https://www.cntraveler.com/story/how-tru-by-hilton-is-trying-to-win-over-millennials