The sheer mention of millennials conjures up images of young adults walking around with their faces glued to their phones, seemingly oblivious to the world around them. While it might give some reason to laugh, hotel managers would be remiss not to include them in their strategies for improving the guest experience. Why? Because facts:
- Millennials are the fastest growing travel demographic
- More than 50% of millennials shopped on a mobile device for a hotel this past year
- Millennials actively seek personalized experiences
So what exactly does a millennial look for in a hotel experience? Two things: convenience and personalized experience. What that means varies depending on where they are in the lifecycle of their trip.
Millennials have a different approach to shopping, and it almost always begins with their phone. That means your hotel’s website needs to be able to catch their attention. Quickly. Your website has to be optimized for this type of search and easy to navigate. Information about pricing, local attractions, and even maps or guides should be readily available. It’s inconvenient to have to search three different websites for all of this information. Provide it all in one place. It will keep them engaged and–as millennials are more likely to book a trip on impulse–more likely to book a room.
Every guest should feel like the hotel has been anxiously awaiting their arrival. This goes beyond just millennials, but their desire for personalized experiences accentuate this element. Personalization in this context is about establishing a relationship, a real connection with your hotel. While this ultimately begins during the booking stage, it’s essential to flawlessly transition from a digital touchpoint to a human one.
Everyone on your staff, from valet to bellman to front desk personnel, should work together as a team to provide this connection. And it starts with communication. The valet attendant should get the name of the guest and give it to the bellman, who then provides the name to the front desk. By the time the guest checks in, everyone knows their name and they’ve only told one person.
Millennials rely on various modes of technology to get through their day, be it for work or pleasure. That carries over into what they want from their hotel experience. With mobile technology so prevalent among this group, it would behoove your hotel to invest in offering guests a way to access hotel amenities. Make as much as possible accessible through mobile technology. Room service should be a click away, not a phone call where they’re put on hold.
Food options should also be convenient, which is why many hotels have embraced pantries in their lobbies to offer guests a quick snack or items like toothbrushes or iPhone chargers that guests could’ve easily left at home. Remember, convenience is key.
Once a guest leaves the hotel doesn’t mean the relationship is over. In fact, it’s just beginning. If you want them to come back, or book a room with another hotel in your brand, it’s imperative to stay in touch. Emails and social media are great ways to engage the millennial audience. You might think it’s too intrusive, but millennials expect it. If you fail to continue the relationship, you could loose them as a future guest.