Hi Joe here, resident millennial at Hoperator. I’m sure this isn’t news for you; but millennials like to travel. And, all the hype in the past couple of years show that we’d rather spend our money on experiences rather than material objects. But traveling can be insanely expensive. So we leverage technology to not only save some cash to pay for the inflated rent on our 300 square foot studio apartment, but also for the sake of convenience. And, as more us enter the workforce are extending our business trips for pleasure, we’re going to change the way business travel has been done to reflect an experience which meets our needs. The following are three major factors that are coming with a force to shift the hospitality experience.
1. Room Sharing
It’s no secret that services like Airbnb have had a major impact on the travel economy, and this will not slow down. In fact, a Goldman Sachs survey found that once consumers use a room sharing service, only 40% will prefer to stay at a hotel after the initial experience. This is an especially jarring statistic to consider since 67% of respondents between the ages of 18-24 have used such services, and 75% of respondents ages 25-34 have as well. In other words, an entire generation of people growing up are preferring to spend a weekend in someone else’s apartment rather than a hotel.
What does this mean? You can’t force people into staying at your hotel, hostel, etc. But you can certainly incentivize them to. Consider their motivations … price and experience. Think about how you can make the in-stay experience more affordable, unique and experiential.
2. Social Responsibility
Thanks to social media, millennials have been declared to be the most brand loyal generation ever. But, it’s going to take more than a Tweet or two to gain a following. We want engagement with our brands and we want it to provide value. We respect brands who give back to their communities and are passionate about, or support causes. A CrowdTrust study found 62 percent of Millennials are more loyal to brands that engage directly with customers on social media and that nearly 50 percent of respondents wanted socially conscious benefits like charitable giving or one-of-a-kind rewards and experiences as a result of brand interactions.
What does this mean? Consider your motivations for why you do what you do … it probably has a lot to do with your location and why you got into hospitality in the first place. What do you care about locally, regionally and nationally? Think about how you can integrate this (along with your unique offering and personality) into your social media messaging. And remember, your guests are already creating your social content.
3. On-Demand Support
98% of millennials between the ages of 18-24 own a smartphone, while 97% of millennials ages 25-34 own one. And we use them. A lot. So much so that all the way back in May of 2015, Google announced that mobile search queries finally pushed past desktop. And, last year research data showed that 40% of bookings from the entire populace come through mobile devices, so that number will continue to increase as millennials age and travel more.
What does this mean? Consider your own technology? How mobile friendly is it? How mobile friendly is your hotel? How easy are you or your staff to get ahold of? Don’t make us download an app! The smartphone is meant to make things easier, so don’t put up more barriers to entry.
The travel & hospitality industries are just one facet of a changing world. Who, besides Bill Gates and Steve Jobs, could have imagined we’d be carrying around a personal computer with us wherever we go, or the destruction of industries like the taxi? And where we will go next? I’m certainly not a fortune teller, but I do know one thing; it won’t look the same as today.