Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Building Hotel Brand Loyalty - The Young Traveler

Younger travelers, those between their late twenties and forties, comprise a large group of hotel customers whose influence is growing both in travel and society at large. The so-called X and Y Generations have, or in the case of the Millennial Y Generation, are just reaching the point of full decision-making and buying power. As hotels increasingly feel the influence of these age groups, the hospitality industry is being transformed because of their different set of expectations and growing clout as consumers.

These expectations, if met, will garner a higher degree of hotel brand loyalty than seen in older generations of travelers. Research by and Egencia has found that 51 percent of travelers from the Millennial Generation think hotel loyalty programs are important to them when booking hotels. This is in contrast with Baby Boomers being influenced by loyalty programs at only approximately 30 percent.



Mobile Technology


Younger travelers have grown up with technology and are completely comfortable with using it in every aspect of their travel. This includes planning their trip, booking hotels, making reservations during their stay, and voicing their opinion about the hotel through review websites and social media. Older generations are catching on to technology, and utilizing it in growing numbers for travel. But for the Millennial Generation and many from Generation X, mobile smartphones and tablets are just a part of everyday life, almost like breathing. For the younger traveler, hotels having a mobile app is just expected.




Social Media

While living with their mobile devices, younger travelers spend considerable time on social media and expect to be able to truly connect with the brands they give their money to, including hotel brands. Hotels, in order to earn and keep the brand loyalty of younger travelers, must have a robust and engaging social media presence across multiple networks. This means not merely putting up a page or opening an account and forgetting about it. Frequently updated posts featuring images and videos must be followed up with true interaction with hotel brand fans and followers. Not to mention the fact that younger hotel guests are more than willing to express their brand dissatisfaction on social media.


Hotel Design

Another factor that motivates younger generations of travelers is their love of design. This is a reflection of their level of comfort regarding the mixing of work and play. They desire spaces that can accommodate both worlds. One hotel design feature that can meet their needs is having large open lobby areas for social interaction while the young traveler works simultaneously.

The younger traveler is an important hotel market segment for hoteliers since population figures show that Millennials outnumber Baby Boomers. This will only increase moving forward through the coming decades. The young traveler of today is a future hotel guest who will shape the hospitality industry of tomorrow.


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