Friday, September 25, 2015

Hospitality News For The Week Of 9/25/15

Google Accelerates Moves to Become Leading Hotel-Booking Player

In the wake of the Department of Justice decision to allow the Expedia acquisition of Orbitz to go forward, Google has begun making moves to position itself as a leader in hotel booking. Google is now offering hotels right inside Google search and has shut down its Google Hotel Finder. The search giant is also changing its pricing model to allow independent hotels to pay for search listings by commission, rather than pay-per-click. Full Story Here:


Luxury Branding ranks the world’s most popular hotel brands for 2015

Luxury Branding released the results of their independent analysis of 2.25 million traveller reviews on TripAdvisor to come up with a ranking of the most popular hotels in 2015. The London-based consultancy named The Ritz-Carlton, owned by Marriott International, the most highly rated by TripAdvisor. Surprisingly, other well established names such as Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts, St. Regis, Waldorf Astoria Hotels & Resorts, and others failed to make the top ten. Full Story Here:


US Hotel Occupancy Up 1.7% To 72.0% Week Ending September 19th - 2015 

According to data from STR, the U.S. hotel industry posted positive numbers in key measurements for the week of 13-19 September, when compared to the same period last year. For the week, occupancy rose by 1.7 percent to reach 72.0 percent. Average daily rate climbed 3.7 percent to $123.89. Revenue per available room was up 5.5 percent to end the week at $89.15. Full Story Here:


The Secret Of A Hotel’s Lost And Found: G6 Hospitality Reveals Results Of “motel 6 Items Left Behind” Survey

 A new survey by G6 Hospitality shows the items most commonly left behind by guests in their hotel rooms. Over half (54 percent) will admit that they have left personal items behind when they checked out of a hotel. 35 percent will drive back to the hotel to re-claim the items at lost and found. Clothing and toiletries lead the pack at 42 percent, as the most commonly forgotten belongings, Millennial Generation members are the most likely to forget something when they check out. Full Story Here:



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Thursday, September 24, 2015

Driving Hotel Bookings With Experiential Marketing

Travelers today are expecting, in many cases, much more than a relaxing time during their vacations. They are seeking to fully immerse themselves in their travel destinations and its surrounding culture in new and exciting ways. This trend is being driven by travelers in pursuit of unique adventures and their desire to find truly authentic local experiences while on vacation.

The experiential traveler is a direct result of the public’s easy access to destination information via the Internet. The rise of the sharing economy and the various alternatives to traditional accommodations available to travelers today has fed into this trend as well. No one is more knowledgeable regarding a particular location than a local who lives there and opens up his or her home to visitors from elsewhere. However, these travelers also provide an opportunity for hoteliers in search of fresh approaches toward improving the hotel guest experience.


Hotel Activities and Events

Hotel hosted events and activities, geared toward showcasing the local flavor, are precisely the type of experience vacationers seek. For example, hosting a cooking event led by a local chef will connect a hotel’s guests with the cuisine of a destination much more effectively than menu changes at the hotel restaurant ever would. Nature or historical walks hosted by a local and experienced guide will provide further connection as well. Another possibility is for the hotel to organize a musically oriented evening steeped in local folk traditions. Hotel guest attendees should be encouraged to actively participate with performers, as opposed to passively listening and watching. The many possibilities are as limitless as the hotel destinations are themselves.


Hotel Art

Hotels across America and around the world are discovering the power of artwork to convey a sense of locality and destination to their guests. Hotels can fill their common areas and accommodations with the works of local artists, while the art can become a destination unto itself. Many hotels are now hosting art auctions and display sales as well. Travelers can sometimes be enticed to book a hotel with the possibility of acquiring valuable artwork from the local artists there.


Hotel Mobile Technology

Mobile technology can enhance and improve the overall hotel guest experience dramatically. For example, hotel apps can become an extension of the hotel’s concierge services, particularly when the guest is off the property and out enjoying the locale. Apps can make recommendations based on local experience for everything from local food and drink to entertainment and culture.

Other customer service options available to hoteliers through mobile technology briefly include room set up, mobile check-in and out, and the use of a smartphone to open hotel room doors. All of which are appealing to the tech savvy, experiential traveler of today who is likely extremely comfortable with technology. 

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Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Hotels And The Senior Traveler

The “Baby Boomer” generation is now reaching retirement age, and advances in medicine are helping this generation,  sometimes referred to as the “Silent” generation, live longer and more active lives. There has never been a time with more senior citizens making up our population than right now. And many of these seniors have plenty of time on their hands, combined with financial abundance, enabling them to travel freely. This amounts to a sizable market of potential hotel guests. Many hotels have tried to earn the patronage of the senior traveler merely by offering “senior discounts,” forgetting that it might take much more to earn and keep the patronage of the most experienced of travelers.
Making hotels more appealing to a rapidly aging population should be centered on changes in attitude and the training of staff to be more sensitive to the needs of seniors. Instilling an awareness in hotel staff that human capabilities, such as strength, stamina, hearing, sight, and balance decline with age. And an appreciation of these facts is important in anticipating the needs of seniors. This is crucial for providing outstanding hotel service to those guests.
Another factor to be taken into consideration is the way most seniors, Baby Boomers in particular, dismiss the facts surrounding their age. They do not like being treated as seniors, despite the reality of their age, because they still think of themselves as young. Hotel marketing to seniors should appeal to their attitudes and sensibilities, not their age. Marketing efforts focusing on how the hotel stay will provide enrichment, wellness, and fun, will make those appeals stronger. In addition to the anticipating needs, be sure to provide an excellent quality of service to seniors.
Hotel rate pricing is another point which seniors are often misunderstood by hoteliers. Conventional preconceptions view seniors as frugal and that they only seek the least expensive way of travel. Nothing could be more untrue in reality. Seniors, being seasoned travelers, know what they like since they research travel extensively and have experience. What they are really seeking is to receive value for the money they spend on travel. In this regards as well, it is best for hotels to be very clear and forthright about any ancillary hotel charges seniors may incur while a guest.
Seniors, particularly Baby Boomers, will encompass significantly increasing numbers of hotel guests going forward in time. Finding the right hotel marketing message is imperative for hoteliers who wish to leverage this growing guest market.  

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Friday, September 18, 2015

Hospitality News For The Week Of 9/18/15

Why the DOJ approved the Expedia/Orbitz deal 
The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) gave the go ahead to Expedia to proceed with their acquisition of Orbitz, an online travel agency rival. This despite widespread opposition from the hotel industry, led by the American Hotel & Lodging Association, which fears a duopoly of only two leading online travel agencies; Expedia and Priceline. Among the reasons given by the DOJ is the current evolution-taking place in the industry with recent entrance of TripAdvisor’s Instant Booking and Google’s Hotel and Flight Finder. Full Story Here:

Business Travel Bookings Are Higher Than Or On Par With Last Year
A survey of 392 leading corporate travel specialists by Travel Leaders Group, found that over 80 percent of them stated their business travel bookings are either higher or the same as the same time period in 2014. The results were published as part of the 2015 Fall Travel Trends Survey of 1,152 travel agent experts. Almost 70 percent reported their clients added a hotel reservation onto their travel itineraries. Additionally, an over 68 percent majority report their clients book “Luxury” or “Upper Upscale” category hotel accommodations. Full Story Here:

STR: US results for week ending 12 September 
All three key performance measurements declined in the U.S. hotel industry for the week ending 12 September, according to figures from STR. When compared to the same period last year, occupancy was down by 6.4 percent to 63.8 percent. Average daily rate dropped by 1.2 percent to $116.07. Ending the week at $74.03, revenue per available room slid down by 5.5 percent. Full Story Here:

Today’s Traveler: How Online Travel Is Changing {infographic} 
Spring Metrics put together an infographic illustrating how the traveler of today is booking their travel. The infographic shows how travelers are overwhelmingly shifting to book travel online. For both business and leisure travel, hotel websites lead online travel agencies as the preferred booking method. 96 percent report beginning the travel planning process on search engines. Full Story Here:

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Thursday, September 17, 2015

How to compete with large hotel chains

Until recently, small independent hotels simply could not compete with large name brand hotel chains. That is all changing now.
In recent years there has been a shift in hotel trends as more and more people are booking their rooms online and relying on online reviews rather than just sticking with brand names that they know. Millennials are seeking a more one of a kind and personalized experience that large chains cannot provide. With this change in mind, small independent hotels should try to take full advantage, by providing a much more personalized experience that the Millennials are craving.
There are several ways to connect with your hotel guests to give them a more unique memorable experience. Ideas such as, creating partnerships with local companies and using local farms for the produce for the meals served in your restaurants or room service. Having a true connection with your local area and city will give your guests an experience that they might not get from larger chains.
Independent hotels should also have a large web presence, with a user friendly website, and interact with future and past guests on social media. By doing this, you make guests feel very important and that you care. Don’t forget to ask them for online reviews, and when reviews are given, respond to them quickly, whether it is a good or bad review.
You should also partner with online travel agencies (OTAs). This will allow guests to book their rooms, fights, tours and activities all in one convenient spot making it easier for them, as well as OTAs to market your hotel to a lot more people.
And finally, provide exceptional customer service and encourage your employees to go above and beyond. By doing so, you are providing guests with better service than large chains can provide and showing your guests that you are loyal to them.

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Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Generational Marketing For Hotels - Part 4

Generation X
Sometimes referred to as the “Lost” or “Forgotten” Generation, members of Generation X are gradually transitioning into their middle age and gaining some respectability. Born between 1965 and roughly 1980, they are now mostly raising families and in the prime of their working careers. Being much smaller in size, as compared to those that came before and after them, they are often overlooked in many ways and by more than just hoteliers. Despite being third in population size (roughly 60 million) to the brash Baby Boomers and hip Millennials who came before and after them, this would amount to a serious oversight by hotel marketers.

They Care About Family
For the majority of Gen X’ers, raising a family is their number one priority at this time. This should always be a central tenet of marketing to this demographic group. Since much of this generation’s current travel plans revolve around family vacations, considerations such as security and value, combined with fun, should be emphasized in targeted marketing efforts aimed at Generation X.
Another important factor to Gen X’ers is their careers, in which by providing for their families this generation is in their prime. Generation X, along with Millennial business travelers, is also mixing work with pleasure to a much greater extent than those who traveled for business before them.

They Care About Their Health
With middle age rapidly descending upon them, Gen X’ers are becoming increasingly health conscious. Amazingly, they are thinking of their health to a larger extent than the Baby Boomer generation before them. This generational trend can be best leveraged by a hotel which offers healthy choices on the restaurant menu and provides exercise and training facilities, in addition to offering cooking and Pilates classes for example. Presenting a weekend getaway as beneficial to health and well-being, will strike a chord with the Generation X traveler.

They Care About The World They Live In
Generation X has traditionally had a strong commitment to the earth’s environment and issues surrounding the welfare of our planet. But as they age, Gen X’ers have taken that care for their world a step further. They seek to protect and nurture more than the environment. This extends to every aspect of their lives, homes, and their savings as well. Generation X seeks safety and security for their world, any hotel marketing effort that taps into those feelings can win over the Gen X’er. Promoting water conservation programs, on towels and toilets by example, will show that your hotel shares their same sensibilities.
Generation X travelers are highly loyal, but in a different way than the generations before and after them. Largely skeptical of closely following brands, their loyalty can be earned however, the old fashioned way. Gen X’ers will return again and again to hotels, which provide excellent service, facilities, and value.

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Monday, September 14, 2015

Hospitality News For The Week Of 9/11/15

Which are the world’s top 10 hotel brands?
Leisure Travel magazine released the results of their reader survey, a part of their World’s Best list, of the world’s favorite hotel chains. The top ten were, in order: 1. Oberoi, 2. Aman, 3. Peninsula, 4. Rosewood, 5. Four Seasons, 6. St. Regis, 7. Auberge, 8. Belmond, 9. Mandarin Oriental, 10. Ritz-Carlton. Each of these chains share one thing common, each of their properties offer a unique hotel experience for their guests. Full Story Here:  

Hotels gearing up for 2016: Strong advance bookings provide positive long-term outlook.
Instead of focusing their efforts on capturing last minute hotel bookings, as the summer winds down hoteliers seem looking ahead to 2016. This is according to information provided in TravelClick’s Twelve Month Outlook (August 2015 - July 2016). TravelClick reports that committed occupancy is 2.2 percent higher compared to the same period last year, while average daily rate for already booked reservations is up by 3.4 percent. Full Story Here:

Infographic: Hotel software purchase trends
In a random survey 385 hoteliers conducted between April 2014 and June 2015; STR, Inc. uncovered trends in the purchases of hotel management software. The results were published in an infographic. 77 percent of hoteliers want an online booking engine in their hotel management system, while 75 percent need reservation management. The number one reason given for changing software was that their current system is missing features they need. Full Story Here:

STR: US results for week ending 5 September
The three key indicators of hotel performance were all up for the week of 30 August to 5 September 2015, according to figures released by STR, Inc. As compared to the same period last year, occupancy was 7.5 percent higher at 63.6 percent. Average daily rate rose by 6.6 percent, to reach $115.73. Revenue per available room climbed by 14.6 percent to end the week at $75.58. Full Story Here:

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Thursday, September 10, 2015

Work Day Time Management Techniques

Getting as many tasks done in your work day can be very difficult with all of the distractions that occur on a given day.  We notice with our business that there are days in which the distractions are endless.  But with some small changes, it’s possible to get all of your goals done for the day, with some time to spare. Listed below are some good habits acquire.

  • When you first get to work, prioritize and plan your tasks that you would like to get done that day. Try and get the most important and difficult ones done while you’re fresh in the morning (if you’re a morning person).  Don’t procrastinate, which with more difficult tasks people tend to do.

  • Schedule a begin date and an end date for your tasks. This way you won’t get bored or spend too much time on one task.  We use a task manager tool, called, Rally. It’s great for keeping track and scheduling tasks, and for updating the time spent on those tasks, and checking to see how the company’s tasks are coming along over a period of time. Also, turn your cell phone off or on silent if it’s too distracting for you.

  • Plan on some interruptions, as they are part of work life. When you are in the middle of an important work session or when there’s a crunch time, close your door and tell others that you can’t be disturbed for some amount of time.
  • Don’t let Facebook, Twitter, internet searches, emails, etc. distract you for too long. You can always schedule some time for them during a break. You should always make sure you allot some down time or small breaks. After your break, you’ll be able to hit the ground running and get more done.
  • You need to produce good quality work, but try not to be too much of a perfectionist. Many of us spend way too many hours out of a day making something that we’re working on perfect, and second-guessing ourselves.
  • Organize your workspace, which will make it easier to find things.
  • Delegate work, if you’ve taken on too much work. Other co-workers would be happy to help out if they have extra time.
  • If you’re old school, use a day planner, or if you’re more tech savvy, plan the day or week on your cell phone calendar or Google calendar by adding new events/tasks.

With all of our very busy lives these days, finding a little bit of extra time to reward ourselves at the end of a difficult task or work day is a great thing. If you implement even just a few of these time management techniques you’ll get more done, and have time for some breaks in your work day.

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Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Hospitality News For The Week Of 9/4/15

Hotel Industry to Labor: Overtime Increase Too High, Too Fast
In response to the Department of Labor’s (DOL) proposed overtime rule changes, the American Hotel & Lodging Association (AH&LA) has stated the changes come too fast for the industry and are too high as well. The DOL has put forth increases in overtime eligibility from the current $23,660 salary figure to $50.440. The AH&LA is urging restraint from the DOL in this regards, stating small business owners will suffer as a result of the implementation of these increases. Full Story Here:

STR: US results for the week ending 29 August
Hotel industry wide occupancy decreased in year-to-year measurements for the week ending 29 August. STR reported figures indicating a drop of 2.7 percent in occupancy, to 64.8 percent. However, average daily rate rose by 1.5 percent, to reach $115.95. Revenue per available room was down by 1.2 percent, to end the week at $75.16. Full Story Here: Releases Hotel Price Index results for the First Half of the Year; U.S. up 2%
Hotel prices in three key regions of the world have surpassed their levels of the pre-financial crisis of 2008/2009, for the first time since that period, according to figures released by Industry wide prices in North America, the Caribbean, and Latin America have climbed during the first half of 2015; with the U.S. leading the way with a 2 percent increase. The improvement is attributed to more people traveling, consumer spending increases, and currency fluctuations. Full Story Here:

ADR Growth Expected To Drive US Lodging Performance In Remainder Of 2015 And In 2016
PwC US has updated their forecast for the rest of 2015 and into 2016 for U.S. hospitality industry. Industry figures indicate solid growth in U.S. lodging this year will continue for the short-term future, into next year. PwC projects an increase in revenue per available room of 6.9 percent for the end of 2015. 2016 projections are for a growth level of 5.9 percent in revenue per available room, according to PwC US. Full Story Here:

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Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Generational Marketing For Hotels - Part 3

The first generation to have grown up with internet technology being an intimate part of their daily lives is in the process of coming of age. Some of the Millennial Generation are even parents themselves already. Millennials, sometimes referred to as Generation Y, were born between 1980 and 2000 and therefore grew up under constant barrage from the incessant advertising and marketing efforts of brands during the last 35 years.
Millennials make up the largest current generation, according to U.S. Census Bureau the number is 83.1 million. Millennials have not even arrived at their peak earning years or reached the pinnacle of their life’s potential disposable income yet. They literally are the future of travel and in order for hotels to garner the patronage of Millennials, they must appeal to their sensibilities.

Millennials have been using digital technology as long as they can remember. It is second nature to this generation. Mobile devices are especially significant to Millennials and seen as a necessity, rather than a convenience, as is the case with many members of other generations before them. Having a hotel website that is, at minimum, mobile-friendly is fundamental to any hotel marketing effort seeking to appeal to Millennials.
Offering hotel apps for mobile devices is another step in targeting this market, and will certainly interest other generations as well. Mobile device enabled check-ins, virtual concierge services, and the selection and ordering of various hotel amenity services, are all possibilities available to hoteliers that Millennials will find highly endearing.

It isn’t enough for a hotel to be merely present on social media. Millennials demand engagement and interaction with the brands that wish to get their business. An active and vibrant social media campaign featuring regular posts that offer attractive images and videos showcasing not only the hotel and its amenities, but other relevant information of interest as well. Millennials desire to truly experience their travel destinations and view hotels within that context. Highlighting a hotel as part of the larger local surroundings and culture will prove exceedingly charming to members of the Millennial Generation. Richly compelling and visual content is a highly effective path to engaging any hotel’s Millennial audience.

Having been exposed to intense marketing campaigns literally their whole lives, Millennials respond best to what they perceive to be authentic. Rather than indifferently absorbing the advertising from brands pushing their products, Millennials insist that companies meet them at their points of need and respond to their desires. The payoff for brands that follow through is the Millennial Generation’s penchant for enthusiastically referring them, and reviewing the companies they love.
Millennials are growing up with a high degree of social responsibility and will acknowledge through their patronage and referrals any brand that authentically supports shared causes.  Millennials believe in transformational action, as opposed to merely paying lip service to social causes. Companies that truly are making a difference in society with their actions are heartily supported in kind by the Millennial Generation.

In the last part in this hotel generational marketing series we’ll take a look at the so-called “Lost Generation” otherwise known as Generation X.

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Thursday, September 3, 2015

Generational Marketing For Hotels - Part 2

Baby Boomers

The hospitality industry has expended much effort and resources, transforming itself in an effort to meet the needs and expectations of the largest generation: The Millennials. Of course this is extremely wise, as Millennials are the future of the industry and make up most of the current population. However the Baby Boomer generation, second in size only to the Millennials, is far from finished with travel. In fact, the Boomers are just coming into their own as travelers, from the perspective of spare time and financial resources.
The Baby Boom Generation was born between 1946 and 1964 and is now over 50 years old. Recent figures published by U.S. News & World Report show that Baby Boomers control an astounding 70 percent of all disposable income in the U.S. Furthermore, 70 percent intend on taking an overnight vacation during the course of the next 12 months, despite saving for their retirement. Nearly half of them are planning on spending at least $1000 to as much as $5000 on their vacation. This amounts to an immense market, and a highly loyal one as well. As the U.S. News report goes on to state, 55 percent maintain their loyalty by returning repeatedly to their favorite brands.
Since it is expected that by 2017 over half the U.S. population will consist of Baby Boomers, it is imperative for hoteliers to fully grasp the needs and desires of this massive but aging population segment. Of course there is much common ground between generations in regards to appealing to their sensibilities, but there are specifics unique to Boomers.

  • They Think Young -
Baby Boomers are very young for their age, not only in regards to their activity level, but in the way they think as well. They still see themselves as still being quite young and enjoy acting that way. Hotel marketing efforts should never address them as seniors. Boomers truly relish experiencing the locale of their travel destinations, and seek activities that will stimulate both their mind and body.

  • They Are Tech Friendly -
While of less significance to Baby Boomers than Millennials, technology still plays an important role in their lives. The U.S. News reports that 83 percent of Baby Boomers conduct extensive research online before spending their money on travel, for example. The difference for Boomers comes in the fact that they see technology in an inherently different way than Millennials. While connection with technology is viewed as an essential part of life for Millennials, Boomers on the other hand consider technology to be a nice convenience that enhances their lives. Personal, human interaction is much more important than technological interaction for Baby Boomers. Boomers are very comfortable with technology, however they prefer their devices, apps, and web pages to be highly user-friendly and intuitive.

  • They Can Be Very Skeptical -
Because of the era in which they grew up, Baby Boomers tend to be suspicious of any organization or business vying for their money and loyalty. Events around their lives such as the Vietnam War and Watergate instilled this skepticism in Boomers, so it is crucial to earn their trust. Once a brand has earned their trust, Baby Boomers are exceedingly loyal to that company with repeated patronage.
In the next part of this series we will focus on the largest generation currently, the Millennials.

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Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Generational Marketing For Hotels - Part 1

A growing trend in travel is making its presence known in a big way this summer. Multigenerational travelers, families who vacation together as a group comprised of grandparents down to their grandchildren, are becoming an influential force in leisure travel. It is essential for hoteliers to understand the needs and expectations of this significant market segment and the various individual generations spanned within the trend.

Multigenerational Travelers
Several recent studies have analyzed this trend in travel. Reports, from both IHG and Preferred Hotels and Resorts, have looked at the forces driving and sustaining multigenerational travel.
The Preferred research found that in general, while grandparents (Baby-Boomers) are footing the bill for these trips, the parents (Millennials) are calling the shots by doing all the planning for the vacation. The Boomer grandparents, by being more established and affluent, are choosing to pay for vacations their children cannot afford without help. In turn, their Millennial children, naturally more adventurous and experience-seeking travelers, want to share their experiences with their parents.
Preferred Hotels and Resorts also found that despite the need for hoteliers to understand these multigenerational travelers as a whole, their communication with them must be separate and distinct. Hotel marketing interaction must always take into account the generational differences unique to each. This will be explored further in future segments of this series. Here are some key facts uncovered:

  • Grandparents Pay; Their Children Plan - The Boomer generation predominantly pay for these vacations 35 percent of the time versus 25 percent being paid by their Millennial children. The Millennials, 49 percent of the time, are strongly influencing the selection of hotel or resort accommodations. They also plan the daily vacation activities 77 percent of the time and the destination is chosen at 62 percent by the Millennials.

  • Multigenerational Destinations - This travel segment chooses mostly traditional vacation destinations: The Caribbean at 29 percent, Western Europe at 28 percent, Orlando at 25 percent, and various National Parks at 17 percent. They also are extremely loyal to their chosen destinations, with 35 percent stating their intention to return for their next multigenerational vacation. Additionally, 77 percent intend to make these trips every year.

  • Social Media and Traditional Travel Agents Are Key - Multigenerational travelers utilize the services of traditional travel agents 38 percent of the time, twice as much as all other leisure travelers. Also, Facebook is the most influential social media site for multigenerational travelers. 40 percent have made destination decisions at least partially based on content found on Facebook. Furthermore, 25 percent have selected a travel service based on Facebook content as well.

Multigenerational travelers will continue to exert a growing influence on the hospitality industry. Demographics are shifting and the U.S. census projects that their will be 80 million people calling themselves grandparents by the year 2020. In the next part of this series we will look at Baby Boomers as a specific travel segment.

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