The Millennial Generation
The largest generation currently is the Millennial Generation and accordingly they have become the most influential in brand marketing efforts. Consisting of people born between the early 80’s and mid 90’s, Millennials were largely raised by the Baby Boomers and early Gen Xers. Sometimes referred to as Generation “Y”, Millennials are, significantly the first generation to grow up with Internet technology as an intimate part of their daily lives. Digital technology is second nature to Millennials and is considered a necessity, rather than a convenience to them, in direct contrast to most members of the generations before them.
Millennials garner much attention from hospitality industry marketers for a number of reasons vital to revenue growth of hotels. Besides being the largest generation, they love to travel and consider it a much greater priority in their lives than the gathering of material possessions. Even better for hoteliers, when Millennials travel they tend to stay longer, and like to spend money on extras. And those extras are all about finding authentic experiences, which is the driving force behind Millennial Generation travel. They are not looking to bring souvenirs home with them, just treasured memories they can share across their social networks.
Although there is a trend across all travel segments toward seeking authentic experiences, in no other generation of travelers is it so profound. Millennials generally do not go on vacation to relax poolside, they go in order to expand their cultural horizons and gain from finding other perspectives. Therefore, hotel location is crucial to Gen Y in making their travel booking decisions since they prefer to be right in the center of things, as opposed to in a more remote spot. Additionally, hotels would be wise to provide Millennial travelers with as much relevant information regarding the locale as possible since it is expected.
Since Millennials have used technology and the Internet as long as they can remember, they really have no need for travel agents. They much prefer to do all the online research themselves and using a booking engine is second nature to them. Another expectation of this generation is a mobile device friendly website, at minimum. Offering hotel apps for the mobile devices is another step forward for hotels in targeting this market segment. Mobile check-ins, virtual concierge services, and the selection and ordering of various hotel amenity services are all further possibilities available to hoteliers, which Millennials will also find highly endearing.
Hotels which meet the Millennial traveler at their points of need and respond affirmatively to their desires will reap rich dividends. The payoff for hotels, which follow through, is the Millennial Generation’s inclination to enthusiastically refer and review the brands they love, not only in person but also across social media.
In part four we will take a look at the youngest generation of travelers, Generation Z.