How to draw Millennials to your hotel

attract-millennialsMillennials are taking over the world, literally. They have surpassed the Baby Boomers numbers and are now the largest demographic on earth. There are a few things that are different about the millennial-aged population (ages 19 to 34 in 2016) that make them quite different from their predecessors.

They like to spend money on experiences but not things, they seek immediate gratification and are considered the most tech-savvy generation yet. To draw in this large group of consumers, you must appeal to their preferences.

Free breakfast is still “in”

Don’t skip on the old-fashioned perks. Complimentary offerings such as free continental breakfast are still a draw, even for the younger crowd. Millennials like to get the biggest bang for their buck and that may be why they are sometimes known for feeling entitled.

Another thing about this age group is they have grown up in the age of convenience. Having a small market in the lobby that allows them “grab-n-go” options is also considered a plus with the millennial crowd.

Technology is a must

Dial-up internet and an old PC in the lobby for community use are no longer options if you are looking to attract millennials to your hotel. One of the most important things to this age group is being able to stay connected while traveling.

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A strong, password-protected Wi-Fi connection and an equipped business office are going to be a priority. Consider equipping the lobby with Skype capabilities for those traveling overseas or catering to those with smartphones like the Samsung Galaxy S7 edge by providing a wireless charging adapter for those who forget theirs at home.

Community ties

With the technological age, there have been a lot of perks, but this age group seems to have missed a certain social element that they now crave as adults. They look to make connections with others in their downtime and when on vacation.

Offering a large community space where your guests can meet others staying in the hotel is desired by this demographic. Having an open air bar or a large lounge area is often appealing to most adults between the ages of 21 and 35 as a space for meeting new and interesting people without having to leave their hotel.

Millennials also look to really engage in the areas that they visit. More than likely, they will be looking to learn more about the area they’re visiting and would like to have easy access to tours, guides and local attractions.

Spice up service

Since so many millennials are attached to their phones, why not give everyone an option to have the service they desire at their fingertips? Developing apps that can add ease and comfort to the vacationer’s experience is always welcome. Consider changing your room service offerings from being ordered by the hotel phone to an app that has the full menu, hours, listings, wait times and payment options all available at your guests’ fingertips. Putting your hotel shuttle on an app can allow your guests to request a ride and access shuttle times while leaving the gym without having to rush back to their rooms to do so.

And if you’re going to make an app for anything, consider one for your hotel bar. After all, who can complain when they’re able to order a drink while laying poolside?

Capitalize on social media

When you engage customer and guests through social media, the possibilities are endless. Millennials, in particular, seem to be more connected with technology than previous generations, and many of them believe a specific relationship with technology is what makes the generation unique.

We all have over a long period now been part of a shift in how we engage with each other. People meet online where they start to engage and build a quality relationship. This has also lead us to put higher trust in recommendations or advice from our online communities.

Whether it’s called peer-created content, consumer content or user-generated content (UGC), Ipsos’ research finds that millennials spend 30% of their media consumption time with content that is created by their peers (UGC).

Millennials indicate that information they receive about hotels through UGC is highly trustworthy and trusted 40% more than information they get from traditional media sources (TV, print & radio), including newspapers and magazines.

Consider that 92% of consumers trust online content from friends and family above all other forms of brand messages, 50% of consumers find UGC more memorable than brand-produced content, and 53% of millennials say that UGC has influenced their purchasing decisions.

Tap into your community and connect with Millenials to build a database of user-generated content. Whether they’re posting selfies in their hotel room or shooting mini makeup tutorials via Facebook Live, consumers are already sharing digital content about their favorite products and service. Through UGC marketing campaigns, hotel marketers can capture this content at scale, creating a valuable database of influential photos and videos that compel consumer purchase.

Start leveraging the UGC experience and deepen the relationship with your community, but be sure to implement proper guidelines to avoid conflicts and preserve the brand integrity and reputation.

About the author

Are Morch specialises in social media management for hotels. He works closely with hotels to create social media strategies that fit their needs and properties. Through social media, hotel blogging and hotel communities, Are identifies the values that will make your hotel’s performance stand out. He helps hotels build a social media foundation that impacts occupancy and revenue, and makes the social media tasks for your hotel easier.

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