The meteoric rise of shared economy options in the hotel industry has intensified the efforts of many hotel chains when it comes to gaining and retaining loyal guests. According to Nielsen Scarborough, of the over 151 million U.S. adults who stayed at a hotel/motel last year, Millennials accounted for one-third (34%), or more than 52 million, of those overnight guests. That’s over a million a week! With Millennials (those between the ages of 21-39) predicted to replace Baby Boomers (those between the ages of 50-69) as the primary guest segment, understanding the Millennial hotel guests’ lifestyle and travel attitudes will help hotels stay ahead of the curve and develop strategies to attract and retain this influential consumer group.
Internet and digital service offerings will play a big part in attracting and retaining millennial hotel guests. Nearly two-thirds (63%) of millennial hotel guests own both a smartphone and a tablet, and the majority (53%) spend more than 10 hours on the Internet in an average week; 24% more likely than the average hotel guest. And while 70% of them consider their mobile phone as a source of entertainment, they’re not just playing games and social networking on their devices. Actually, one-quarter of Millennial hotel guests used their smartphone or tablet in the past month to make travel reservations (airline, hotel, auto rental, etc.), making them 27% more likely to use their mobile device for a travel reservation than the average hotel guest. Investments in search and easy to use mobile booking apps will be key to attracting the Millennial guest.
But what about once the hotel is booked. Guests will want to research the area, see what’s going on around them and experience the town like a local. Hotels could partner up with local businesses by offering coupons or discounts specifically geared toward guests. And doing it through the hotel’s app would be a great way to deliver it them as 44% of Millennial hotel guests agree they like to receive coupons on their cell phones based on their location (28% more likely than the average hotel guest).
Speaking of strengthening ties with the local community, hotels with a bar or restaurant on-premise would also benefit from linking up with the local businesses. Purchasing local products and highlighting them on menus can go a long way with Millennial guests since nearly two-in-three (63%) agree they try to buy food that is grown or produced locally. They are also 36% more likely than the average hotel guest (21 or older) to have drank a microbrew/craft beer in the past month. When coming up with a menu to tailor to Millennial guests, think healthy and organic. Four out of five (81%) agree they try to eat healthy and that they pay attention to their nutrition. Additionally, more than a quarter (27%)buy organic food on a regular basis.
What other services could hotels offer that would align with the lifestyle of Millennial hotel guests? Well, knowing that 52% of Millennial hotel guests own a dog or cat, and 62% agreeing that pets deserve to be pampered, hotels would be smart to offer a flexible pet policy and pet-friendly services. A “pet’s stay free” policy or a play area for dogs would be a good start. Also properties should consider partnering with local businesses which provide pet-sitting and/or grooming services and offering discounts to guests. These things would surely entice any pet-owning Millennial guest, as well as strengthen ties with the local community.
With the dynamic shifts in the hospitality industry over the past few years, hotels need to ensure they’re doing all they can to connect with and accommodate the needs and preferences of their guests. Developing services that match those needs and preferences is one sure way hotels can attract and retain the soon-to-be most dominant consumer group in the country, Millennials.
Source: Nielsen Scarborough USA+ Release 1 2016