If you’re not familiar with the term millennials, you need to brush up on your social jargon. The Millennials (also known as the Millennial Generation or Generation Y) are the demographics force that follows Generation X. This group has birth years ranging from the early 1980s to the early 2000s.
Millennials play a major role in the hospitality and tourism industry. This is a savvy group that want better value when they travel and expect premium services. Their customer service demands are high and recognizing and responding to those demands will help create a stronger foothold with the catering market.
The hospitality industry changes rapidly, ever evolving and adapting as increased competition between hotel brands and internationally trained and qualified staff become the norm rather than the exception.
There are number of things that impact the hospitality sector but understanding the five basic factors will help put you at the forefront of your industry.
People used to travel for business in short hops and week long stays at resorts for personal/family holidays. The millennials travel for all sorts of reasons. They are a group that travels abroad to teach, to explore and expand their education.
Budget constraints do not seem to play a major role in hotel choices for this demographic. While baby boomers are more frugal with their travel budgets, perhaps because of the time they grew up, millennials prefer luxury hotels that include spa services. Roughly 50% of those that fall within the millennial age category expect and utilize the service of dry cleaning, room service and other amenities available in higher end hotels. Another 1/4 of those that travel to higher end accommodations fully expect and seek out pet-friendly hotels as pets for millennials are part of the family.
Although many millennials are approaching the period in their lives where family, mortgage and car payments are a financial reality, these double income households have greater disposable income than ever before and use that income for their own immediate comfort, pleasure and satisfaction. Their hotel preferences are largely driven by budget and they budget for luxury. It is no longer enough to just hire staff. You must offer skilled and trained employees to meet the demands of the travelers with expectations that all travel reach a certain level of their standards.
Travelers are changing their expectations. Millennials are full of enthusiasm, and see the world as their oyster. They don’t confine themselves to one place or even one continent. This generation has a sense of adventure. Their desire to experience the best travel opportunities possible and the demand to have those options readily available and modifiable to their particular needs is becoming more and more evident.
Millennials don’t hope to be elite or at the top of social influence, they create it for themselves. Social media plays a huge role in how they view the world and themselves within that world. Their perception is reality and they make it that way. With friendship connections worldwide, travel referrals are made via social connections. Nearly half of all millennials will turn to people instead of businesses for advice on travel, For this reason it is imperative that hotels offers the best possible experience to every guest because that guest could be the connection to any number of other reservations. It is also a good reason for hotels and caterers to have a strong social media presence through such outlets as Facebook, Twitter, and most importantly a website since millennials want to see what they are investing in.
The millennial demographic desire to connect with and share goes beyond just social media however, As world travelers they are seeking greater opportunities to make connections with others within their own work industries and others that share their own specific interests. Hotels now find the need to invest in the basics of the hotel such as the lobby. That is the point of reference for the millennial. It’s not just a room to sleep in but an overall environment to wrap themselves in what they believe is catered to their individual needs. Lobbies and common areas are no longer just check in spots but are becoming more and more about spaces designed and developed to offer social gatherings to their guests.
As more and more people travel for weddings this means more guests and more accommodations required. It’s an on-demand world know and millennials are looking for instantaneous information and results when they search. They have become accustomed to information at their fingertips and are willing to pay more to get it faster and git it first. Millennial travelers will avoid staying at hotels that are not easily accessible. Many millennials choose not to drive, for whatever reason, so access to public transportation from hotels is important. Once at their chosen hotel millennials are demanding of the availability of one of a kind experiences and personal attention.
Today, you don’t need a travel agent to make arrangements, you can book an entire trip from flight, hotel and food on line. Technology has put travel at our fingertips and simplifies it for everyone and millennials take full advantage.
They are a very tech savvy group and their technology is always on hand. If you’re in the hospitality industry that means your facility should not only support those needs with in multiple in room charging stations, WiFi at no cost and room management systems on iPads but also through apps available on their mobile and smart phones so they can choose in advance that your hotel offers what they need even on the go. It’s all about creating, enhancing and living up to a personalized experience for the millennial traveler.
Quality Over Quantity
What drives the hospitality industry is customer satisfaction. The millennial traveler looks for not just quality but exceptional, personalized service and demands it on the spot. Millennials want and seek out international standards of excellence in the hotel of their choice. Average meals, average accommodations and standard amenities will not cut it. Because Millennials take extended holidays, business trips and even visit cities and stay for several days it is necessary to attract them with the comforts of home and the luxury of vacation.
In order to meet those expectations the hospitality is increasingly having to hire a more higher qualified degree of personnel in hotel management, food and beverage management, casino management, club management, and tourism.
Sustainability of the Environment
Eco tourism, eco friendly hotels and guest practices such are now common travel expectations. Millennials understand the importance of businesses that recognize the value in implementing green business practices. They also look for hotels that incorporate green procedures to reduce the demand on the environment such as reduction of linen change.
To survive and to thrive in such a incredible competitive industry, evaluate where you stand in the five important things about the millennial demographic group.
If you are seeking a career within the hospitality industry, understand it is now a more complex, more sophisticated and much more highly demanding environment. No longer is the industry at a local level, but increasingly and a global level attracting chefs, people with field and academic training.
Understanding the millennials and their demands will help put you in the forefront of the industry.