Gen Y Hotels Changing Hospitality and Why Training Matters

Millennials want more than just a room to stay in. This post lists how 3 millennial hotels are keeping their younger guests.

Published on 2 August, 2016 | Last modified on 1 November, 2022

Millennial Hotels Appeal To Younger Audiences

The hospitality industry is all about the experience. Nearly all throughout history, hotels were revered for their luxury services, amenities, and location. Or, they were chosen as quick go-to’s for affordable overnight stays.

Yet, the emergence of services like Airbnb have bolstered the sharing economy, leaving many hospitality services scrambling to achieve new business.

The typical Airbnb customer is the millennial – which is generally defined as someone born from early-mid  1980s to the late 1990s.

Many hotel marketing and operations departments are puzzled as to what the younger generation wants aside from sharing and affordability.

The New York Times concludes, “millennial travelers want three things:  customized experiences, digital convenience and relevant information on social media.” Citing Phocuswright Research, The Times reports that 70 percent of 18- to 34-year-olds took at least one leisure trip in 2014, and while millennials spend slightly less annually ($3,217) than older travelers ($3,381), they do travel more on the fly. Perhaps that’s why Travel Agent Central sited an increase of domestic travel – 13.9 million more to be exact!

Further, nearly a quarter of millennial travelers booked their last trip less than one week before departure.

Although they spend less on travel, millennials simply cannot be ignored. More likely to travel on the whim, millennials have the opportunity to become reliable hotel patrons. Yet how are hotels currently shaping up to attract millennial guests? Here are 3 millennial hotels that are charming the younger generation away from the sharing economy:

1. Canopy’s Customized Lifestyle Millennial Hotels

Being a tourist and being an explorer are met with very different attitudes for millennials. When you think of explorers you think of adventurers, trailblazers, and even thrill seekers. Whereas the word “tourist” connotes the foreign visitor, gawking at attractions from the clipped-in safety of their fanny belt.

Although just nouns, today’s younger generation is more eager to define themselves along terms of exploration than by the borders of the traditional tourist industry. Generally speaking, tourists are thought to be relatively insulated. A seldom few will leave the resort without the assurance of a travel guided tour. Millennials are more immiscible and likely to mix in with locals instead of staying confined to the separate layers of tourism.

Unlike previous generations, millennial guests are likely to spend less time in their rooms on a quest to find local and authentic restaurants, shops and experiences. Millennials also have a tendency to share the details of their ventures, driving them to opt for more unforgettable and picture worthy hotel views even if there is a substantial price difference. As a result, millennial hotels like Canopy by Hilton entice the younger generation to discover their boutique hotel environment.

Each Canopy location is different from the rest. Since no two locations are the same, the Canopy guests stay is uniquely connected to its neighborhood’s brimming locality and culture – offering authentic local food, drink, art, and music.

Purely lifestyle-centric, this Hilton chain appeals to millennials with locally inspired design elements and the chance to take 360 degree room tours by location prior to booking. Even hipper, Canopy offers a “Break Fast” option in substitution for an artisanal breakfast, delivering breakfast brown bags for explorers on the go.

Tip:  Take a cue from Canopy’s playbook and influence your hotel’s amenities from its local surroundings. Carefully market your brand’s messaging, including its lexicon, to appeal to an authentic dynamic.

2. Moxy’s Millennial Third Spaces

The third space of any hotel is a neutral communal area–cafés, bars, lobbies, lounges and restaurants alike–and millennials thrive in them.

Operating as the social or work centers of the hotel, third spaces are hubs built for either buzzing or quiet activities. As third spaces are becoming increasingly prominent, the days of dressers, closets, tubs and desks are dwindling. Minimalist rooms are moving in with hardly more than a bed and large TV. At that, the millennial checklist for rooms is so simple that it is a bare minimum for some:  clean and efficient rooms with access to high-speed wifi.

Proceed with caution, as Mashable illustrates these minimalist hotel rooms are a nightmare for older travelers. Nonetheless, a nightmare for some is a dream for hotel operations.

Devoid of traditional amenities, these rooms are less expensive to construct and easier for cleaning and long term upkeep. Plus, because they are stripped to the basics they visually appear to be larger than in actuality. As millennial hotels and their guests would say, less is more.

Between a guestbook that doesn’t contain signatures in favor of Instagram pictures, Moxy Hotels, markets itself as more of a playground than a source of lodging. Clicking through their website, you’ll find an affection for free thinkers and creatives (hailing from Moxy competitions like Blank Canvas) and an overall encouragement for Moxy guests to share more of their hotel-going experiences with the hashtag, #atthemoxy. With a heavy focus on third spaces, Moxy guestrooms are merely described as being equipped with high-speed wifi, a buzzing living room a comfortable bed – in that order.

Tip:  Most millennial guests don’t use their closets; an upgrade to your third space environments is worth investing in. However, if you’re a multigenerational hotel don’t neglect older patrons like Baby Boomers by replacing all guestroom amenities with impractical furniture.

3. Aloft’s Automated Digital Concierge

The majority of hotel booking is done online, making the transition to a digital concierge an appropriate shift for the hospitality industry. Digital concierge takes it a step further, allowing guests to order standard hotel services like dry cleaning, shoe shining, housekeeping, maintenance or airport pickups with a few taps from their phones.

Likewise, check-ins, room service, restaurant or spa reservations, and tour packages can now be requested through digital concierge services, automating much of the inner workings of millennial hotels. Although primarily a faceless service, digital concierge does provide the opportunity for instant guest feedback. Guests using these services have the option to send notifications on their levels of happiness throughout their stay.

Fast and automated, guests can bypass the front desk altogether. Apps like SPG Keyless notify guests when their rooms are ready through a text message. Skipping the check-in line, guests using SPG Keyless can go directly to their room and hold their smartphone or Apple Watch in front of the door’s keypad to unlock the door. This is becoming an increasingly common process but perhaps is most wholly embraced by Aloft Hotels.

Aloft Hotels is the epitome of digital concierge services. For example, have you ever felt like words cannot express what your stomach is trying to tell you? In addition to their keyless room entry, Aloft offers emoji-only room service where guests can text a series of emoji instead of using actual words.

Then there’s Botlr – Aloft’s “cyber colleague,” a robotic butler. Botlr receives requests sent from guests’ smartphones, with the ability to deliver on guests’ requests like poolside towels, midnight snacks, and extra in-room toiletries. In replacement of tips, Botlr gladly accepts gratuity in the form of tweets, something millennials are all too familiar with.

Tip:  Be sure to train your hotel staff to become masters of the new technologies made available to customers. Hotel operations teams should be ready at a moment’s notice to face any problems that go awry.

This post has been updated for accuracy and relevance during October of 2017.

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