Each new year brings a number of changes to the hospitality industry. If you read my Hospitality Industry Trends in 2014 piece, you know that millennials are one group that will drastically affect the way business is done in the upcoming year. In a recent webinar for the California Hotel and Lodging Association I co-hosted with Junvi Ola, Chief Content Editor at Hospitality Content Studio, we analyzed the presence of millennials and their impact within the industry, as well as the best ways to effectively market to this group.

Millennials are extending business trips

Millennials, or Gen Y, includes any member of the US population who was born in the 1980s or 1990s. This sector accounts for 25% of the overall population, 30% of the U.S. workforce, and is recognized as the largest consumer group in U.S. history with $200 billion in annual buying power. Marriott has stated that within the next 5-10 years they anticipate 70%-80% of their business to come from millennials. When we take into consideration the fact that this group takes an average of 9 trips per year, imagine how strongly it could influence the industry’s economy through spending a large sum of that $200 billion annually on travel expenses. For these reasons, it is imperative to develop marketing and business strategies that will allow hotels to capture millennials as a major target market.

Not only does this generation enjoy travel, but it also enjoys the social interaction that comes along with travel, focusing on a lifestyle that maintains a steady work-life balance. More often than not millennials are extending business trips for personal leisure and are willing to spend more time and money for a great experience. They enjoy a personalized and unique atmosphere, delicious food, central meeting spaces such as lobby bars and hubs, and free wifi and advanced technology. We must take into consideration that when they are not given the experience that they paid for or expected, Millenials are likely to write an online review through websites such as TripAdvisor, Yelp, and Facebook. Remaining present and checking online reviews on a regular basis will be very beneficial to how a business performs and manages its customer service.

Attracting millennials as loyal repeat customers can be challenging but with the right design, tactics, and product, capitalizing off of this group can become simpler than you think. Below are “13 Tips on How to Brilliantly Market to Millennial Travelers” taken from the recent webinar:

  1. Focus on the experience
  2. Use storytelling, not hard sales
  3. Don’t insult their intelligence
  4. Adapt quickly
  5. Market with spunk and creativity
  6. Assume they’re looking at more than one screen
  7. Clean up your web presence
  8. Aim for word of mouth
  9. Be conversational, instead of going viral
  10. Join conversations already in progress
  11. Stay on top of all reviews
  12. Show you’re current
  13. Give them something to brag about

Taking these tips into account in preparation for 2014 will ensure success in capturing this influential demographic for years to come. For a more in-depth analysis of millennials in travel, take the time to watch our December 4th webinar here.

Lodging Industry Forecast for 2014 Hotel Guru Robert Rauch Invited to Serve on Editorial Board for Two Publications

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