What Hospitality Can Learn from The Latest Generations of Guests
We get it—you’re tired of hearing about the millennial market. But when it comes to modern travel and lodging, Millennials make up a huge part of the market, and the newest focus, Generation Z, is on a massive rise.
In 2018 Travelport reported that 56% of Millennials planned to travel for the summer, with one out of three Millennials ready to spend upwards of $5,000 on vacations. And Travel Agent Central found that “Gen Z travelers are taking 2.8 leisure trips per year, which is just behind Millennials (three leisure trips per year), indicating that travel is already a priority for this generation.”
It may seem like endless hype: the search to please the latest and greatest generation of tech savvy travelers. But with Millennials making up the largest part of the U.S. labor force, and Gen-Z quickly on trend to surpass Millennials in 2019 as the largest generation, consumer-facing businesses have to pay attention to the interests of new generations or risk becoming obsolete.
And it’s not just about making new generations happy—it’s about overall improvements in the industry. In a world of boutique hotels, Airbnb and digital travel trends, your property has to be more than a place to sleep to gain the attention of the modern traveler. The travel trends and interests of the latest generations can inspire overall improvements in the industry.
So what are new generations focused on? And how can shifting your property’s focus to modern travel expectations improve hospitality overall? Let’s explore it!
Experiences Over Stuff
We know you’re constantly looking to provide the best service for guests at your property, but maybe you’re not focused on providing unique experiences, and therein lies opportunity! New generations are increasingly more interested in spending money on distinctive experiences and opportunities.
A study conducted by Eventbrite found that Millennials value experiences over stuff: “More than 3 in 4 Millennials (78%) would choose to spend money on a desirable experience or event over buying something desirable, and 55% of Millennials say they’re spending more on events and live experiences than ever before.” And Travel Agent Central found that “when asked to prioritize, Gen Z rank activities and once-in-a-lifetime trips or bucket-list experiences well ahead of deals or lowest price, even more so than other generations.”
Traditionally, hotels often focus primarily on amenities, cleanliness and quality service—which are all vastly important, of course. But modern lodging options like Airbnb also focus on accessibility, experience and community.
There are a couple of easy things that your hotel can start doing right now to focus more on experiences:
Promote local attractions and events close to your venue. Embrace local culture and community! Look into local events and keep a calendar of them so your staff can provide guests with up-to-date information on what’s happening in the community around your property. Keep a directory of nearby attractions so that you can quickly show guests everything available to them when they stay at your property.
Some hospitality management softwares (like Quore) even offer the ability to save and manage local attraction information in the system so it’s always easy to provide to the guest.
Provide in-house activities and opportunities. Experiential hotels like 21c Museum Hotels and Quore customer Art Ovation do this particularly well by offering art exhibits, boutique style hotel stays and dining options all in one package. This creates a unique experience directly tied to the guest’s stay.
But even if you don’t have capacity to create a museum hotel experience, you can work with what’s available at your property. Promote your in-house dining options or a property spa! Provide customized guest experiences. Offer entertainment packages that supply guests with the best value for their buck.
If you have a budget for in-house events, consider hosting live music periodically, purchasing exclusive art pieces or offering novel digital experiences like photo booths or augmented reality. These kinds of things make for memorable experiences that go beyond basic amenities or guest service.
You can track hotel events in digital calendars like ours so you and your entire team always know what’s going on around the property that guests can take part in.
Convenience & Personalization Through Tech
In a world of free online tutorials and two-hour grocery delivery, Millennials and Gen Zers expect quality service—and fast.
Social media and digital trends are a big part of new generations—and a growing part of modern travel expectations. Millennials have grown accustomed to online shopping and technological convenience, with 46% booking travel via a smart device. Generation Z travelers are particularly avid about technology being part of their experiences, as they’ve never grown up without it. 70% of Gen Z travelers use smartphones to access travel inspiration.
New generations also turn to devices to problem-solve and find solutions. HospitalityNet points out that “Gen Zers are more likely to accept automatic service or services provided by machines as they tend to find solutions on their own and rely less on a salesperson.”
To provide faster, digitized service that meets the modern travelers needs, hotels have to embrace the same enthusiasm for tech as the Millennial and Gen Z guests they hope to attract. And it doesn’t have to be overwhelming! There are a few easy ways to start rolling out digital solutions at your property:
Employ software such as digital concierge tools available through applications like Whistle or Quore. Solutions like these help to streamline guest and staff communication and increase clarity. Guests can simply text your team for info, requests or complaints.
Ensure guest expectations of cleanliness and service by using housekeeping management software and hotel optimization tools. You can find a number of solutions geared toward housekeeping that move your property away from dated solutions like binders and radios. Solutions like ours allow you to record and view guest-related room updates—even sudden ones, track cleanings and inspections, analyze performance trends and even report work order requests.
Offer optimized wifi and specialized digital applications. Make sure that your wifi can support your guests’ needs. And, if you can, offer special digital applications just for your hotel. These kinds of apps can contain blog content or recommended reading, local events and attractions or maybe even digital room keys.
Tailor your loyalty program to engage guests and personalize their hotel experience. Repeat stays are consistently good for business. 61% of travelers choose loyalty programs with lots of reward options and 68% of millennials remain loyal to hotel brands that offer greater rewards. Employing loyalty programs can be a great way to utilize technology and glean data to curate customer experience, track overall customer loyalty and engage with guests.
Socialize Through the Screen
Both Millennials and Gen Zers are comfortable with social media, with many using their social presence as a platform for recommendations and purchasing decisions. 84% of Gen Z travelers reported that social media can influence them, especially travel posts that include photos or video content. And 87% of Millennials look to Facebook for travel ideas.
Hotels can relate to new generations on social media by posting consistently and engaging guests through their social platforms. Brands like Marriott, Hilton and IHG feature stunning shots of locations, property features, food and people on their social accounts to advertise and draw attention to the experiences you could have when you stay at their properties. Marriott and Hilton also use social to interact with guests that post about their experiences, good or bad, which creates relationships and leaves a good impression on new generations that value when customer service reaches into the digital era.
Employing modern social media advertising and targeted ads can also prove to be a great marketing tool to attract the Millennial and Gen Z crowd—60% of Gen Zers said advertising can be influential in their travel decisions and HubSpot points out that Millennials are “247% more likely to be influenced by blogs or social networking sites.”
Building a Generational Following
You don’t have to cater everything to the new generations, but by keeping these things in mind can attract a new and loyal following while improving service for everyone at your property. Generations like Gen Z can be extremely influential—Over 70% of Gen Zers have an important influence over their own family’s spending. These new generations are bringing others into the fold, which can be invaluable to your business.
Whether you employ one of these things or all of them, your property will benefit, and you’ll be evolving your services to keep up with the expectations and demands of the future. It can seem daunting making changes, but selecting new services to optimize your hotel doesn’t have to be complicated. Check out sites like HotelTechReport and Hospitality Technology to find top rated products and compare features.
Learn more about Quore’s hospitality solutions by visiting us at quore.com!