Love ’em or hate ’em, millennials are the largest generation ever — and they’re all grown up. As we know by now, the majority of the millennial generation has different values and spending habits that inform their behaviors as consumers, and these differences extend to their vacations and travel, too. For hotels like yours, that means deploying a new and different marketing strategy aimed at the millennial traveler.
If your hotel is going to appeal to this generation, you’ll want to first understand what they typically like and how they travel. For starters, the majority of this market look for convenience and a good deal, but they’re willing to pay for a share-worthy experience and special amenities. They’re tech-savvy and always looking for something new. If you can implement sales techniques that cater to these priorities, you can jump right into the millennial market.
Have a strong social media presence.
A hallmark of millennials and Gen Zers is their use of multiple social media platforms. Sharing lives with friends, family and perfect strangers with a single tap of their phone is the norm. And this is something you can also “tap” into.
Your hotel should have accounts on all of the major social media platforms and post on them regularly. This gives your brand more visibility in the places younger travelers spend much of their time, and the option for other users to share your posts, tag your property and spread your content to their friends. This gives your content and messaging legs, furthering your brand’s visibility.
Instagram is currently the fastest-growing social network and is a great fit for hotel properties of all types. Set up an account for your property with a recognizable handle (username) that reflects your brand and start posting content. You can post photos of your hotel and employees to highlight its amenities and company culture, or share posts from past guests or curated experiences from around your city.
As people start taking notice of you, be sure to interact with them by responding to comments or offering incentives to share your posts. For example, you could ask for pictures taken on your property or offer entries to giveaways for reposts. Consistency is key in your social media strategy.
An influencer strategy for hotels is another tactic that can go a long way. Influencer marketing is basically a cross between word-of-mouth marketing and a celebrity endorsement. However, finding the right influencer is truly an art form. You don’t want to choose someone who has bought followers or doesn’t speak to your target demographic. It takes time and experience to vet influencers and make sure their audience is the right fit for your brand, as well as negotiating payment structures and promotion details.
Focus on your amenities.
We’ve already established that millennials typically don’t have the same travel tastes that their parents or grandparents do. They want unique experiences that they can tell their friends about.
Millennials notice details, so small changes like stocking eco-friendly toiletries, free cold brew coffee or offering Netflix in your rooms are likely to get their attention. Focus content around details like modern decor, room service offerings, and concierge services that can suggest exciting local dining and entertainment options. For millennials, it’s the little things that count. Pay attention to fads and lifestyle trends that can help you stay current and give millennial guests the experiences that gain their attention and, hopefully, their loyalty.
One of the biggest assets at a hotel property is the dining options. Hotels are increasingly focused on turning properties into dining destinations, keeping guests spending more time and money on the property. This strategy for hotels across the globe is attracting millennial travelers at increasing numbers.
Millennials are known for their attraction to foodie-focused locales and destinations that pay particular interest in expanded dining options and menus. This allows your hotel an expanded array of marketable assets and, depending on your chef’s approach, an extended brand for your restaurant and chef leading the dining experience.
How you use technology will also be a big factor in how well you’ll attract millennials. For one, you can use it to help them find you. Make sure your website looks great on mobile devices. Otherwise, you will likely lose direct bookings just for having a slow or unresponsive web page. You’ll also want to ensure information about your hotel is easy to find online and that you’re using SEO to your best advantage so you show up quickly in Google searches.
You can incorporate technology into your hotel services, too. For example, innovative hotels are now offering apps that double as door keys for guests so they don’t have to worry about losing their key card. Other hotel apps allow guests to order room service or other items without calling down to the front desk.
Offer great value.
While millennials are willing to pay for an experience, they’re also looking for a good deal. Most came of age during the last recession and sky-high college tuition pricing and have been forced to be frugal as adults. It’s common to balance their budgets with their desire for a memorable experience. If you can provide a comfortable, unique hotel experience at an affordable price, you will quickly find a niche in the millennial travelers market.
As more and more millennials follow their Instagram-worthy dreams of travel and adventure, they’re going to need places to stay. If your hotel can market to this demographic based on their unique priorities, you can increase sales and build a loyal customer base.
The ability to stay current and be flexible in a changing world is indeed a distinction of the millennial generation themselves. If adopted, it will only help you keep up with them and stay in their consciousness as they continue to take over — or, rather, travel — the world.