3 Ways to Resonate with Digital-Minded Millennial Travelers
This trend is important for organizations in the hotel hospitality industry to recognize and leverage as millennials grow to be the largest and most frequent group of travelers. According to The Millennial Brief on Travel and Lodging, a new trends report from marketing consultancy FutureCast, millennials have always had the luxury of accessing the infinitely informative digital universe to support their travel customer journey when it comes to travel booking. In today’s market, 75% of millennials have travel apps on their phones. As a result, millennials don’t merely appreciate digital tools and resources from travel organizations; rather, they demand brands to incorporate technology that removes friction, adds efficiency and enhances their overall experience.
This demand has led to a generation of travelers who are dependent on technological devices from the planning stage to the actual stay. FutureCast believes this is a steady characteristic of this entire generation that will be imperative for hotels to utilize if they hope to resonate and remain relevant with these consumers.
Utilization should focus on pre-trip, mid-trip and post-trip technology.
- Pre-trip technology should inspire travelers to book. Hotel brands need to be present and find ownability in the pre-travel and planning phase. Integrated apps are one option, as they provide function and extended content about an organization. Another route is developing a site or platform to answer a variety of questions a potential guest might have. For example, Hyatt introduced www.social.hyatt.com, a site driven by user-generated content from those staying at one of Hyatt’s 575 hotels, to inspire potential travelers. Experiential content filters let visitors use specific terms, such as “golf,” “spa,” or “food and drinks,” to narrow down to information about exactly what they hope to plan.
- Mid-trip technology should provide frictionless connectivity. Having free WiFi is not enough. It’s already well-known that digitally savvy guests are utilizing apps and smartphones to make the process of check-in easier at the properties enabled with such tech, and this evolution (spurred by millennials) will continue until it spans all facets of an organization. Integrated apps are again a popular option here, as well as any type of software that can streamline organizational processes and guest experiences. For example, Aloft Hotels by Starwood has introduced two new systems called Botler and Aloft TiGi. Botler provides a robotic butler that immediately connects guests with an array of service offerings. Aloft TiGi stands for Text It, Get It, and serves as an emoji room service menu that is used by texting a string of emojis with a last name and room number.
- Post-trip technology should simplify future planning processes. While pre-trip and mid-trip experiences are vital to the overall satisfaction of a guest, the post-trip experience is necessary to positively bookend the stay. Hotels need to utilize technology and software that allows them to track guest preferences and actions during a stay in order to follow up with them successfully and encourage loyalty. For example, if a hotel has the software to first note that Anna from Kansas City booked Room 1106 with a skyline view, ordered sparkling water from room service two out of the three days she stayed, and made a request for extra pillows, and then aggregate that information into a database, they will be best positioned to reach out to her again and ensure that she feels valued and unique. Millennials respond to this particularly well, as they highly value personalization, customization and the ability to co-create.
There has never been a better time for hotels to create a truly connected relationship with millennial travelers, as millennials want the integration of digital devices and technology during their stay and view it as extremely important to their overall satisfaction level. The organizations that are effectively able to do this will obtain an entirely new level of resonance and, subsequently, profitability.