Switch to #MILLENNIAL MODE
The millennial generation has pushed the hospitality industry across the globe to change its traditional marketing ways and connect with guests on various social media platforms for greater reach and impact.
One may think that the buzz created by millennials is slightly overrated with every move of individuals aged 18-34 being monitored – What do they like? How do they travel? Where do they go? Service providers digging deep into the nitty-gritties are tweaking their offerings to make everything more millennial-friendly, and for good reason. The United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) estimates around 20 per cent of global travellers to be young, contributing a huge chunk of tourism revenue, who also tend to stay longer and interact more closely with the local communities than average tourists. Millennials are almost twice as likely than non-millennials to travel for a hobby, and explore more for things like food and wine, entertainment, shopping and outdoor activity, according to a research by the Boston Consulting Group. By 2020, 320 million international trips are expected to be made by youth travellers each year, highlights a report by WYSE Travel Confederation, giving testimony to the fact that millennials are the demographic to be looked out for. Millennials, with their tech-savvy and contemporary ways are changing the dynamics of the industry and service providers are scrambling to adapt and evolve.The sharing economy was one of the aspects that took the world by surprise and lifted off as a result of the millennial wave with aggregators like Air BnB cashing in. The accommodation sharing company is projected to touch as much as $8.5 billion by 2020 in revenue. However, such consequences have compelled hotels to change their strategies to stay relevant to the changing times and many have employed an overhaul in their approach, vibe and services.
TECHNOLOGY IS KING
Technology is indeed a key differentiator in the race for appealing to the millennials and plays a very crucial role. It’s no surprise that you instantly recognise a millennial with their head bent down, engrossed in their smart phones. Findings from the Expedia Millennial Survey 2017 show that 94 per cent use smart phones, while another 56 per cent make use of computer tablets. Brands like Aloft Hotels are looking to grab a piece of the pie by upping their technology game and catering to their high-tech needs, be it for business or for leisure. From a state-of-the-art work space with complimentary Wi-Fi, Aloft also offers entertainment amenities like plug-&-play docking stations and a one-stop connectivity solution for multiple electronic gadgets like PDAs, cell phones and laptops, all linked to a 42” LCD TV. Faiz Alam Ansari, Complex General Manager, Aloft Bengaluru Cessna Business Park, throws more light on the requirements and says, “Understanding the needs of the millennial traveller, we also provide SPG keyless check in, where with a swipe on your smartphone, you can gain access to you room. They maintain a high preference on the availability of technology, along with easy-to-reach outlets in the rooms and a lounge or lobby area conducive to working are crucial elements as well.” Radisson Red, a new offspring of the Carlson Rezidor Group has been curated keeping in mind the ageless millennial mindset and offers a customisable experience driven by technology. The RED App lets guests avoid queues by checking in and out and using their smartphone for secure keyless entry to their rooms while guests can place an order to the in-house restaurant and
pay through the app. Guests can also request hotel services with the click of a button and a chat feature allows them to connect with other guests to see the local nightlife or share a ride to the airport.
NEW CONCEPT, NEW PHILOSOPHY
Targeting a specific segment also entails the need of a different feel to the property to make the guest experience something out of the ordinary without compromising on the comfort and the quality. While there are some who opt for high-end luxury, a large portion of millennials prefer budget accommodation and alternate options. A relatively new concept of pod hotels (not that new in Asian countries like Japan) has entered the Indian market with the first of its kind in Mumbai. Urbanpod opened its doors from March 2017 and has been targeting millennials and business travellers with its futuristic pods, public networking spaces and economical rates. Shalabh Mittal, one of the brains behind Urbanpod comments, “We strongly feel that there is a sheer-necessity for such Pod Hotels in India, more so in a busy metro like Mumbai with the kind of peak passenger-traffic it witnesses, coupled with its high-rentals and its shrinking-spaces.” “Whether it’s hygiene, free breakfast, free Wi-Fi, area to socialise, satellite television, technology
features in the pod and most importantly, the right price point, millennials are extremely value driven and avoid spending too much,” adds Hiren Gandhi, Co-founder and Director, Urbanpod. Elaborating on this, TJ Joulak, General Manager, W Goa states, “Millennials are all about living in the moment, they are always looking for what’s next and new, something which the brand also believes in. Their need of knowing more and not settling for just one thing is met through our brand pillar – W Insider, which ensures extraordinary experiences for the guests and gives the right inside knowledge of the hottest happenings in Goa. This is perfect for the millennial culture and exactly what they want in a vacation.” One of the other strategic moves by W Goa include using video and digital content to tell a story that relates to them, and get influencers to talk about the experience that revolves around the property and the destination.
DO IT FOR THE GRAM
Uploading photographs on Instagram and Facebook are the norm which is why several properties are imbibing ways to make everything ‘Instagramworthy’. Ansari points out, “Aloft Bengaluru Cessna Business Park taps this feature effectively by installing an actual, life-size Cessna aircraft hanging above the lobby. The guests watch it in awe as this unique and funky feature is not available in any other hotel.” Radisson Red has an interactive digital wall at the centre of the lobby which displays social media and entertainment content. Guests are encouraged to post and interact with a touch-screen digital wall. W Goa has actively embraced this concept as well and Joulak declares it is all about sharing the exciting moments through posts or live stories. He says, “These channels are beneficial in keeping the existing guests informed about exclusive happenings at the property and enticing them to join in to create some memorable moments.”
Guests can avoid queues by checking in and out using the RED App on their smartphones
Brands like Aloft Hotels are looking to grab a piece of the pie by upping their technology game
Several properties are imbibing ways to make every experience at the hotel ‘Instagram-worthy’