Millennials and the Evolution of the Hospitality Industry

March 2, 2017

Millenials are the future of the hospitality industry. First, they were highly sought-after consumers, expected to make up more than 50% of travelers come 2020. But they also make up a large part of the industry's workforce. This staffing is allowing them to help shape the experiences digital-savvy travelers want and expect. From state-of-the-art mobile apps to customizable experiences to environmentally-friendly footprints, millennials' needs are quite different than previous generations.And that's a good thing.What some might call disruption, we call opportunity. The challenge of satisfying millennials in an organic fashion in the meeting, event and incentive space is exhilarating. There is no doubt that millennial workers, born between 1980 - 2000 are helping to shape the future of the hospitality space. And much of what they are craving are digital experiences. After all, they are a generation who do not know a world without digital connection.

Hotels Get With The (New) Program

Traditional travel brands quickly learned that the name brand equity they have built over decades of business holds very little cache with millennials. Hence, there has been a renaissance. Hotel chains have spun off sub-brands that specifically target a younger demographic.Canopy by Hilton serves up artisanal breakfasts and puts the consumer in control; Moxy by Marriott is a budget option with lively decor; Element by Westin targets eco-conscious consumers; Best Western's GLo looks to merge work and chill spaces into one. You get the gist; big money is being spent to attempt to attract big money in return.These affordable arms of each brand are becoming popular in the events and meeting space, and that's not only because of price point. Many of these hotels give conference organizers customization options that were previously unheard of. And you can thank millennial staffers and influencers for some of the upgrades.

Millennial's Hospitality Demands

Self-service options. A great option for the tech-savvy and slightly misanthropic planner, meeting spaces can be booked and prepped without ever having to speak with a human being. But should something go awry, a human is always available to assist.Planning through the chain's website. Attendee invites can be managed through many hotel websites. Or, the functionality can be embedded into your own digital property. Either way, there is no need to involve a separate RSVP platform.Mobile check-in. Whether it is via mobile app or mobile web, a majority of hotel chains allow guests to skip the front desk entirely. That's a time and stress saver for on-the-go travelers.Equipment. Another change we have seen is that the hospitality industry has upped its game as far as the quality of tech equipment they provide. From projectors to charging stations to Bluetooth speakers, many of these millennial-driven initiatives have upgraded everyone's meeting experience.Customized experiences. At the root of the millennial wishlist is often the ability to tailor their experience(s) to suit custom needs and wants. From building meal packages to structuring exercise programs to selecting toiletries, the hospitality industry is catering to consumers like never before.Planning meetings and industry events for millennials might appear more complicated than it once was, but in truth, the multitude of options provided and the avenues available to book them has made this task easier and more exciting. One of the great improvements is that as more millennials enter the hospitality workforce, they are the ones able to best cater to a millennial audience. That adds a level of authenticity to everyone's experience -- and that's a wonderful thing.

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