If you’ve been following our blog posts (hopefully you have been or I may be out of the job soon!), you may remember me talking about those pesky trouble makers we all call Millennials when discussing how gamification can engage staff. Truth be told (and just between you and me), I actually like millennials. They are creative beings and seem to have this overwhelming urge to make the world a better place. Sure, they have a few pitfalls, but who doesn’t right? Anyway, if you’re a hotel operator and are not too fond of this so-called entitled generation, you had better learn to like them, and quick! You see, The United Nations estimates that millennials currently spend an estimated 180 billion annually on tourism. In fact, a report by the World Youth Student and Educational Travel Confederation (WYSETC) estimates by 2020, more than 320 million international trips will be taken by youth travellers each year, that’s a massive 47% increase from 2013. It’s a big number and one that should prick the ears of any discerning hotel operator given the increasing influence and value of this market segment. But when we look closer (66% of millennials consider travelling an important part of their lives) it should not be entirely surprising!
To fully capitalize on this growth, it’s essential that you truly understand this generation of traveller and position your property to take advantage of their wants, needs and desires. You see, more than ever, this generation values experiences over things. They would sooner seek out different and interesting cultural immersions than make expensive purchases. So out with the Rolex, and in with the local cuisine. They are adventurous these travellers.
But these millennials are also tech savvy. And as a result, they expect everything to be at their fingertips, anywhere and at any time. They demand personalization and convenience. They don’t want to wait for simple answers to simple questions. They want the information, and they want it yesterday. According to the WYSETC study, 43% of millennials use their mobile phones every 5 minutes! As staggering as that sounds, its vitally important, as it represents an opportunity for hotels to interact with the millennial traveller on their preferred communication platform and in a manner, which fulfils their needs. It provides a mechanism to reach out to your guests knowing that they are likely to receive the message (email was so yesterday!).
Of further interest is that 80% of millennials surveyed in the WYSETC study responded that reviews influenced their decisions. So not only should you be looking to get as many positive reviews as possible, but you should be looking to eliminate any negative reviews. Not having a strategy to manage your online profile will be costing you the opportunity to take advantage of this ever growing and influential market.
So, close your eyes and imagine this (although given you need to read this, closing your eyes may not be the best advice). Your millennial traveller takes the plunge and books your property. Before they arrive, a virtual guest assistant reaches out via mobile phone and asks if there is anything they would like to be arranged (the experience of personalization and convenience has already begun). During their stay, the guest can ask this virtual assistant pretty much any question they like and get an immediate response. They can order meals from anywhere at any time. This virtual guest assistant will automatically reach out to see how a guest is enjoying their experience (this is still all automated and requires almost no man hours). Any negative responses can be immediately rectified to prevent negative online reviews. And those having a great experience can be prompted to leave a great review (how would that boost your online profile?). The property can market services or provide information on upcoming events in the area (remember the importance of those cultural experiences we were discussing). The point is, you are continually building a relationship with your guests on their preferred communication medium. You are giving them what they want, the way they want it. All while reducing costs and increasing operational efficiency. That’s got to be good for business right?
If this sounds like a scenario that may benefit your property, drop us an email at email@example.com, or visit www.sabahospitality.com and find out how our products could help your property position itself to take advantage of this ever growing and influential demographic of travellers.