With $2.5 trillion in spending power, millennials comprise 23% of the world’s population. While those statistics alone are enough to interest marketers, the fact that millennials are upending traditional consumer behavior  is equally intriguing. Millennials, born between 1981 and 1996, differ from the earlier Boomer and Gen X consumers in significant ways. For one, economic recessions and increasing cost-of-living expenses have shifted their focus from owning houses and cars to notching up experiences. In fact, 78% of American millennials would rather spend their money on experiences than ‘things’.  

That’s good news for the hospitality industry. The larger question, though, is how can hotels generate interest in their property specifically? Even in the realm of hospitality, millennials differ from older travelers. For example, a PwC study found that millennials prefer to redeem loyalty points for upgrades, whereas older guests use the points for free nights. Hotel apps like Hudini can provide hotels with the business intelligence they need in order to cater to different guest segments. Additionally, hotels can adopt these strategies to appeal to the industry’s most influential cohort.  

1. Create unique stays: 

The experience economy is largely fueled by the millennial segment, and hotels are turning stays into Instagram-worthy events. Tap into the rare yet authentic experiences your hotel has to offer; if the hotel is located in a heritage zone, a weekend walking tour organized in collaboration with a museum is a great add-on. If your hotel is known for its F&B offerings, consider pop-ups that feature celebrity chefs and trending cuisines.   

2. Be tech-savvy: 

Millennials aren’t just at ease with technology, they see their mobile devices as extensions of themselves. As digital natives, their first point of contact with your hotel would be your website or social media profiles. Websites that are mobile-optimized and user-friendly will encourage more direct bookings. Social media content that’s unique, consistent and promoted by influencers will get noticed, and hotels should consider promoting their own branded hashtag. Online reviews are the new word of mouth, so ensure that your team regularly monitors and responds to them.  

3. Personalize, personalize, personalize:  

Millennials are generally averse to one-size-fits-all services, so hotels are now customizing them to each guest’s liking. Think alarm clocks synced to personal sleep trackers, menus tailored to individual dietary preferences, and 24×7 digital concierges. This transformation has been enabled by digitalization, which uses data and AI to understand and anticipate each customer’s needs and preferences. There are a multitude of personalization options available to hotels, and we’ve listed 12 of them in this blog 

4. Invest in sustainability:  

Millennials are more engaged with social issues and the environment ranks among their top concerns. Guests in this age group are factoring in a hotel’s eco-friendliness when making their bookings, which is why Booking.com introduced Sustainability Badges to aid them. Going digital can help hotels reduce the use of paper and plastic, minimize food wastage by analyzing data and cut electricity consumption by using motion sensors. There are various ways in which hotels are going green, and millennials are often the first to notice these efforts.  

5. Offer value: 

Financial anxiety is an issue for millennials, given the fluctuating economy, the fallout of the pandemic and uncontrolled inflation. While they value experiences, millennials are careful with their money, choosing to spend only on meaningful moments. Hotels that find the sweet spot in pricing, have something special to offer and deliver excellent guest experience will stand out from competitors.  

 6. Support flexibility: 

Being budget-conscious yet eager for new experiences leads millennials to seize every opportunity to travel. That’s why we’re seeing a rise in bleisure (where business trips are extended into leisure travel), staycations (in which local guests holiday at hotels and explore the neighborhood) and digital nomads (where people travel while working remotely). Hotels can support this by offering excellent WiFi and business facilities, creating tailored packages that encourage business travelers to extend weekday bookings into the weekend, and hosting events that even local guests will enjoy. 

Millennials are discerning consumers and hotels are perfectly placed to offer them experiences they’ll always treasure. It’s a connection that’s just waiting to happen, and technology won’t just enable it, but will also enrich it.