Millennials, defined as people born between 1982 and 2000, now make up the largest living generation.
And they are spending more than ever on travel, with 26 percent saying they spent more on vacations than in the previous year.
What’s more, they are also taking charge in helping plan vacations with their parents, with multi-generation travel making up 32 percent of anticipated domestic trips, higher than for any previous generation.
They are obviously ready to travel and willing to spend on what matters to them, offering tremendous marketing opportunities.
However, they are not often swayed by traditional marketing methods.
To effectively target millennials, hotels need to embrace their needs and celebrate their passions.
Millennials at a glance
- Born between 1982 and 2000
- Make up the largest living generation
- 70 percent follow travel brands on social media
- 97 percent post on social media while traveling
- Spend higher on experiences vs. purchasing items
- Crave personalised engagement with brands
- Adventure-seeking with heart for authenticity
What makes millennials different?
Born and raised in the midst of the Internet revolution, millennials are tech-savvy digital natives who crave experiences over things.
While they may not be as willing to splurge on a designer bag or luxury car, they are more likely to indulge in a lavish vacation.
More than 70 percent of millennials would rather spend money on amazing experiences than on purchasing items, and 86 percent say they don’t want to miss out on life experiences.
That’s the key to reaching them. You can’t just market to millennials – you must speak to their love of adventure and showcase your accommodation as the hub of their travel experience.
Authenticity is a priority
Study after study has shown that millennials, in general, gravitate in higher numbers toward travel than previous generations, which is great news for the accomodation industry.
They consider travel a priority and want to feel like they’re collaborating with their favorite brands and that companies are speaking to them directly. Authenticity is key.
For millennials, personalisation is a basic demand, so accommodation providers must ensure their marketing conveys a relevant, personalised and curated message that conveys how your accommodation is a match to their personality, lifestyle and interests.
Transparent & vocal
Millennials are primed and willing to engage with companies they appreciate, and 70 percent of them already follow travel brands on social media.
Just as important, they are happy to share their amazing travel stories with friends and family.
A whopping 97 percent post on social media while traveling, with 75 percent of them posting once a day or more.
They are ready to shout from the mountain tops about their positive experiences in their favorite hotels and resorts.
The flip side of that is they demand prompt responses when they reach out to companies on social media about any problems, and can quickly sour on a brand if they feel their needs are being ignored.
It’s wise to invest the resources in making sure social media platforms are being frequently monitored.
Millennials at work
Millennials are more than merely consumers. They are professionals rising quickly through the ranks as they advance their careers, which means accommodation providers are increasingly working with them in a B2B capacity, especially when it comes to event planning.
Millennial event planners often have different priorities and career goals, with a focus on increasing efficiency, making work fun, and environmental responsibility.
They seek out advice on social media, not just from hotel sales managers.
And much like in their personal life, they are incredibly tech savvy and demand a seamless user experience that is mobile-friendly, includes real time information access and integrates easily with the apps they are already using.
Creating dynamic experiences
To attract and retain millennials, accommodation brands need to embrace data analytics, targeted messaging and programmatic advertising.
Sending mass emails that aren’t hyper-targeted to their individual interests will do nothing to attract millennials as customers, and may, in fact, drive them away.
And mobile is a must, since two-thirds of millennial travels are willing to book their entire trip from their cell phone.
That’s why innovative mobile integrations like allowing customers to check-in from their phones or open their doors from their smart watch are very attractive to millennials.
They don’t just appreciate personalised experiences – they refuse to be satisfied with anything else.
Casey Munck is senior marketing & communications manager for