Guest behavior and spending patterns are constantly fluctuating, but the past decade has witnessed a different scenario. There’s no doubt that the growth of technology within hospitality has played a huge role in the industry’s evolution, but there’s another significant factor at play, which is the rise of the millennial traveler. Millennials are rapidly overtaking Gen Xers and Baby Boomers as the spending majority, and their needs and expectations are quite different from their peers.
When it comes to a hotel stay, millennials expect more. They expect maximum convenience and are big fans of personalization. They also have different reasons to travel. Airbnb stumbled upon this when they created a portal that could cater effectively to people looking for a more intimate experience, a segment of the audience that hotels knew little about.
Hotels have long taken advantage of the market segregation to cater to a specific set of audience like corporate clients, tourists, last-minute travelers, and so on. But when it comes to millennial travelers, it’s not enough to simply follow a segment-wide approach – bookings have to be enhanced individually with an additional layer of personalization.
While such a strategy may sound intimidating, in today’s digital environment we already have the tools required to store, organize and leverage guest data in an effective manner.
Millennials aren’t averse to providing their information if it’s used to improve the quality of their stay. In fact, many of them actually prefer to stay at independent properties instead of international chains for the same reason. While millennials are prepared to accept certain shortcomings in terms of amenities for a lower price –they still expect good service. Let’s stop for a minute and understand the primary characteristics of millennial travelers, which are as follows:
Impulsive – Millennials prefer to spend money on experiencing new things rather than tangible commodities
Demanding – They expect a high level of convenience and want instant gratification. Millennials love recognition too, in the form of personalization
Tech-savvy – Up-to-date with digital technology; millennials are heavy smartphone users and expect optimization
Outspoken – Millennials are not averse to sharing their detailed thoughts and opinions on social media, both positive and negative
The silver lining for hotels is the adoption of cloud technology that has enhanced accessibility to powerful management tools which can enable hotels to address the demands of a modern traveler. These tools not only increase the efficiency of a property, but also enhance the guest experience and help a property stand out from its competitors.
Addressing the needs of a millennial traveler
There seems to be a wide-spread misconception that personalization is a difficult process. When hoteliers turn to industry experts to seek answers on the matter, the strategies proposed are usually complex and more suitable for larger chains that have bigger budgets. While this may have been challenging at one point in time, today we have powerful tools that are capable of simplifying the process and making it more accessible for smaller players.
Another focal point that the Cloud enables is mobile technology. With the vast influx of apps and mobile services that are available, millennials have become more demanding & expect a similar level of convenience when it comes to planning travel and hotels are striving to meet the growing needs of this category of travelers. Smartphones and tablets are facilitating greater control and flexibility for performing operations on the go. Mobile friendly websites are the norm that add to the guest experience, and management tools on mobile devices extend the ‘business on-the-go’ benefit for direct consumption stakeholders, giving hotels the power to react and personalize their response to the increasing demands of their discerning guests.
When implemented effectively, personalization doesn’t just build loyalty but also enables the hotel to penetrate deeper into the guest’s circle of friends and family, paving the way for deep-rooted loyalties. Cloud technology is arming hoteliers around the world with the digital technology they need to compete in today’s evolved market. It is fueling real time reservation, booking and transaction information. Coupled with big data technology, it has the power to collate and source additional information on the guest, their preferences, likes and dislikes and views on a particular property, thus providing a hotel with adequate information to serve and retain a customer. This combination can provide a lot of value for hoteliers. Affordable, flexible and secure, it’s only a matter of time before switching to the platform becomes an integral part of modern hotel management.
(This article was also published at http://www.thehoteltimes.in/index.php/contact/extras/jstuff/content-views/category-list-view/4027-one-cloud-fits-all-personalizing-the-guest-experience-for-the-millennial-travelers-prabhash-bhatnagar-founder-hotelogix)