The Millennial traveller already accounts for more than one third of the world’s hotel guests, with predictions that this will reach more than 50 percent by 2020. With up-and-coming brands like airbnb changing the travel demand curve, traditional brands must gear up for the biggest disruption in decades. Key attributes like design, authenticity, experience, technology and perceived value are imperative for attracting the digitally savvy and demanding Millennial traveller.
Personalized and Unconventional Experiences have never been more important.
This presents a huge opportunity for boutique hotels that have the ability to deliver a more unique experience, as they are seen as more exclusive than larger hotel chains.
“Millennials want to connect with their favorite brands on an emotional level, be part of the action and share their experience with their network,” says Sabine Kern, Director of Sales & Marketing at London Edition Hotel.
Whether they are posting pictures, sharing reviews, checking in via Facebook or sharing status updates, the Millennial generation is a marketing powerhouse for boutique hotels. If the experience is worth sharing, Millennials will do so.
“In order to successfully market to Millennial consumers, they need to be invited to co-create your brand story,” says Hannah Ward, Marketing Manager at Story Stream.
In addition to experience, design and technology are huge drivers of Milllennial brand love in this space.
Hotel design is being transformed to cater to the Millennial traveller through the evolution of lobby design, common social spaces and more efficient use of space in hotel rooms. London’s newest boutique hotel, Laslett, looks to capture the rich cultural heritage and local contemporary scene of Notting Hill within the aesthetic of the hotel. It incorporates a curated British library, serves dishes supplied by a celebrated local chef and has a shop showcasing collaborations with local designers and artists. This appeal to local design resonates with Millennial travelers who aim to remove themselves from the “tourist” stereotype.
Room Design is another focus for many boutique hotels. Hotel Naumi, in Signapor, prides itself on room design that is intended to feel like a personal home. Artists, ranging from Coco Channel to Andy Warhol inspired the design of each room. Rooms also include Apple TV and AirPlay Mirroring to cater to technology needs of Millennial travelers.
Smart technology is important for the Millennial traveller, making their stay more efficient and easier to manage than ever before. Technology start-ups like Room Key are enabling boutique hotels the ability to offer check in and check out services via mobile in addition to a mobile room key and, real-time billing and concierge messaging.
Hotels are increasingly moving from a traditional service offering approach to a more innovative and personalized boutique approach in an effort to harness a powerful generation of consumers with unique needs.
If the boutique hotel industry plays it’s cards right, it will continue to go from strength to strength.
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