Catering for 'Generation Choice'Thursday 09 April 2015 by Maya Singer Hobbs “Millennials are notoriously spontaneous – the kings and queens of last minute bookings and changes of plan.”
Catering to Millennials will involve a radical shift in the hospitality industry, a change which is already being observed. Not only is the product we provide changing, the whole guest experience is being shaken up. From the booking process and checking in to collating reviews, every aspect of the industry is changing. This shift is necessary, Millennials have an appetite for their workplaces to provide opportunities for travel and according to our recent research, are 50% more likely to have travelled for work in the past two years than people over the age of 35.
The first step in a customer journey is engagement with the company. In times gone by, customers had strong brand loyalty, sticking with one provider through thick and thin, meaning that schemes like loyalty cards worked incredibly well. Our research has shown that this is no longer the case. Only 9% of Millennials who travelled in the past two years said that they were influenced by a loyalty program, compared with 16% of older business travellers. Millennials would rather shop around for a better deal than sticking with a product that they know in hope of a reward later on and choice, freedom and flexibility is the cornerstone of their travel experience.
Once the consumer is engaged with the brand, it is important that the product itself is enticing. Rather than focusing on price, focus on value; what the guest gets for their money, why it’s worth it. Millennials are more likely to part with extra budget if the benefits are clear. They’re less likely to consider whether the accommodation they book is within the company’s budget which is indicative of changing attitudes towards management, bookings and travel programs.
The review industry has ballooned in recent years; over half of all Millennials will read reviews and use them to help make a decision about where to stay or what to do. Not taking the power of a good (or bad!) review seriously is to do so at the peril of the provider although, having said that, reviews need to be kept in perspective. Business travellers are considerably less likely to use reviews before booking accommodation, but this could be for a number of reasons.
Comfort and Expectations
A comfortable bed is still of number one importance to guests when staying away from home. However, what we discovered was that while the older generations value tasty food, the younger generations are increasingly placing value on connectivity. Millennials have grown up with the internet being “normal” so it is unsurprising that they have differing expectations to their older counterparts. Rather than being a bonus, good quality WiFi should be standard, an integral part of the hospitality product, and is certainly expected by Millennials.
“SACO is undergoing a change. Our core values and mission remain the same, to make staying away from home great, but the ways in which we’re going about it are shifting. From our Digital Revolution, designed by our customers for our customers, to the SACO app and the launch of the Beyonder by SACO brand we are maintaining our position as pioneers within the serviced apartment industry.” Jo Redman, Director of Marketing