How hotels are getting you to spend more
Source: CNBC / Kelli B Grant / 25 May 2014

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-Opinion-

How millennials’ spending habits are reshaping the global hospitality industry

They grew up in the Internet age. They love to socialize. And they put much faith and stock into cultivating serious amounts of ‘Me-time’. I’m talking about millennials. More specifically, I’m talking about millennials’ habits while on holiday. And the research proves that the global hospitality industry needs to transform to accommodate the interests and desires of this younger generation of travellers.

A millennial mindset

The Millennial Mindset is something hoteliers first need to understand in order to properly cater for. This mental model of the world sees the work/life dichotomy in a way that is completely different from previous generations. No longer do young people expect to only work for a small number of employers their entire lives. No longer are they interested in racking up years of loyal service for a handsome retirement package either. They want to have their cake and eat it too. And it makes sense to enjoy the fruits of your labour whilst you’re still young, doesn’t it?

And, rather than splitting work time and leisure time into two separate categories, millennials have mastered the art of work/life integration. This means they demand flexibility to work wherever and whenever they want.

And this type of thinking extends to how millennials spend their time when travelling for business.

How the millennial mindset is forcing the global hospitality industry to renew itself

Powerful and free hotel Wi-Fi? Check. Training in an on-site gym equipped with all the latest exercise equipment, followed by a massage at the hotel’s day spa? Check, check.

The needs and wants of millennial travellers are not only reshaping the services and facilities more commonly on offer within the global hotel industry, but they are also having an impact on the physical architecture of hotels. The design of many new hotels getting built is taking into consideration the fact that millennial travellers love to socialize with other guests. This means they would prefer to hang out in lobbies, bars, or common lounging areas rather than be sequestered away in their individual rooms.

It’s a truism in the global hotel industry right now that establishments which offer unique bars, seasonal restaurants, and more common areas for lounging and socializing are going to do better than those who are sticking to the traditional model of hotel design.

 

A quick look at the numbers from PKF, a global leader in hospitality consultancy, more than backs up this assertion:

  • in 2013, revenue from food and beverage rose more than 4% alone (more than double the rate from the previous year)
     

  • guest spending at bars and lounges increased by over 15%
     

  • spending on spa treatments went up by nearly 5%
     

What these numbers prove is that the millennial mindset is reshaping the way hotels collect revenue. The global hospitality industry would do well to first understand how the younger business crowd thinks about work and about travel. Certainly, they don’t want to be cooped up in their rooms. Yet, at the same time they need on-site facilities and services, like fast Wi-Fi and dedicated workspaces, to allow them to be productive while they’re away from the office.

 

Millennial business travellers then require different facilities and services again to help them relax and catch up with others when their work hours are done. With the younger jetset business crowd spending more time than ever checking out their hotels, there has never been a better opportunity for the global hotel industry to begin capitalising on this fact with some clever design and curated guest experiences.