The travelling youth: Why hoteliers need to think experience before rooms, adventure before luxury
By Marco Rosso, Country Manager - Spain, SiteMinder
Let's not kid ourselves. As consumers and travellers, we're all quite spoilt.
It's the reason that ads for some of the world's most incredible, all-inclusive destinations, where we don't have to worry about anything but our sunbed on the beach, don't always have us leaping out of our seats.
The truth is, we're living in a time of infinite options and digital technology that is opening the doors to places previously unimaginable. Young travellers - or 'millennials' - especially crave something that makes them feel alive and special, and it's fundamentally why they demand choice while also expecting personalisation.
For hoteliers, the paradox of choice and personalisation presents a tremendous challenge - and one that can only be won by providing an experience that's considered and memorable. It's an experience that renders the popularity, location and cost of the hotel irrelevant. It's an experience that provides value for the fact it acknowledges the guest as a unique individual, and today it's exactly this type of experience that's allowing smaller, boutique hotels to shine and leaving some of the biggest brands behind.
The competition is global
I can't quite recall the last time a twenty-year-old told me they were on their way to relax for two weeks in Varadero, Cuba. Yet, not too long ago, Varadero was the destination of choice for most Spanish students once they had finished their education.
Today, the preference is for something different - be that a jungle trek, an unknown lagoon in the middle of a desert landscape, or a hotel room completely wired with the Internet of Things.
Indeed, the classic 'popular' destinations are almost unpopular among young travellers today. Hoteliers are no longer competing with the hotel down the road, but with the unique destination a thousand kilometres away. As a hotel in Spain, for example, recognise that your competitor set no longer encompasses only the similar properties around you, but the entire beachside lodging sector in Tunisia, Turkey and Egypt.
Functionality can't be the standard
A lot is said about the rise of the independent boutique hotel, and for good reason. From leisure travellers to corporate travellers - who, on top of Wi-Fi, a desk and all the basic necessities to complete their work, increasingly yearn for a charm and comfort that makes them feel at home away from home - small boutiques have fast become the standard for delivering a great guest experience.
It's crucial for hoteliers to continue providing rooms that cater for all their target guest types, whether they are families or tour groups, solo travellers or anything in between. However, if small boutique hotels are showing us anything, it's that superior hospitality, at every stage of the guest journey, is more important now than ever - and will continue to be as the choice and demands among young travellers, and all travellers, grow.
This article was originally published as "Millennials: experiencias antes que habitaciones y aventura antes que lujo" in TecnoHotel.
Director of Brand Communications & PR
Phone: +61 410 233 735
In an age of rising choice and accessibility for curious travelers, SiteMinder is the name synonymous with the belief that technology can empower any hotel to win in a consumer-led world and unleash their potential. SiteMinder is the global hotel industry's leading guest acquisition platform, ranked among technology pioneers for its smart and simple solutions that put hotels everywhere their guests are, at every stage of their journey. It's this central role that has earned SiteMinder the trust of more than 30,000 hotels, across 160 countries, to generate in excess of 80 million reservations worth over US$26.5 billion in revenue for hotels each year. For more information, visit www.siteminder.com.