Hotels must adapt to the next generation of guests
For years, the baby boom generation has dominated and dictated how hotels are behaved and marketed. But now, as more and more Generation Y and Generation X travel, hotels will need to become more responsive to their travel needs and habits. And with the emergence of social media as a major marketing platform, hotels will need to refocus their energies on this exciting new medium, a medium dictated by “young and advanced” thinking.
Addressing this change in perspective will not be easy for hoteliers. Represents radical ideas and requests, even somewhat quirky. For example, in the past, hotels always left the lights on for their guests at all times. There is even a major hotel chain that uses that concept as its motto. But this isn’t always what this younger generation wants – in a greener, more environmentally conscious atmosphere, these younger travelers would actually rather you left it in the dark. These youngsters would rather savor the darkness, save the Earth, and turn the light on themselves than have you waste all those kilowatts each and every night. This fact is a small sample of the biggest shift change faced by hoteliers around the world. Changing not only the way they market their business, but also their own business model.
There are a number of other issues and changes that the younger traveler brings to redefine the luxury hotel experience. Technology is obviously at the forefront. And not just cutting edge technology, but cutting edge mobile technology. Book, view virtual tours, find rates (and discounts) not only from the host hotel but from the competition, view room layouts, register and verify everything from your handheld electronic device.
If that weren’t enough, all that technology needs to happen before the guest even sets foot in your hotel. Once the boot is on the carpet you better greet them with wireless internet (free and high speed), full service business / fax center, electronic keys (self-erasing), flat screen TVs , Satellite TV, Tivo, mobile DVD players, iPads, iPod music centers and electronic curtains with automatic closing. Of course, make sure all this technology is always turned off when not in use. Continuing on the green theme, make sure beds, towels and sheets are not changed for free and that any laundry or dry cleaning service is as green as possible.
From a design standpoint, hotels are getting more elegant with furniture to boot. Dominate the taste for modern design of the next century. If your hotel doesn’t look like it belongs in the 21st century, you won’t get 21st century bookings. More and more young travelers and travelers with younger tastes dictated by social media dominance will create a turnaround for your hotel. From design to technology, booking methods and marketing, the future of the hotel will be in the eyes of the next generation.