Meeting the Needs of Multigenerational Travelers

By Clara Rose President & Creative Director, Creative Alliance | January 06, 2013

According to a recent U.S. Census, one in five Americans has a disability and half of them are considered to be severely disabled. Currently there are more than 54 million Americans with disabilities. This number includes a wide variety of persons from all walks of life, some you may not have considered.

Who are they?

While the younger end of the age spectrum is not generally considered a rapidly growing part of the ADA population, an estimated 3 million children between the ages of 5 and 15 - have a disability. This group travels with parents or extended families and are very likely to be a part of an educational or support group, making them a valuable referral source for any hospitality business.

One in every four veterans returning from service in Iraq and Afghanistan are now a part of the ADA community. While the exact rate of increase and numbers are not readily available, it represents a significant growth in the number of disabled veterans that are Generation Y or Millenniums (born between 1977 and 1994 and representing the largest population group since the baby boomers).

Consumers over the age of 50 (well before the age of retirement) often experience changes in vision, hearing and mobility that affect how they interact with businesses and their products. This segment of the population is not traditionally included in the ADA statistics. A noteworthy statistic - according to the Census Bureau more than 50% of the U.S. discretionary income is controlled by those that are 50 years old and older. This group definitely has the power to impact revenues and the bottom line for the hospitality industry.

The “Boomers”, the generation born between 1946 and 1964, gave life to the single largest generation of Americans. That demographic (over 75,000,000 strong) continues to shape our society today and will do so long into the future. Somewhere between 7,000 and 10,000 baby boomers turn 65 everyday of the year for the next 19 years! How many of these baby boomers have – or will have in the future – different abilities that require special accommodations?

Coming up in February 2018...

Social Media: Engagement is Key

There are currently 2.3 billion active users of social media networks and savvy hotel operators have incorporated social media into their marketing mix. There are a few Goliath channels on which one must have a presence (Facebook & Twitter) but there are also several newer upstart channels (Instagram, Snapchat &WeChat, for example) that merit consideration. With its 1.86 billion users, Facebook is a dominant platform where operators can drive brand awareness, facilitate bookings, offer incentives and collect sought-after reviews. Twitter's 284 million users generate 500 million tweets per day, and operators can use its platform for lead generation, building loyalty, and guest interaction. Instagram was originally a small photo-sharing site but it has blown up into a massive photo and video channel. The site can be used to post photos of the hotel property, as well as creating Instagram Stories - personal videos that disappear from the channel after 24 hours. In this regard, Instagram and Snapchat are now in direct competition. WeChat is a Chinese company whose aim is to be the App for Everything - instant messaging, social media, shopping and payment services - all in a single platform. In addition to these channels, blogging continues to be a popular method to establish leadership, enhance reputations, and engage with customers in a direct and personal way. The key to effective use of all social media is to find out where your customers are and then, to the fullest extent possible, engage with them on a personal level. This engagement is what creates a personal connection and sustains brand loyalty. The February Hotel Business Review will explore these issues and examine how some hotels are successfully integrating social media into their operations.