Engaging Millennials with Accessibility and Consistency

By Mark Heymann Chairman & CEO, Unifocus | June 26, 2016

With the millennial generation now representing the majority in the workforce and a third of all travelers – percentages that are only going to rise, it's crucial that hoteliers understand how to engage and earn the trust of this all-important segment on both fronts.

For a generation that's more socially conscious than any before it, and hungrier for feedback, essential strategies include communicating often, checking in with consistent two-way feedback, and engaging with the community beyond the hotel. Mobile technology makes this easier, but only when an organization truly commits to changing the method and frequency of its communications will it fully gain millennial loyalty.

More Communication, More Often

Traditionally, new hotel hires are reviewed first at 30, then 60 and 90 days, at which point management has had the option to retain them or let them go without incurring additional costs, like unemployment benefits. Between the interviewing process, departmental training and reviews, those early weeks are perhaps the most communication-filled of a hotel or any service worker's employment. But once employees have earned their "rubber stamp" of approval at 90 days, it is typically another eight months to a year before they have another opportunity for feedback unless a problem arises.

If hotels want to attract and engage millennial employees, that process is no longer good enough. Millennials have a real need to feel connected with their place of employment, and hoteliers must respond by communicating more often and in more meaningful ways with their workers. The reality is that as an industry, hotels have been slow to catch on. For managers accustomed to keeping information close to the vest, it will require nothing less than a mindset change.

Social Responsibility

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Eco-Friendly Practices: Corporate Social Responsibility

The hotel industry has undertaken a long-term effort to build more responsible and socially conscious businesses. What began with small efforts to reduce waste - such as paperless checkouts and refillable soap dispensers - has evolved into an international movement toward implementing sustainable development practices. In addition to establishing themselves as good corporate citizens, adopting eco-friendly practices is sound business for hotels. According to a recent report from Deloitte, 95% of business travelers believe the hotel industry should be undertaking “green” initiatives, and Millennials are twice as likely to support brands with strong management of environmental and social issues. Given these conclusions, hotels are continuing to innovate in the areas of environmental sustainability. For example, one leading hotel chain has designed special elevators that collect kinetic energy from the moving lift and in the process, they have reduced their energy consumption by 50%  over conventional elevators. Also, they installed an advanced air conditioning system which employs a magnetic mechanical system that makes them more energy efficient. Other hotels are installing Intelligent Building Systems which monitor and control temperatures in rooms, common areas and swimming pools, as well as ventilation and cold water systems. Some hotels are installing Electric Vehicle charging stations, planting rooftop gardens, implementing stringent recycling programs, and insisting on the use of biodegradable materials. Another trend is the creation of Green Teams within a hotel's operation that are tasked to implement earth-friendly practices and manage budgets for green projects. Some hotels have even gone so far as to curtail or eliminate room service, believing that keeping the kitchen open 24/7 isn't terribly sustainable. The May issue of the Hotel Business Review will document what some hotels are doing to integrate sustainable practices into their operations and how they are benefiting from them.