Bridging the Branding Gap: From Millennials to Boomers

By Yvonne Tocguigny Chief Creative and Strategy Officer, Archer Malmo | February 05, 2017

As a boomer, I'm in touch with what my generation looks for. My daughter, Laurel Pantin, a 29-year-old world traveler who has already ticked off twenty-one of the places on National Geographic's list of "50 Places of a Lifetime", probably travels more in one year than I have in my lifetime.

We compared notes on our top criteria when selecting hotels to see what attracts each of us. We agree that hotels building brands that aspire to appeal to both generations can and should walk the fine line between these five criteria.

Location

Laurel: "I want to stay somewhere convenient to the things I want to do, but not in a super crowded, touristy area. In New York, that means staying downtown vs. Times Square. In London, I'd stay in Marylebone over Piccadilly. I also don't want to stay in a super out of the way neighborhood because it's hipster and cool, I'd rather a fair balance of convenience and hip-ness. The Bowery Hotel in New York strikes a great balance. It's near major subway lines, shopping, and restaurants, but isn't completely in the thick of it all.

Yvonne: "I choose hotels that I can count on being located near nice restaurants and amenities. The Ritz Carlton in Boston is a great example of this. I can relax about planning a trip because I know I can count on the hotel to put me in the center of beautiful parks, shopping and dining options.

Overall branding takeaways on location: What promise, if any, does your brand make when it comes to location? An oasis in the desert? Or the center of the oasis? Clarity and consistency on this is important to all audiences. But different generations want access to different types of locations. So your hotel's positioning around locations will either serve your existing brand or drive it in a new direction.

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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.