Building Loyalty with Intergenerational Spa and Wellness Programs

By Mia A. Mackman President & Owner, Mackman ES | August 27, 2017

Growth in travel and tourism continues to rise in conjunction with intergenerational lifestyles, shifting values and increasing wellness keynotes. Every generation has unique preferences and imperatives that set them apart and stick. Accounting for nearly half of the population, Millennials and Generation Z have considerable weight in the market share. This article examines perceived values vs. core values and the benefits of incorporating a multi-generational, multi-faceted approach to spa and wellness programming to enhance customer spend and loyalty.

Generational Overlay

The structure of the family unit has dramatically changed over the years. This has inevitably impacted families, day-to-day living, tourism and travel. The Pew Research Center reported "a record 60.6 million Americans live in multigenerational households." (Figure 1) This averages to "nearly one-in-five Americans" that are living in a diverse family environment with a multigenerational overlay.

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Generation X and Millennials are the "bridge markets" between the aging Baby Boomer population and the radically different mindset of Generation Z. The Millennial market has been the most studied, documented and #selfie-chronicled generation of all time. Whereas many seek to understand the mentality and profile the millennials up close, most forget they are yet, a part of the bridge connecting the choices made today to the behaviors and preferences of the future.

Unlike the generations before them, Millennials and Gen X are immersed in modern-day parenting. They face higher demands on time, financial uncertainty and chronic social, political and lifestyle changes. They are also the first generations to raise children in a highly digital age alongside a constant interface with the internet. Despite the challenges of parenting and striving towards well-being and work-life balance, their dedication to multi-task, care-take and provide for their aging parents is stronger than ever.

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Social Media: Getting Personal

There Social media platforms have revolutionized the hotel industry. Popular sites such as Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, Snapchat, YouTube and Tumblr now account for 2.3 billion active users, and this phenomenon has forever transformed how businesses interact with consumers. Given that social media allows for two-way communication between businesses and consumers, the emphasis of any marketing strategy must be to positively and personally engage the customer, and there are innumerable ways to accomplish that goal. One popular strategy is to encourage hotel guests to create their own personal content - typically videos and photos -which can be shared via their personal social media networks, reaching a sizeable audience. In addition, geo-locational tags and brand hashtags can be embedded in such posts which allow them to be found via metadata searches, substantially enlarging their scope. Influencer marketing is another prevalent social media strategy. Some hotels are paying popular social media stars and bloggers to endorse their brand on social media platforms. These kinds of endorsements generally elicit a strong response because the influencers are perceived as being trustworthy by their followers, and because an influencer's followers are likely to share similar psychographic and demographic traits. Travel review sites have also become vitally important in reputation management. Travelers consistently use social media to express pleasure or frustration about their guest experiences, so it is essential that every review be attended to personally. Assuming the responsibility to address and correct customer service concerns quickly is a way to mitigate complaints and to build brand loyalty. Plus, whether reviews are favorable or unfavorable, they are a vital source of information to managers about a hotel's operational performance.  The February Hotel Business Review will document what some hotels are doing to effectively incorporate social media strategies into their businesses.