How Hospitality Brands Can Successfully Market to Millennials

By Brett Tabano Senior Vice President of Marketing, MediaAlpha | August 12, 2018

Today, millennials are on the verge of surpassing Baby Boomers as the largest living adult generation in the United States, making them prime targets for marketing campaigns within every industry, including the hospitality space. But, many of these brands are starting to realize that their traditional marketing strategies aren't resonating as well with this generation like the ones before it, as millennials have altered what has been considered the norm. Through their new purchasing patterns, social behaviors and influences, millennials have forced brands to entirely rethink their marketing strategies.

One of millennials' defining traits is that they place a higher value on experiences like traveling, dining and enjoying live music, over tangible items. In fact, research shows that millennials already comprise over one-third of the world's hotel guests, and are anticipated to account for over 50 percent within the next two years. Therefore, hotels and hospitality brands must ensure their marketing campaigns are creating a sense of experience for millennials in order to engage them, as traditional marketing is not as enticing to this group.

While millennials are tricky to market to, that does not mean it's impossible. Brands just need to understand them, not get frustrated and forget about them.

The best way for marketers to generate the greatest number of sales this year is by developing and executing a comprehensive strategy designed to reach and engage millennial customers at multiple touchpoints. It won't be a "one and done" campaign, but the more brands are able to test the waters with this audience and see how they respond to different marketing tactics, the better off they will be at crafting a brand image that aligns with millennials.

This article will explore three ways hotel brands can begin to jumpstart their millennial marketing today.

1. Focus on Appealing and Engaging Content Marketing

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Coming up in June 2019...

Sales & Marketing: Selling Experiences

There are innumerable strategies that Hotel Sales and Marketing Directors employ to find, engage and entice guests to their property, and those strategies are constantly evolving. A breakthrough technology, pioneering platform, or even a simple algorithm update can cause new trends to emerge and upend the best laid plans. Sales and marketing departments must remain agile so they can adapt to the ever changing digital landscape. As an example, the popularity of virtual reality is on the rise, as 360 interactive technologies become more mainstream. Chatbots and artificial intelligence are also poised to become the next big things, as they take guest personalization to a whole new level. But one sales and marketing trend that is currently resulting in major benefits for hotels is experiential marketing - the effort to deliver an experience to potential guests. Mainly this is accomplished through the creative use of video and images, and by utilizing what has become known as User Generated Content. By sharing actual personal content (videos and pictures) from satisfied guests who have experienced the delights of a property, prospective guests can more easily imagine themselves having the same experience. Similarly, Hotel Generated Content is equally important. Hotels are more than beds and effective video presentations can tell a compelling story - a story about what makes the hotel appealing and unique. A video walk-through of rooms is essential, as are video tours in different areas of a hotel. The goal is to highlight what makes the property exceptional, but also to show real people having real fun - an experience that prospective guests can have too. The June Hotel Business Review will report on some of these issues and strategies, and examine how some sales and marketing professionals are integrating them into their operations.