Eat on A Tweet: Designing F&B for the New Generation

By Scott Acton CEO & Founder, Forte Specialty Contractors | August 26, 2018

Millennials have become the fastest growing consumer segment in the hospitality industry.

According to and a survey by Oracle, millennials' use of mobile devices in hotels and restaurants is massive; more than 39 percent of millennials order F&B services through their mobile devices, one-fifth have used their smartphones to check into a hotel and 52 percent of millennials want to use their mobile devices to capitalize on loyalty programs. Now, with more hoteliers catering to this growing and influential demographic, hospitality brands big and small are catering to this demanding group by putting a greater emphasis on technology and creating more immersive-oriented experiences.

Interestingly enough, however, despite millennials' connection to technology, they haven't lost the need for the human touch. Hospitality brands can't expect to flourish only with technology and without superb customer service. Millennials very much desire the experience they are paying for coupled with the convenience of technology. According to a J. Walter Thompson Intelligence Study, 56 percent of millennials define themselves by their experiences more than other qualities, and 78 percent of them choose to spend money on a desirable experience over buying something tangible. Another 72 percent desire experiences that stimulate their senses as emotional memories are triggered by their senses. Despite what seems to be a dysconnectivity from the physical world while scrolling through their social media feeds, millennials' desire for engaging in meaningful experiences off their phones and connected with their friends is their end game.

So, what does all this mean to those in the hospitality industry who are trying to serve the needs of this demographic, and how will it change the industry moving forward?

At Forte Specialty Contractors, along with our partners who represent some of the largest brands in hospitality, restaurant, retail and nightlife, we are at the forefront of creating immersive, authentic experiences that engage guests in every part of their journey. These world-class brands have engaged us to help them create that "wow factor" by helping them design best-in-class experiential-oriented venues that appeal to discriminating millennials. One clear takeaway we have learned? A one-size-fits all approach definitely doesn't work and millennials will sniff out a brand's inauthenticity in a second – including making that brand culpable on social media. Brands simply don't have the time or money to get it wrong with this generation. 

What are millennials seeking in their hospitality experience and what is the best way for hospitality brands to wine and dine the millennial demographic? 

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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.