The Hottest Hotel Design Elements for Baby Boomers, Millennials and Gen Z

By David Ashen Principal and Founder, dash design | December 23, 2018

As a hotelier, which generation do you cater to? Boomers, who favor luxurious rooms, along with prime amenities and service? Millennials, who live through mobile technology and ultra-connectivity? Or Gen Z, the high-tech group concerned with global diversity and social justice?

Or maybe you've managed to meet the needs and preferences of all three generations?

Keeping Current with Millennials and Gen Z

Most of the attention by today's hoteliers has been on making the millennial and younger generations comfortable, including a heightened emphasis on spaces with digital connectivity and opportunities for social interaction, like bar areas that do double-duty at check-in points. Also popular are gathering areas located at high altitudes, like rooftop bars and exclusive penthouse lounges, with some seeing lines forming at their entries at 5 p.m. Adding to the scenes are rock-star-status mixologists and cocktail menus.

By creating spaces that make it easy for the younger guest to stay connected through digital and personal interactions-absolutes craved by millennials and the up-and-coming generation, Gen Z-hoteliers are satisfying the groups' lifestyle preferences, giving them good reason to book a room or two at their properties during the travelers' business and pleasure trips.

Many hotel brands are paying attention to the younger set's vibe, giving patrons plenty of option for gathering and socializing, like the Freehand New York that features a cool retro 80's era game room, and five food and beverage outlets-yes, there are five. When most hoteliers cringe at operating one full-service restaurant, the Freehand has taken on multiple outlets to make this a multi-level bar and restaurant destination that happens to have hotel rooms. From the ground floor to the roof, there are quiet getaways, like the George Washington Bar on the second floor, where the guest can cozy up with friends in an intimate atmosphere infused with history, to the boisterous rooftop Broken Shaker which mixes a tropical tiki bar with the New York City skyline. There is nothing but choice in this hotel, which, while aimed at younger generations, also-surprisingly-attracts GenXers and Boomers.

The Secret Garden - tucked into the lounge space, an reclusive outdoor space where one can enjoy a cocktail and small bite.
Bar Lounge - An accommodating space for work or play
Lobby Lounge - Welcoming arrival that is cheerful, bright, & airy
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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.