How to Create Experience-Driven Hotel Properties for Different Age Groups

By Felicia Hyde Design Director, Lifestyle Studio, H. Hendy Associates | January 20, 2019

From Baby Boomers to Gen Xers to millennials, to the ever-growing Gen Z cohort, businesses today are all working toward a similar goal: designing properties and marketing their brands to attract different age groups. While each generation has specific needs and expectations, one commonality remains – the desire to travel. Hospitality continues to draw in people of all ages and is the world's fastest-growing industry to-date, leaving hoteliers scrambling to determine what works best for their target demographic.

Essentially, hotel accommodation shouldn't be a one-size-fits-all environment, but rather a unique and vibrant destination that offers a customized experience. A destination that delivers on the wants, needs and desires of its core audience and local community.

So, how can hoteliers create successful experience-driven properties that cater to myriad age groups? To start, consider applying design strategies that multifamily and apartment communities nationwide have implemented that delivered on millennials' needs for memorable experiences and baby boomers' desire for community.

The following shed light on design strategies that cater to every age group.

Baby Boomers (and Empty Nesters)

With their children grown up and off to work or college, baby boomers and empty-nesters (1946 to 1964) are downsizing by selling their homes and moving into apartment communities. A few reasons this group chooses to forgo homeownership is the minimal upkeep, convenience, access to community amenities and the opportunity to explore new areas. Empty nesters have a newfound freedom and in addition to selling their homes, research shows that 44 percent are making it a priority to travel more once their children leave 'the nest'. That said, hoteliers should consider leveraging similar design strategies that attract this generation to multifamily properties, into their own hotels. Key design elements and trends include:

To appeal to health-conscious Gen X renters, Broadstone Cavora in Laguna Niguel features a fitness room that doubles as a private workout studio for personal training and instructor-led yoga classes.
To promote health and wellbeing, Broadstone Cavora also provides residents - across all generations - with a full-size gym featuring high ceilings and access to natural Light.
Broadstone Cavora enables Gen X renters and Baby Boomers to connect with family and friends through inviting communal spaces such as a pool deck with multiple lounge areas and private cabanas complete with entertainment.
The lobby of Broadstone North Park features antique furniture and a mix of classic art that nod to residents' love for vintage items and interior design that tells a story.
Seamlessly delivering on millennials and Gen Z's desire for a hyper-local experience, Broadstone North Park is designed to emulate the city's eclectic and creative culture.
Broadstone North Park supports millennial and Gen Z tenants' desire for remote working by including a secret dining room that doubles as a meeting area outfitted with technology.
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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.