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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Coming up in March 2019...

Human Resources: An Era of Transition

Traditionally, the human resource department administers five key areas within a hotel operation - compliance, compensation and benefits, organizational dynamics, selection and retention, and training and development. However, HR professionals are also presently involved in culture-building activities, as well as implementing new employee on-boarding practices and engagement initiatives. As a result, HR professionals have been elevated to senior leadership status, creating value and profit within their organization. Still, they continue to face some intractable issues, including a shrinking talent pool and the need to recruit top-notch employees who are empowered to provide outstanding customer service. In order to attract top-tier talent, one option is to take advantage of recruitment opportunities offered through colleges and universities, especially if they have a hospitality major. This pool of prospective employees is likely to be better educated and more enthusiastic than walk-in hires. Also, once hired, there could be additional training and development opportunities that stem from an association with a college or university. Continuing education courses, business conferences, seminars and online instruction - all can be a valuable source of employee development opportunities. In addition to meeting recruitment demands in the present, HR professionals must also be forward-thinking, anticipating the skills that will be needed in the future to meet guest expectations. One such skill that is becoming increasingly valued is “resilience”, the ability to “go with the flow” and not become overwhelmed by the disruptive influences  of change and reinvention. In an era of transition—new technologies, expanding markets, consolidation of brands and businesses, and modifications in people's values and lifestyles - the capacity to remain flexible, nimble and resilient is a valuable skill to possess. The March Hotel Business Review will examine some of the strategies that HR professionals are employing to ensure that their hotel operations continue to thrive.