Top Tips for Integrating Millennials Into Your Hotel Team

By Henri Birmele Managing Director, Hotel Shangrila Santa Monica | March 24, 2013

Call them what you will - Millennials, Gen Next, Echo Boomers, Gen Y - the fact is that by now your hotel operation has hired employees from this nearly 80 million pool, children born roughly between 1976 and 2001. If they are not already in the workforce, they will be soon. Count on it. By 2020, it is expected this generation will comprise nearly 46 percent of all workers.

Is your hotel's management team prepared to meet the challenges Millennials present and to harness the unique perspectives, skills and abilities they bring to the table?

This new generation is entering the workplace with a far different set of expectations than did their parents. And their grandparents generation-well, forget about it!

They are a study in contrasts - On the one hand, they are an optimistic lot, even as they have had to face the recent economic uncertainties that befell the entire US workforce. This uncertainty has left them feeling somewhat vulnerable about their future and whether they will have the right skills and training needed to succeed. Will they have the financial where-with-all to pay back student loans? New studies indicate they suffer the greatest levels of stress of any generation.

They are highly educated and technically savvy - While their parents were hooked on Superman comics and the superhero's ability to "leap tall buildings in a single bound," this new generation can open multiple apps on their cellphones, follow their friends on Facebook and Twitter, and make dinner reservations all in a matter of seconds. Self-assured, they can get information instantly via a search engine or by asking Siri. No longer does getting information require going to an encyclopedia at the local library.

Unlike past generations, they get bored easily and do not come to work with the loyalty that has characterized older workers. Why should they? As benefits and opportunities for advancement have changed, given the fluctuations of these economic times, it is not surprising that they are ready to jump ship if their "work experience" isn't what they expected.

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Social Media: Getting Personal

There Social media platforms have revolutionized the hotel industry. Popular sites such as Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, Snapchat, YouTube and Tumblr now account for 2.3 billion active users, and this phenomenon has forever transformed how businesses interact with consumers. Given that social media allows for two-way communication between businesses and consumers, the emphasis of any marketing strategy must be to positively and personally engage the customer, and there are innumerable ways to accomplish that goal. One popular strategy is to encourage hotel guests to create their own personal content - typically videos and photos -which can be shared via their personal social media networks, reaching a sizeable audience. In addition, geo-locational tags and brand hashtags can be embedded in such posts which allow them to be found via metadata searches, substantially enlarging their scope. Influencer marketing is another prevalent social media strategy. Some hotels are paying popular social media stars and bloggers to endorse their brand on social media platforms. These kinds of endorsements generally elicit a strong response because the influencers are perceived as being trustworthy by their followers, and because an influencer's followers are likely to share similar psychographic and demographic traits. Travel review sites have also become vitally important in reputation management. Travelers consistently use social media to express pleasure or frustration about their guest experiences, so it is essential that every review be attended to personally. Assuming the responsibility to address and correct customer service concerns quickly is a way to mitigate complaints and to build brand loyalty. Plus, whether reviews are favorable or unfavorable, they are a vital source of information to managers about a hotel's operational performance.  The February Hotel Business Review will document what some hotels are doing to effectively incorporate social media strategies into their businesses.