Millennials Are Changing Meetings

By Kelly Parisi Solutions Development Manager, Spear One | September 06, 2015

A generation of 'immediate gratification' often comes to mind when considering the Millennial stereotype. Rapidly-changing needs and preferences. Consumed with technology and over-socialized content. Distrust of traditional media and advertising. Yet, the Millennial demographic should not be overlooked.

According to Forbes, Millennials represent over a quarter of the population in America and hold $200 billion in annual buying power. To date, about 55 million "Millennials" (16-34 year-olds) form the largest share of the U.S. civilian workforce – surpassing 53 million in "Generation X" (35-50 year-olds), 44 million "Baby Boomers" (51-70 year olds), and 5 million of the "traditionalist" generation. With these non-traditional innovators influencing the market, hotels are wondering how to evolve and cater to this new audience.

Millennials Are Important for Brands

Elite Daily, an online news platform with over 74 million monthly unique visitors, published "Millennial Consumer Study" in 2015, surveying 1,300 Millennials on various consumer-related topics. The study debunked a common myth, revealing that Millennials (60 percent of those surveyed) are actually very loyal to brands. If hotels ignore Millennials now as they are just starting to buy, it will be harder to capture their loyalty in the future.

How do you capture their attention? Understand their values and interests? Hotels must act fast to recognize these new buyers' needs and adapt accordingly. And while points, perks and brand consistency are nice, Millennials are asking hotels to reach beyond the traditional loyalty program.

Authenticity and Your Own Backyard

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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.