Marketing to Millennial Family Travelers and Gaining Loyalty

By Jon Conching Director of Sales, Marketing and Events, Hyatt Regency Waikiki Beach Resort and Spa | June 19, 2016

While the millennial traveler is a relatively new demographic, these Gen Y travelers are becoming increasingly important for resort marketers to target in order to gain enduring brand loyalty and consumer trust. They make up a quickly-growing demographic seeking thoughtfully-curated leisure and business experiences and use various mediums to research and finalize travel-related purchases. According to Pew Research, millennials represent the largest generation of consumers today, totaling 75.4 million, surpassing the 74.9 million Baby Boomers. Within this group of consumers, is the millennial family traveler – individuals or couples with children who are looking for travel experiences that fit their wants and needs as a family unit. Family Travel Association reports that the millennial family travel market accounts for 31 percent of all U.S. travel with children. As this demographic continues to grow, it is important that hotels provide the experiences and amenities to maintain their loyalty.

Defining Millennial Family Travelers and Their Travel Wants and Needs

Travel inspiration appears across all social media platforms, and millennials with families are paying attention to the types of add-ons and customized offerings that will make traveling with the whole family simpler and memorable. Millennial travelers know what they want, and won't settle for less. For hotels that cater to the whole family, engaging the millennial and the millennial family demographics will be key for long-term success, since millennials often have a strong sense of hotel allegiance.

The first step in marketing to this group is being able to identify who the millennial traveler is and what they need when traveling with their family. According to Travel Agent Central, 64 percent of millennial families will use travel agents to book vacations in 2016. With more than half of millennial families seeking guidance from the experts, it is crucial that your hotel stands out with novel offerings. Millennials want ease of personalization, but not a cookie cutter experience. They look for travel opportunities that reinforce their individuality, but do so taking affordability into account. They are tech-savvy, research-oriented, and will never consider a hotel again if they have a negative experience.

Millennial family travel takes place for a variety of reasons, but a growing trend is combining business travel with leisure travel – giving way to the ever-popular "bizcation" or "bleisure" trip. A recent study by the Global Business Travel Association found that millennials are nearly twice as likely to travel for business as the Baby Boomer generation, with almost 50% of millennials traveling regularly for work. For out-of-office trips that lead professionals to tropical destinations like Hawaii, the ability to mix business with pleasure becomes even more attractive to millennial business travelers wanting to plan leisure vacations with their families following business trips. The key to engaging these traveling families is to offer something for everyone.

Amenities for the Whole Family - Enhancing the Millennial Family Travel Experience

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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.