Marketing to Millennials Via Artificial Intelligence

By Jay Hartz President, Next Generation Revenue Per Available Room | June 03, 2018

How do you best communicate to Millennials - the generation who basically used tablets or smartphones since before they could walk? You target them with the tool they are most passionate about: technology. More specifically, Artificial Intelligence.

The premise of AI is an area of computer science, which focuses on the creation of intelligent machines which function and responds like humans. Therefore AI technology is increasingly taking over tasks previously handled by people, because as it becomes perfected, the technology will be more cost-effective, responsive, and error-free than a human employee could ever be. Perhaps not surprisingly, the various AI technologies are growing at such an alarming rate, they will be infiltrating virtually every area of a business from operations to customer service, and yes, marketing too, and there is no sign of AI becoming out of date any time soon.

It is estimated that there are over 92 million Millennials - the first generation in history to grow up in the digital world. As the father of four Millennials, I have had a front row seat to this fascinating generation who are undoubtedly breaking the mold when it comes to consumption of pretty much everything.

Marketing to this generation will not only affect a hotel's bottom line or top line today, but for tomorrow and many years to come. As more and more baby boomers retire, Millennials are moving into these key careers where travel is involved. In less than 10 years, Millennials will make up over 70% of our workforce, but the good news here is we still have time to plan and build loyalty with this generation.

Over the past several years, there has been so much discussion regarding Millennials including managing them in the workplace, consumer behavior, and their preferences of ownership versus sharing everything from homes to automobiles.

One trait of a Millennial that is not too often disputed is that they love and engage technology. A recent report by Statista noted they spent an average of 223 minutes per day on mobile Internet in 2017, which was a significant increase of 19% from only a year earlier.

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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.