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area of a business from operations to customer service, and yes, marketing too, and there is no sign of AI becoming out of date any time soon.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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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.