Destination Creativity: Creating the “In The Now” Place to Be

By Dianna Cordle Director of Sales, Holiday Inn Dayton Fairborn | September 02, 2018

What do you do when you are not a destination location? How do you overcome that your beautiful hotel is not sitting on a golf course or the ocean but right in the middle of an urban area facing a six-lane highway? The struggle is real for many hotel properties of all brands. However, by focusing on the new "millennial" traveler's needs and desires, you can turn your property into the "in the now" place to be.

The concept is to focus on what drives the millennial traveler. Weaving these motivators into your property's foot print will set you apart from your competitors. First, you must understand who this traveler is and what makes this traveler choose your property. According to the Pew Research Center, millennials were born from 1981 – 1997, making today's millennials 21 to 37 years old, the United States' largest living generation, and the majority of the workforce. Taking the steps to review, relate and connect will prove profitable to your property as you begin to create a destination.

Review what important characteristics define this individual. The millennial traveler works hard but plays even harder. Start by tracking all areas of social media as it describes your property. Continue with your hotel 's web site, Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

Relate your property to what is important to this high-powered generation. Money is very important to this group but living "green" is even more important. Health and fitness is key to their selection when choosing that perfect home away from home. But, let us not forget this group is the leader in the "foodie" craze. A variety of entertainment options are key to motivating this group.

Connect and blend the hotel design to include an inviting and relaxing environment. The term "open concept" is not just the trend on every TV house show but the desirable design of the millennial travel. Relaxing while surfing the internet in an open area with other travelers is more desirable than being secluded in the hotel room.

Reviewing you or reviewing them might be a debate that could go on for quite some time. However, hotel management teams must evaluate their web-sites and ADR, constantly comparing it to their competitive market share. Rest assured your millennial traveler has researched your web-site and your comp set, possibly more than the average hotel manager.

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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.