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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Coming up in March 2019...

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.