By Jana Love
What are Millennials? According to, Wikipedia, Millennials (also known as the Millennial Generation or Generation Y) are the demographic cohort following Generation X. There are no precise dates when the generation starts and ends. Researchers and commentators use birth years ranging from the early 1980's to the early 2000's.
Robert Rauch wrote an article, Top 10 Hospitality Industry Trends in 2015 that discusses the profile of a Millennial. The major focus for this group is exploration, interaction, and experience. Rauch says, "They are looking for a unique and novel experience and this has and will continue to command change within the market."
Here are the Top 10 Hospitality Industry Trends in 2015, by Robert Rauch:
1. Millennials: In addition to their expectation of exploration, interaction and experiences, this segment is, and will always be, connected to technology. The days of manual processes are lost on this group. They want to be able to check into their hotel, research restaurants, shopping, flights, to name a few, all by the use of their technology. Rauch writes that Millennial have a voice and are not afraid to post unsatisfying experiences on Twitter, Facebook, Yelp or TripAdvisor. As said by Rauch, "(Millennials) represent 32% of all US travelers and by 2025 will represent over 50% of all travelers."
2. Customer Service: Always very important, but more in terms of technology. Meaning, the ease of connectability, functional online features to replace manual steps. Hauch says, "The rise of this digital traveler requires the hotel industry to balance the expectation of the personalization while enhancing the need to remain independent." Providing WOW experiences and service is what will maintain their repeat business.
3. Expectation of more international visitors: International travel has increased significantly and tourists are now able to travel to the US since the visa waiver program was introduced by President Obama in 2012. There is a projected annual growth of 4% of international travel, which represents 80 million more visitors to the US. This number is representative of a high volume of Chinese travelers to the US per year.
4. Booking more profitable business: Is critical in regards to RevPAR, increased occupancy levels, average rates and revenue per available room.
5. Innovative technology: Mobile check-in, seamless connectivity and mobile apps being used everyday to access what is needed. Hauch says, "Most importantly, when looking at the face of a changing consumer today, technology innovation is paramount."
6. The sharing economy: Being newly explored, as well as understood by the industry, are the exploding companies of Airbnb, Uber, and Lyft. The wonder is how effected will the traditional hotel model be with these new concepts.
7. Political uncertainty: The 2016 presidential campaign leaves uncertainty in the industry as it relates to HR policies, legal ramifications, and the impact it has on the available option to employees. There is also questions and uncertainty in regards to minimum wage changes and how this will impact the ability to forecast budgets accurately.
8. Reputation management: Managing your reputation has changed considerably and will continue to do so. Hoteliers need to understand the importance of these platforms, like TripAdvisor, Yelp, Facebook, Yahoo, and Expedia. For most of the social platforms, travelers can access and discuss their experiences instantly by mobile devises. They can access these networks at anytime, anywhere, which allows them to see and know more instantly.
9. Real time marketing: Is providing information constantly through social media and other site. This is now the wave of company marketing. People are turning to apps and mobile sites to do what used to be called "walk-in" reservations.
10. Health and wellness trends: Healthy food options are what people are looking for to support this trend. Many hotels are connecting with this trend by offering lower calorie, farm fresh foods, as options to their regular menu. Some hotels are doing test piloting of healthier vending machine selections.
The hospitality industry will need to react, respond, and keep current with these trends in order to maintain and capture market share. Lastly, the Millennials will continue to influence changes to this industry.