By Kacey Bradley

The millennial generation is large and distinctive. In fact, they are the largest living generation in America, and their influence seems to reach even farther. With defining qualities like fast-paced living, social media use, socially-conscious choices and aesthetic preferences, this generation knows what they want.

The hospitality industry has started to factor in their preferences because millennials also love travel and now make up a significant percentage of hotel guests. Here are four ways the influence of millennials is changing the hospitality market.

1. Hunger for Technology

As millennials have grown up with digital resources at their fingertips, hotels that value technology for ease of use are winning over this demographic. Many well-known companies, like Hilton and Marriott, are offering a mobile key option, where guests can use their smartphone to open their door rather than a plastic key card.

Bypassing the front desk with technology is another trend that caters to the on-demand tendencies of millennials. Digital check-in kiosks or mobile check-in eliminates the wait.

Hotel apps can provide everything from requests for extra toiletries to concierge services. The Ritz-Carlton is one hotel with an app that lets you tap and scroll your way to fresh towels and room service.

2. A Desire for Greener Living

Many in this generation are passionate about causes, like the green movement. Millennials are impressed by hotels with green building certification and sustainable practices.

Waste management and recycling options are also worthwhile moves. The Ibis Singapore on Bencoolen hotel recognized their extreme food and disposable plastic waste, so they replaced their old habits with reduction measures. Even their popular eco-pen made from newspapers is cutting down on their plastic use.

Millennials make up 24 percent of the U.S. wine consumers' market. So, when stocking drink options, hotels are moving toward brands that appeal because of their source. Locally sourced wines allow them to support something meaningful and give an authentic experience of the region they're staying in. Something millennials have expressed a great interest in.

Other foods and beverages that hoteliers are featuring include organic coffees, craft beer and vegan options. Environmental packaging is also a huge plus.

3. Passion for Experiences

This generation considers experiences invaluable and would pick an event or activity over purchasing a tangible item. So, to get millennials the experiences they want, hotels are connecting them with things to do in the surrounding community. They're also offering more in-house activities to keep guests entertained.

Hotel staff is increasingly becoming skilled at sharing local attractions and recommendations, so their guests can fully appreciate the local culture during their stay. They're being matched with quirky food trucks and live shows to complete their exploration endeavors.

Partnerships with local eateries, breweries, wineries and suppliers help hotels offer immersive, in-house culture. While going out to discover a hidden establishment is special, the newness of the culture along with the convenient location can be twice the attraction for a millennial.

4. Love for Sharing

Due to their tech-based upbringing, millennials live to capture and share the things they're passionate about. Social media allows them to post reviews and advice for their followers and friends which can impact your hotel negatively or positively. Offer a shareable setting for guests to take advantage of digital word-of-mouth.

Craft colorful backdrops that are picture-perfect, so your guests pose in front of them for pictures. When they grab a quick shot to upload and show where they're staying on vacation, you just received an instant internet recommendation.

Lighting and design are crucial to earning millennials' interest because part of social media know-how includes an eye for aesthetic. Put up intriguing art that's worthy to post on Instagram to build a social media reputation.

The other side of the millennial draw toward sharing is simply connecting with their friends and acquaintances. Set up your lobby for prime interaction where guests can chat over coffee or stroll through a fun area.

Understand and Appeal to Millennials

Millennials' likes and dislikes have shaped the hospitality industry, but you can stay ahead of your competition by keeping up with this influential generation. From innovative hotel technology to experiential stays, your establishment can captivate this generation and continue to enhance your features. Bring more guests to your hotel when you implement these four millennial-driven changes.