By Lena Hemsworth
Nowadays, the range of guest profiles in hotels around the Globe is wider than ever, as well as the spectrum of types of accommodations and the services they provide.
In this day and age, the typical traveller could really be anyone. Long gone are the days when travelling and hotels were mainly reserved for the wealthy or the business-savvy. With value increasingly being shifted from possessions to experiences and people making use of our connected world, frequent travelling is the norm for many, even amidst modern-day fears. The range of the types of visitors in hotels is wider now than ever, as are the types of accommodations and the services they provide. Needless to say, the hospitality game has taken it up a notch, with competition swarming and demanding new strategies as paradigms shift. This is a time when understanding even the tiniest hints of how the modern population generally responds to hospitable behaviours and commodities could determine the fate of your business.
The need for authenticity
The weary traveller is no longer just looking for shelter and meals. Many people prefer to call themselves "travellers" rather than "tourists" as the latter term has started to carry a somewhat off-putting connotation. The traveller values quality over quantity, values experience and authenticity – it is someone who may see much less on their trip, but they will completely immerse themselves in all the experiences. The traveller doesn't want generic luxury in their accommodations; they care more about authenticity, about feeling welcomed into a community of locals. The majority of guests today want to be treated as such – guests, not customers. Just like you would welcome a guest at home and give them all your heartiest recommendations, have your staff – all of the staff, be ready for a chat with your visitors about their favorite local gems. Your accommodations will be strongly separated in their minds from all others they have ever been to, and they'll be grateful for the recommendations.
Comfort in the era of visual platforms
Keeping in mind that the hospitality business has come to hugely depend on online reviews and visuals, you need to be prepared for highly frequent freshening up of the interiors. It's necessary to portray visually that feeling of comfort – whether it's with new chairs that are not just comfy to sit on but also look that way, soft linen that looks straight out of a fabric softener commercial, or cushy pillows that suggest to your guest they'll be getting amazing sleep at your place. You want the photos of your interiors to be saying "Yes, you'll be well taken care of here, and yes, it will feel like home but with a touch of escapism". That is the ultimate goal, the idea that appeals to all.
The advantage of deals
Numerous hotels offer discounts or perks for frequent guests; this is common practice and important in maintaining trust and loyalty. But many luxurious places often offer discounts to welcome a wider population – it's a great feat of marketing and psychology. Guests feel grateful when they run into such an opportunity, they're likely to advertise you on social media, but most importantly, in their minds, they connect your accommodations with entirely positive feelings, one of which is the privilege. A great example of this is the ever-growing accessibility of Bali, where, thanks to various Bali deals, a regular, not-so-wealthy visitor can experience luxury on a lush island. In return, Bali is increasingly welcoming open-minded young people, respectful and appreciative of the environment they're in, who'd otherwise not be able to visit this type of place. It is these people who nurture a sense of community and who will write on blogs and social media the most sincere praises.
Target a mindset, not a generation
For years now, many industries, hospitality included bustle and debate about "appealing to Millennials". They understand they need to put apps to use, to value technology, to have a more casual approach, Instagram-worthy spaces, and so on and so forth. But targeting a specific generation in a very blunt way, and sticking to prescribed principles quite literally and religiously, is only doomed to fail. You'd be pushing away numerous people by catering to a single generation, and some of those people might even be from the targeted generation itself. There are no "millennial hotels" – there can only be hotels which share the mind-set and principles of this generation and thus appeal to anyone with similar thinking, including older people.
Lastly, bear in mind the principles of psychology in the service industry and train your staff to be hospitable in the right way. If you have a restaurant in your accommodations, good service and charming staff will make all the difference. In the end, it's all about human interaction, about welcoming the fatigued guest and cocooning him/her in a place of safety, comfort, interaction, and positivity. No matter from which background or walk of life, every traveller essentially needs their host to create this cocoon for them.