Confirming Harris Group research that shows 72 percent of Millennials (ages 18-34) prefer experiences over things, a new Travelport survey finds Millennials are far more likely to take a vacation this summer than are other generational groups. According to Hospitalitynet, “More than half of Millennials (56 percent) plan to travel more this summer compared to summer 2017, in contrast to 35% of Gen X respondents (ages 35-54 years old) and 22 percent of Baby Boomers (ages 55+).” About a third of those Millennials are also planning to spend more than $5000 on travel this summer.
This interest in experiences explains both the rise of Airbnb and the continued interest in booking hotels. It also explains the otherwise odd move away from online booking and toward traditional offline booking companies. It seems Millennials enjoy the personal experience of booking a trip with an agent.
While Millennials are balancing their interest in Airbnb with hotels, if hotels want to truly fight back and bring in even more Millennials, they are going to have to provide something the typical Airbnb cannot: experiences.
While many hotels have traditionally provided a variety of services, including housekeeping, bars, restaurants, workout rooms, and discounts to local activities, the fact of the matter is that hotels are going to have to increase the kinds of experiences they provide customers to keep up with Millennial demand.
Hotels may consider following Macy’s lead in providing miniconcerts and yoga classes. While bars are great at night, a café would give people someplace to hang out during the day as well. Tai chi classes could be an alternative to yoga classes; poetry readings could also showcase the talents of one’s patrons. Opportunities to take pictures to post on Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Snapchat, and other social media can also ensure increased Millennial patronage.
Renting rather than owning houses, Uber rather than owning cars, Fluid Market rather than owning bikes, tents, kayaks, ladders, lawn mowers, and so on—this is how Millennials live. With data showing more millennial travel in the works, hotels should be placing a premium on experiences to keep travelers coming back.