As years progress, so do trends and the tastes of those consumers following them. The hospitality industry, specifically hotels, are on the frontlines of hosting guests and most of the time unsuccessfully catering to the “modern” consumer. In 2018, the modern consumer wants fast, accurate, and exciting. This kind of attitude has been driving hotel chains to refocus their attention from standard hospitality practices to a more modern, high-tech approach that is attracting one of the biggest markets for travel and hospitality worldwide: millennials.
The key trend to look at in modern day hospitality is the technology and the incredible capacity it has to completely revolutionize the guest experience. Hotel giants like Hilton and Marriott are two prime examples of trendsetters utilizing the power of technology and creative thinking to begin using mobile apps as virtual keys—virtually ending the nightmares that have anguished every hotel guest who leaves their hotel key next to their credit card or loses it at the beach under a coconut tree. E-Keys, however, are just the beginning of the technological revolution happening within the hospitality industry. Concepts like AI integrated “Smart Rooms” that go as far as having “interactive corridors that respond to gestures” and eco-friendly features like motion sensor and LED lighting show the futuristic strides currently being made.
Hotels must take into consideration why guests are even in the city or town to begin with. Millennials are known for buying “Spiritual Journeys” through Kingston, Jamaica rather than putting money aside in a 401k or any kind of savings account for that matter. Executives and hospitality experts are beginning to take notice, with reports going so far as to say “Based on their travel behaviors and attitudes, Millennials are emerging as one of the most valuable population segments for the growing US travel industry.” With that kind of attitude and money to burn, the big hotel chains are trying to broaden their audience. Marriott recently re-introduced its “Moments” services which, through the company, helps facilitate different vacation experiences like champagne tasting or cave diving.
It seems obvious that, as with any industry, hotels must adapt to the people occupying them. With the increasing implementation of “smart” systems throughout the hotel hierarchy, guests are experiencing better stays and management is operating as efficiently as ever. The rise of the millennial consumer, however, should not be overshadowed. Not only are consumer tastes changing, but the hospitality industry is also now being introduced to a brand new consumer base that unfortunately holds no loyalty to a brand that hasn’t been modernized to cater to their needs.