Hotels spending fortunes on room renovation programmes and the latest in-room entertainment systems might want to think again.
Gen-Y travellers are not that interested in the room and prefer to hang out in chic bar and lobby areas where they can socialise using their technology of choice, both on and offline.
So says Rob Davidson, a senior lecturer at Greenwich University School of Business, speaking at the BDRC Continental Hotels Insight Forum 2011 on Gen-Y traveller likes and dislikes.
They don’t particularly want to deal with a person and are happy to check in online.
The savviest of readers might be thinking, so what, but, according to Davidson, much of the audience at the event was frantically scribbling down notes.
The point he was stressing is that Gen-Y is different – in how they regard hotels and how they consume hotel products.
“Every industry is trying to get inside their heads. They are commonly regarded as quite high-maintenance but we can’t ignore them because they are emerging as the biggest cohort in society.”
Marketing channels also play a huge role in terms of recognising Gen-Y and treating them differently because they are more likely to listen to each other than listen to what previous generations are telling them.
“They are the most connected generation ever and not impressed by hotels with a few wifi hotspots. They want it everywhere – the same as fresh air.”
Marketing messages need to be short on words and big on images, as that’s how they have been brought up.
While the hospitality industry has understood it has to adapt, it is struggling to achieve a balance between Gen-Y and the three other generations of customers travelling for business and leisure.
Davidson’s insight was affirmed by a panel of Gen-Y travellers who highlighted the importance of technology, chill-out areas and trendy design elements.