Hotels sharpen strategies in hunt for millennial business

MILLENNIAL travellers will dominate the travel industry when they come into their prime in a few years’ time, sending hoteliers scrambling to craft new ways to capture the hearts and interests of this demographic.

Defined as the generation born between 1981 and 1995, millennials will enter their peak earning and spending years over the next decade thus presenting significant business opportunities for the travel industry, according to a joint study by Singapore Tourism Board, Visa and McKinsey & Company released earlier this month (TTG Asia e-Daily, March 7, 2014).

Neil Jacobs, chief executive officer, Six Senses Hotels Resorts Spas, explained: “We recognise that this group of guests don’t want vanilla. They are looking for an interesting experience and something unique.”

Raphael Saw, COO, hospitality business group & director, hospitality operations at Far East Organization, highlighted the rechristening and refurbishment of the Village portfolio last year as an effort to appeal to millennials (TTG Asia e-Daily,  June 12, 2013).

He said: “We know that an authentic experience is very important to this group because they want to be in a place that is true to its location and that’s why each property will reflect its locality.”

Stephen Ho, president, Asia-Pacific, Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, said: “We are aware that this generation uses a lot of social media and they are requesting a lot of personalisation in their requests.

“You must be able to understand their needs and make sure they can get what they want.”

To this end, Starwood has rolled out a pilot programme that allows a keyless entry system in two locations in the US. Ho said instead of visiting the front desk to check into their rooms, guests can simply check-in through the mobile app and go directly to their rooms.

Meanwhile, Paul Matthew Wiste, regional director of development – design, Asia Pacific for Jumeirah Group, said: “Our tagline is to be different and that is why we have a different design in a different location because we want our guests to wake up and know which country they are in.

“We have no standard floorplans because we want to deliver an experience that is unique to the specific location.”

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