Millennials, born in the early 1980s to the early 2000s and with an estimated population of 70 to 80 million, are the fast-growing segment of today’s business travelers. It has been forecasted that 24 percent of millennials plan to take more overnight trips in 2015 and this means hoteliers and designers must hone a millennial mindset.
Understanding how millennials think and act is key to understanding how to design for them. Millennials are a unique group–having grown up on technology. They are confident, high performance multi-taskers who value personal fulfillment, a work-life balance and flexibility. Though generally optimistic, millennials can be high-maintenance.
Millennials are known to be are genuinely interested in interacting and engaging with brands. Though they are open and willing to try new brands, that doesn’t necessarily make them loyal or easy to please. And if they aren’t pleased, they are very likely to broadcast their thoughts on social media. How can hoteliers attract this demographic? Here are five things to know about millennials as you address their needs in hotel design:
1. Millennials don’t like standing in line, and they would rather order online than talk to a person.
Hotels should be ever more accessible to the Internet, allowing these tech-savvy travelers the ability to use personal devices to check in, access their room, and request room services. This mindset could eventually lead to the demise of the time-consuming check-in at a formal front desk.
2. Millennials expect technology to be foundational to their travel experience.
Design should be infused with technology that goes beyond just providing easy access to WI-FI throughout facilities. Spaces should be designed so that the cell signals are not impeded. Guest rooms and common areas should provide ample plugs/charging areas. Smart technology should enhance and offer ease and luxury in guest rooms.
3. Millennials are interested in collaboration and social interaction.
This generation wants the option to get out of their rooms and be with other people. Designing for millennials means creating inviting common areas, enhanced lobbies, and flexible, multi-functional public spaces, and unique bar environments that encourage and promote socializing and collaboration. Hoteliers who want to cater to millennials will likely funnel more of their design budget into gathering spaces that act as an extension of the accommodations experience, creating places where guests and locals can interact.
4. Millennials like to be “connected” to their surroundings.
Millennials want to have an “experience,” so geographic location becomes all the more important. They want to be in more urban, active, mixed-use environments and hotels should also assimilate the culture and energy of their locations in the design.
5. Millennials want cool, Instagrammable spaces for photo opps and social sharing.
Millennials, constantly absorbed in media, are accustomed to visual stimulation and have trained eyes for cool design and fine products. They live well documented lives in which they use social media to share their notable moments and special events. In creating beautiful hotel spaces, you can provide backdrops for millennial guests to snap and share online, in addition to enjoying in real life. As you design, consider every corner to be a potential setting for photos, videos and the like. In choosing flattering lighting and “must see” decorative details, you can design spaces that will consistently earn tags, likes, and follows.
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