Hotel Design: Engaging Millennials Throughout Their Stay

By Cristine Henderson Associate, Hoefer Wysocki | March 24, 2019

Millennials are quickly becoming known as disruptors when it comes to particular areas of business that otherwise have been relatively predictable up until now. Architecture, and hotels especially, are no exception to a shift in paradigm. From the integration of technology, to the creation of open-concept floorplans, what millennials crave is transforming how hotels approach design concepts in order to better attract and serve their guests.

Technology and Hospitality Industry Design

Technology-based design elements are the primary way that the millennial shift is occurring. Amenities like TVs and Wi-Fi have not always been as ubiquitous as they are now. In fact, providing a flat-screen TV in a hotel room is now becoming an industry baseline for even the cheapest accommodations. A strong Wi-Fi connection is now more coveted than parking or even complimentary breakfast at hotels. Readily available Wi-Fi access has proven to be a necessity for both business and leisure travelers.

As the millennial generation continues to age and have children of their own, even more will be expected of hotel design, such as the addition of Amazon's Alexa and smart control panels for lighting, room temperature. Hotels have even begun media partnerships with a variety of streaming services that be offered for free to hotel guests like the Showtime Hotel App. Several hotels including the Hyatt Regency San Francisco, Caesar's Palace and Dream Downtown NYC also just recently announced partnerships with Google's New Google Assistant Interpreter Mode, in which users are able to receive translations for dozens of languages and conduct conversations in real- time.

Because technology moves at such a fast pace, hotels have no choice but to update. The consumer demand for more technology in travel accommodations is driving a plethora of innovation within hotel design and function. In addition to utilizing technology for hotel guests, smart hotels brands are also seeking ways in which technology can help improve work for its employees.

While housekeeping isn't the first thing you think of as it relates to a hotel's design and when it comes to making a hotel millennial friendly and high tech, there are some surprising new technologies that help the staff with cleaning tasks, therefore making the housekeeping easier, and ultimately, providing better guest satisfaction. Some hotel properties have begun utilizing sensors on room service trays which sends out alerts to pick it up after the sensor has passed through the guest's doorway into the hall.

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Coming up in June 2019...

Sales & Marketing: Selling Experiences

There are innumerable strategies that Hotel Sales and Marketing Directors employ to find, engage and entice guests to their property, and those strategies are constantly evolving. A breakthrough technology, pioneering platform, or even a simple algorithm update can cause new trends to emerge and upend the best laid plans. Sales and marketing departments must remain agile so they can adapt to the ever changing digital landscape. As an example, the popularity of virtual reality is on the rise, as 360 interactive technologies become more mainstream. Chatbots and artificial intelligence are also poised to become the next big things, as they take guest personalization to a whole new level. But one sales and marketing trend that is currently resulting in major benefits for hotels is experiential marketing - the effort to deliver an experience to potential guests. Mainly this is accomplished through the creative use of video and images, and by utilizing what has become known as User Generated Content. By sharing actual personal content (videos and pictures) from satisfied guests who have experienced the delights of a property, prospective guests can more easily imagine themselves having the same experience. Similarly, Hotel Generated Content is equally important. Hotels are more than beds and effective video presentations can tell a compelling story - a story about what makes the hotel appealing and unique. A video walk-through of rooms is essential, as are video tours in different areas of a hotel. The goal is to highlight what makes the property exceptional, but also to show real people having real fun - an experience that prospective guests can have too. The June Hotel Business Review will report on some of these issues and strategies, and examine how some sales and marketing professionals are integrating them into their operations.