Have Millennials Killed Room Service? And Is That a Good Thing?

By Thomas McKeown Executive Chef, Hyatt Regency Atlanta | July 29, 2018

You may not have noticed, but you are probably not as young as you think you are.  I had a friend tell me recently that she feels like she is still the gal she was in high school, footloose and care free. She is almost 80.

To some extent, if we are lucky, we all probably feel that way, like we are still the young fresh faces we were ten years ago. It is easy to forget that we are not necessarily the cool kids anymore. Ouch!

It may be painful, but this is a critical realization for professionals in our industry, who are focused on serving consumers, and providing them with experiences that will make them irrationally loyal to our brands. We talk about this a lot in our hotel: Who is our guest, and what are they looking for? For one, we are finding our guest is younger than we think she is (and as the trends go, she is probably getting younger).

We all have a stereotype of the "Business Traveler." He is a "Mad Men" sort of fellow, an airport road warrior checking in late with a crumpled suit and tie. But take a look at your midweek guest and ask yourself, is that today's business traveler? After taking a hard look at our guests, we found our Businessman is not a man. Just over half of our business travelers are women.

And travelers are younger than you might think. The Millennial Generation is not coming into the workforce. In many cases they are the work force.  Professionals in their 20s and 30s are the ones going on the road on behalf of their companies, making sales calls, meeting clients, prospecting new business, and staying at our hotels. Our midweek business guest is more likely to be wearing big, designer, over the ear headphones than penny loafers. And our weekend guests are no different.

Much (maybe too much) has been written about the changes that Millennials have brought us, good and bad, and how their generation has disrupted familiar mainstays like newspapers, shopping malls, taxis and even hotels. Traditional room service may also be on that list – but I am here to tell you that is a good thing.

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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.