With the whole industry declaring the millennials as the ‘ones to watch’ this year, we question whether hoteliers really are well prepared to deal with the demands of this influential generation.
Kathryn Haskins, owner, the Alexandra, Lyme Regis
Yes, I think hotels have come a long way in their attempts to try and deliver a great guest experience. The criteria required to meet the guests’ needs is constantly evolving and hoteliers need to continually raise the bar to meet this challenge. The needs of the millennial traveller are more demanding than ever before and with the speed at which the technical world is changing it is always a catch up game. WiFi is now an absolute given in a hotel but sometimes the quality of this service is out of our hands for instance Lyme Regis doesn’t have fibre-optic broadband but guests living in cities expect this super-fast service.
Sabine Kern, director of sales and marketing, The London EDITION
Millenials want to connect with their favourite brands on an emotional level, be part of the action and share their experience with their network. Compared to Burberry’s clever multichannel 2014 #MyBurberry campaign or Adidas, who invited their customers via Instagram to personalise their trainers, hoteliers are still trying to play catch up. Apart from the rare exception, Boutique hotels are generally more focused on the face-to-face guest interaction, often ignoring online marketing tools, and therefore missing out on being part of the Millenials social network which can be an important revenue stream for the hotel.
YES & NO
Michele Mella, general manager, Barnsley House (Pride of Britain Hotels)
Dismiss the millennial traveller at your peril, that’s my message for any hotelier who is strategically developing their 5- to 10-year business plan. This is a generation completely at ease with technology and hoteliers need to adapt their services and environment accordingly. We are seeing an increased number of travellers making use of multiple gadgets simultaneously and serious investments are needed to upgrade WiFi services. Millennials seem to enjoy and happily share lounges as a main hub for their virtual engagement at the expense of bedrooms and private spaces.
YES & NO
Ross Grieve, general manager, Seaham Hall
I believe that the answer is yes and no. There are obviously a number of UK properties that are fundamentally technology driven, which in turn reduces customer interaction, but that is a choice that the consumer is making when choosing that property. Within the hotel, a stable and good performing WiFi connectivity is imperative, and certainly not chargeable, so that the millennial traveller can use the full extent of the internet.
Henrik Muehle, general manager, Flemings Mayfair
I do believe that as a whole, boutique hotels are adapting well in order to meet the needs of the millennial traveller. Advancements in technology have made achieving this easier, even though certain aspects of boutique hotels may make attaining this a greater challenge, particularly when one is trying not to lose the characteristics that make it a Boutique hotel in the first place. The size, restrictions of the building and sometimes even the décor may not always loan themselves to the modern infrastructure often required to meet these needs. It is a continual balancing act that involves careful monitoring and control.
Daniel Hodson, general manager, Rookery Hall Hotel & Spa
It is becoming more and more apparent that hotels are adapting to accommodate the millennial traveller. A great example of this is the ready-made packages many hotels offer their guests. These are perfect for the millennial traveller as they don’t always have the time to plan and package everything together for a getaway, whereas now hotels are offering this kind of break and often with a saving too.