Listen to millennials to be successful
26 FEBRUARY 2015 7:38 AM
Millennials (both the ones you hire and your guests) can share a wealth of ideas and innovations—provided you're willing to listen to them.
I recently moved to San Francisco, the epicenter of the technology industry and hub for driven millennials. I’ve witnessed how talented and creative this group is but have noticed that they are forging ahead into territories that as of yet have no existing standards. For example, Uber and Airbnb took unconventional paths and became extremely successful. This type of approach appealed to millennials and raised the bar for all of us.
But how do we choose to recognize this phenomenon, and how do we adapt to the inevitability of changing times?
Expected to soon surpass baby boomers in spending, traveling and in traffic to booking sites, the 82 million millennials and their expectations will greatly alter the foundation of the hospitality industry. I’ve been fortunate to work with a number of young and talented millennials this year, and through our conversations have realized how imperative it is that the hospitality industry continues to listen to this generation—our future chief source of revenue.
This influential group expects one-of-a-kind experiences, the kind of which they can share with their social networks. The sheer number and variety of ways in which they communicate, coupled with their highly connected lifestyle creates an opportunity for hotel brands to woo this demographic, with the intent to cultivate lifelong brand ambassadors. They are, therefore, the No. 1 driver of experiential hotel design; it’s the experience that hotel brands do and should hope to elevate.
Don’t forget the foundation
But while great focus has been placed on learning from the millennials, it’s important that we don’t lose sight of that generation that has molded what we know to be the present-day institution of the hotel industry: the baby boomers.
This demographic will continue to spend on travel, specifically in the luxury realm, and the challenge will be to prepare for the impending end of an era while looking to the future of the industry.
How do we reconcile this shift from one influential generation to the next? By the year 2030, millennials will outnumber baby boomers (a generation less and less likely to travel as its base grows older) by 20 million. Millennials will soon become the primary guest demographic, so it is imperative that hoteliers work now to find solutions for capturing and retaining these influential clients.
I view the rise of the millennial not as an intimidating challenge but rather as a group from which we can learn and grow, for the better, as an industry. We embrace this trend and the new ideas that are coming from this next generation. Many of our designers are millennials so they understand the wants of this group (they live it every day).
My recommendation to hoteliers is to seize this trend by listening to this group (hire them) and your guests in order to bring new ideas and innovations to the table.
An expert in the hospitality industry, Amy brings demonstrated leadership and an extensive background to the Puccini Group team. A graduate of New York City’s Fashion Institute of Technology with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Interior Design, Amy is NCIDQ certified and a licensed designer in New York and in Nevada. She is an active member of many professional organizations, including the International Society of Hospitality Consultants (ISHC) and the International Interior Design Association (IIDA). Additionally, Amy recently served as President of the New York Chapter of NEWH and sits on the NCD 2015 International Advisory Board for the Guri World Design Center in Korea.
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