A Multi-Generational Approach to Managing Hotel Revenue

What do you do when you need a new pair of shoes? The answer likely varies depending on your age.

Older generations will visit a few stores and work with a sales associate. Middle-aged folks who already know what brand they like will just order from the company website. Younger generations will use a smartphone app, and they’ll send those shoes back via mail if they don’t fit.

Three different generations. Three different approaches.

Marketers often customize outreach based on generational targets, and now smart hoteliers are, too. Recognizing that a baby boomer researches and books a hotel differently from a millennial, they are taking proactive steps to attract varied audiences and cater to the unique needs of each.

Baby boomers: born between 1946 & 1964

  • Brand loyal — find what they like & stick with it
  • Require personalized service & human interaction
  • Appreciate value

To harness their massive spending power, hoteliers must take steps to make boomers feel comfortable and confident. As faithful customers of the hotel industry, boomers know what they like. Some may still travel for business, but recreational travel is growing as this group makes the most of their golden years.

Hotel managers can make their properties attractive to boomers by catering to their desire for personalized service. That means high-quality customer service at the time of booking, check-in and throughout the stay. Extras such as complimentary coffee and large-print newspapers won’t go unnoticed. Treat guests assuming they will return.

Gen X: born between 1965 & 1980

  • Use technology wisely
  • Work to live, not live to work
  • Enjoy social settings

As Gen X ages, its members will have more money at their disposal for travel. Furthermore, many are working their way up the ranks at jobs, making them avid business travelers. Gen X is less patient than boomers and they appreciate efficiency. Business travelers enjoy social spaces for working rather than working in their rooms. They also enjoy social spaces when traveling for pleasure.

To cater to Gen X, you must have a great online booking system. Next, create spaces in hotels that encourage socialization. Shared workspaces are ideal for business travelers. Cafes, bars and lounges are great for leisure travelers. Keep efficiency top of mind.

Millennials: Born after 1980

  • Extremely tech savvy
  • Impatient & independent
  • Tendency to research before booking

No generation is more tech savvy than millennials. Access to instant information has caused this group to have a reputation for being impatient. They don’t want to talk to someone if they can just do it themselves. In a few short years, millennials will make up the majority of the workforce, so now is prime time for hoteliers to target this generation.

Millennials are the most independent travel generation. They loathe long check-in lines and many would rather do so themselves through kiosks. This group is less brand loyal and heavily reliant on online reviews. However, they will commit to a brand if it represents their values (i.e. hotels with green initiatives.) Reputation management and social media outreach are key for targeting millennials.

BTW: free Wi-Fi is essential.

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