Exclusive Feature: Vacations are a luxury, even when they're just a quick weekend trip to the next town over, the main obstacle that keeps people from going on vacation is money, which is something millennials find themselves struggling to obtain.
They face a challenging job market where they're prepared to work in positions they're overqualified for, all while earning less than desired wages.
That's why it's a big deal when millennials decide to go on vacation. It means they've probably been saving for a long time and paying close attention to how they planned their trip. Understanding how millennials approach the idea of a vacation can transform how the hotel industry interacts with them while they're away from home. The key concept is to not stick millennials to stereotypes.
They're adults who plan trips just like everyone else, with potentially a little difference in what they expect from hotels.
Read on to learn how hotel industry professionals can understand how millennials plan their vacations. Once their needs are known, it's easier to meet them in the middle and take away some of the stress they'll feel while they plan a trip. Making a hotel the best place for people to stay requires a little research into what different people want, and millennials are no different.
1. Pack All Essentials First
If young people are going to spend money, they want to put their cash towards something new and exciting. The last thing anyone with a tight budget wants to do on a trip is have to go out an buy toothpaste or deodorant. That's why all essentials get packed first, or at least accounted for before the day of their trip.
Hotels can prep for this need by storing complimentary necessities at the front desk. Leave a sign in each room to let guests know that whatever they may have forgotten or run out of is just a phone call away. Make sure the sign is clear that the necessities are complimentary, as millennials will not want to pay an extra fee.
2. Always Include Workout Clothes
There's a running joke with people, but especially millennials, that workout clothes should always be packed for a vacation. The idea of staying somewhere with free gym access inspires people to work out, but the truth is that the workouts never happen. Stay one step ahead of your guests by prepping your front desk or convenience store with gym items like socks or headphones. That way, if someone does end up wanting to work out but they find that they didn't pack what they need, you can be prepared offer it to them so their vacation stays easygoing.
3. Prepare to Eat Out
Not everyone has to eat out for every meal when they're away from home, but that's only if they can afford a condo or hotel suite with a kitchen unit. It's difficult to save for a condo in order to pay less at restaurants when 45 percent of millennials use credit cards to pay bills. They're going to book rooms that are affordable and sacrifice a big part of their vacation budget on restaurants.
That's why having a standard free breakfast served daily can be what makes or breaks a millennial who's looking for a place to stay. They'll see that free breakfast as twenty more dollars in their pocket for fun attractions or events. Going above and beyond to offer affordable room service or dine in meals may book more young people as well, since that would save them on the gas money they'd spend getting to a restaurant.
4. Search for Discounts
No young person is going to go on vacation without finding some great discounts first. Finding a way to pay less for lodging without sacrificing the quality of the room they'll stay in is part of what will make their trip a success. Consider starting a rewards program if you don't already have one for your business, and keep in mind your younger guests. Give more points to those just starting out in the rewards program and include benefits like a free meal or one night stay. That will inspire brand loyalty more quickly than fine dining or reserved parking spaces.
5. Know Your Destination
There's a certain kind of panic that will set in when people on a tight budget end up on a vacation in a place they don't know much about. Millennials will research their destination spots and map out where they'll be during any given time on their trip. It's a great way to save time and money. When guests arrive, make sure they know that you're on their side. At the front door and in each room, provide informational pamphlets so those who are less prepared can still find something to do without having to pay for the more popular and expensive locations that could come up first on an internet search.
7. Research With Social Media
Young people are more adept at using social media, especially when it comes to planning a vacation. They'll look online to see what reviews people have posted, what restaurants people have liked and what recommended pages they can find. It's why every hotel should have a strong internet presence outside of their own website. While people will always go back to a hotel's website to make reservations and see what's offered, they'll most likely end up there after seeing people talk about their experiences on social media.
Pay attention to what people are posting about your hotel online, especially on sites that aren't dedicated to reviews. Prior guests may feel more comfortable talking about their experiences on their personal pages, rather an leave a public review on a site they're not familiar with. You can follow certain hashtags or do regular searches for your hotel name to see what guests liked or didn't like. You'll be able to quickly find out what worked and didn't work for guests of all ages, especially millennials who are on their social media every day. Using social media and the internet to research what your guests want and how you can meet them in the middle is one of the ways you can figure out how millennials plan their vacations.
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Kacey Bradley is the blogger behind The Drifter Collective, an eclectic lifestyle blog that expresses various forms of style through the influence of culture and the world around us. Kacey graduated with a degree in Communications while working for a lifestyle magazine. She has been able to fully embrace herself with the knowledge of nature, the power of exploring other locations and cultures, all while portraying her love for the world around her through her visually pleasing, culturally embracing and inspiring posts. Along with writing for her blog, she has written for sites like U.S. News, SUCCESS, Ruffled, and more!