The luxury traveler seems to be getting younger and younger; at least, that's the latest hypothesis coming from Starwood's head office.
The hotel group, which includes W Hotels, St. Regis, Sheraton, Aloft and more, says its turning its focus to young millionaires - one of the fastest growing segments in the tourism industry.
According to Starwood, 85% of Starwood's luxury guests are from Generation X and Y, which is why Starwood is positioning itself to better cater to this group.
Phase one: the hotel group will invest to create, renovate or restore luxury hotels in anticipation of the growth of luxury demand. especially in Asia cities where the millennial group is leading the way in luxury travel.
"The world's wealthiest people are no longer just old elites," said Lothar Pehl, senior Asia-Pacific vice-president for operations and global initiatives, in an article from the Bangkok Post. "Wealth is moving east and south and from established to self-made families. The dotcom boom has encouraged a rise of travels by the new generation of global elites who are called Generation LuXurY," Mr Pehl said.
Pehl said Starwood's approach to attracting this younger market is through the concept of "Generation LuXurY" - a more digitally-savvy hotel experience that caters to this changing demographic.
But it's not just about being tech-savvy and up on the latest trends. Generation LuXurY, according to Starwood, is a more casual approach to luxury. Something that's more personalized and defined by interests, said Pehl.
"To approach young millionaires, Starwood has to understand their preferences, interests and demands. We need to think of what they need before we do anything for them," Mr Pehl said.
One of the target regions for this growth market is Asia. Starwood placed emphasis on this with the W Hotels brand, which now has nine W hotels in the region and more to come. Starwood will also open 20 new hotels in China this year.
But that isn't the only thing happening in China with the hospitality industry. According to a recent publication by Cornell University's Center for Hospitality Research, price has become one of the top factors in travel decisions for Chinese travelers.
Cornell's Preferences and Attitudes of Chinese Outbound Travelers was based on interviews with 51 Chinese tour operators, who observed that Chinese leisure travelers prefer package travel because of the convenience and reasonable prices.
The survey showed that China was the top travel destination for most respondents, but that Europe would become increasingly popular with the Chinese, followed by North America, Australia and the Middle East.
What's this mean for hotels? The survey also showed that Chinese preferred full-service, urban hotels, explaining that it was "a matter of efficiency". It said that tour groups wanted hotels that served breakfast, while also detailing their preferred bathroom amenities (dual sinks, shower, separate makeup vanity to reduce waiting time for bathroom facilities) and in-room amenities (tea and coffee-making facilities, Wi-Fi and Internet availability).
Is your hotel ready to compete for the next generation Chinese traveler?This is strictly an exclusive feature, reprints of this article in any shape or form without prior written approval from 4Hoteliers.com is not permitted.
Melanie Nayer is a hotel reviewer and expert on luxury travel around the world. She has covered all aspects of hotels including corporate restructures, re-branding initiatives, historical aspects and the best of the best in luxury hotels around the world.
Melanie writes a weekly exclusive column for 4Hoteliers.com