ITB 2024 Special Reporting
The Millennial Generation and Their Consumer Buying Behavior.
By Joseph Fischer ~ Exclusive - Views On The Latest Trends
Thursday, 15th May 2014
Exclusive Feature: The millennial generation – their favorite retail clothes shops and consumer buying behavior, how will this affect their choice of hotel brands and hotel booking methods? 

I just had the pleasure of visiting London twice in the last two weeks. On the first stay I was joined by my teenage son. An integral part of most leisure trips to a city such as London is shopping. I visited H&M, Zara and Urban Outfitters but the two shops in London where my son spent most of his shopping budget were: Primark on Marble Arch and the sport goods Megastore, Lillywhites on Piccadilly Circus.

Ok, so what's the connection? What does shopping in these stores in London have to do with the hotels that the Millennial Generations are booking?

These two brands are worlds apart. Primark is a relatively "young" brand founded in 1969,
Focusing on fashion products while Lillywhites is a "historic" brand founded back in1859 and focused on Sports products.

Let me start with a bit of basic information on both brands:

4Hoteliers Image LibraryPrimark is an Irish clothing retailer, operating in Austria, Belgium, France, Germany, Ireland, Portugal, Spain, the Netherlands the United Kingdom and soon the United they are a subsidiary of international food, ingredients and retail group Associated British Foods. Primark first opened in June 1969 in Mary Street.

Primark Market position: Primark sell fashionable clothes at cheap prices.

Primark's products: All of the company's merchandise is made specifically for the company and as such Primark has its own brand names. Primark offer a diverse range of products, stocking everything from new born and kids clothing, to women's wear, menswear, home products, fashion accessories, shoes, beauty products and a confectionery.
(Source: Wikipedia)

4Hoteliers Image LibraryLillywhites: is a sports retailer based at Piccadilly Circus, London, United Kingdom. It is a division of Sports Direct International.

History: In the 19th century, several members of the Lillywhite family were leading cricketers; another, Fred Lillywhite, organized the first overseas tour by an England team to North America in 1859.

The shop has been based at its current location of 25 Regent St. on Piccadilly Circus since 1925. Back in those days, Lillywhites policy was to compete on quality products (which were charged at premium prices). For many years the company was owned by Forte Group.

Until 2002, Lillywhites also had locations in other major cities in the United Kingdom. In 2002 Lillywhites was bought and sold again in 2002 by Sports World International, the owner of the Sports World retail chain, and some of the outlying stores were rebranded as Sports World.
(Source: Wikipedia)

So the obvious question is: What ties these two brands together?

The answer: selling their goods at cheaper prices for a value conscious consumer market.

Last November, during the WTM, I met a friend who is a senior executive of a global hotel chain based in London. We had a long chat about the sharing economy effects.

One of the topics that we discussed was the effect that the Millenials will have on global hotel brands. I asked him if he" ever visited Primark mega store on Marble Arch?"

His answer was that he didn't know what Primark was.

I was speechless.

Well, Ladies and Gentlemen. Primark is the showcase of how Millenials shop.  

Primark sells fashionable clothes at cheap prices and that is precisely what the younger generation are  looking for when they shop and the same is what they look for when  they lodge: fashionable, functional, well designed, centrally located and most importantly "Low cost value for money".

With all honesty, I  think it is not great fun shopping there,  but the difference in price covers for all the shortcomings which are more than a few. When visiting London, great English manners come to mind. Not in Primark. Pushing and shoving are all over the place.  What counts to the shoppers is that a teenager could buy 10 tee-shirts, one pair of jeans, a baseball cap and a pack of five sport socks for as less as £40 which is just below  €50.

The only global lodging group that has launched a specially developed brand for the Millenials is Marriott with Moxy - The JV with IKEA.

Most of the other big players think that by making a few changes in the design of public spaces they will be able to adopt the brands to the new generation.

Ladies and gentlemen, please do think again!

There isn't much "brand loyalty" left out there. The OTA's are taking care of that part!

In a few years time, the "Baby Boomer" generation will fade away as the backbone of the global lodging industry and the Millenials will replace them.

Some rather conservative estimates are forecasting that in four years from today - 2018, 30-35% of the total global travel will consist of Millenials.

It is a fact that this generation is not as affluent as their parents and are less willing to splurge on hotels. For this generation, it's all about experiencing and interacting with locals and much less about the "home away from home" feeling.  Maybe we should find out what brands such as Holiday Inn, Novotel, Hilton, Sheraton stand for in the eyes of the younger generation.

What I suggest is to go back to the basics: we need to learn what our future customers needs are. It is not that difficult.

We must think "outside the box". 

"Revolution rater than Evolution"

Go out shopping with your children. Ask them what they like buying. Hire some young people freshly out of College and University and introduce them to your marketing teams. 

Do it for yourselves but most importantly, for your investors and your shareholders.

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.

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.

Joseph - Yossi - Fischer the CEO of Vision Hospitality & Travel - international lodging & Travel Solutions

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