Eight Hospitality Trends that Define Millennial Travelers

Millennial travelers are on the rise. You can spot them with their smartphones waiting for a flight, working on their Macbook in a hotel lobby, or maybe even hailing a taxi while still in a meeting.

1600xBy 2030, this generation of travelers is expected to reach 78 million and outnumber baby boomers by 18 million, according to hospitality consulting firm HVS.

HVS published a report on the top 10 trends of millennials travelers last month, which looks at how these young, digital travelers make travel choices and what they expect from established and blooming brands.

We’re consolidated the list to eight trends, these are:

1. The need for speed

Millennials want their needs met quickly and that means everything from Wi-Fi speeds to hotel check-ins. Millennials will click off a hotel’s website and onto Google if they can’t find information fast and will turn to a smartphone app before a concierge for local advice.

The most physical manifestation of millennials’ need for speed is the hotel check-in kiosk, which can be found at brands like Aloft and Yotel. Thirty-six percent of millennials prefer automated check-ins without staff interaction, according to HVS.

2. Constant connectivity

Wi-Fi is not viewed as an amenity, but as a requirement among millennial travelers.

Other hotels will likely soon follow IHG, which recently announced free Wi-Fi for all IHG Rewards Club members.

3. Millennials as a marketing tool

Millennials guests are also the best form of marketing. They take photos, share them with friends, and constantly share tips with peers. Attracting millennial guests is good for business because they are more likely to share positive reviews and recommendations with friends than their older counterparts.

For millennials, what a hotel actually offers might not be as important as the perception millennials hold of the hotel. A reputation can be built up by peers and cemented on social media.

4. Niche review sites

Millennials will consult traditional review sites such as Yelp and TripAdvisor, but are more likely to trust niche lifestyle sites like Thrillist or goop. These sites have built a trusted brand among millennials and only review restaurants, hotels, and destinations that meet a certain standard.

“On average, a Millennial will check 10.2 sources before booking,” says the HVS report.

5. Last-minute bookings

Millennials book an average of 18 days closer to their stay than older guests. Millennials also are more likely make last-minute bookings on a mobile device. Hotels’ online information and bookings must be readily available on mobile with up-to-date inventory.

6. Open work areas

Millennials are twice as likely as older business travelers to want to work outside of their room. They seek a “third space” that’s designed for working and socializing.

The industry standard, according to HVS, is the Marriott Courtyard’s Bistro Lobby with bar and pod seating.

7. Design matters

Millennials seek hotels with an extra design, culinary, or artistic touch. Sum it up as the “Instagram effect,” or the need for young travelers to be able to find at least one distinctive or unique object or event to share with their friends in order for hotel to meet their expectations.

8. Price > Space

Millennials will happily swap space for price as evidenced by the rise of pod hotels like CitizenM and Qbic.

Rooms are small, but they are often well-designed with free tech amenities like Wi-Fi. Community spaces become the focus of such hotels, which suit socializing millennials just fine.