Ask Anthony: Are Hoteliers Too Focused on Millennials?

Anthony Melchiorri, host and creator of Travel Channel’s Hotel Impossible and Five Star Secrets, loves dishing out advice. From sharing best practices to tackling operational issues, he’s here to answer your questions.

Should hoteliers be so focused on millennials?

Is it just me or are millennials the most idolized group we’ve ever had to cater to? Consisting of those who came of age around the year 2000, this generation places a high relevance on value and technology and tends to demand flexibility, social areas to work and congregate in, complimentary breakfast, and, of course, free Wi-Fi.

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Seventy-six million baby boomers drove the design and function of hotels for decades; but there are 79 million millennials. In this demographic, 58 percent prefer traveling with friends (20 percent higher than prior generations), booking windows are two weeks shorter, and 36 percent prefer working in lobbies and public areas, which is double the percentage of predecessor generations.

Millennials are an important group, but technology, flexibility, and service are factors that I myself also value. In fact, aren’t those really the key factors in the success of any hotel business?

As I’ve previously mentioned, the reason four-star hotels are slipping and three-star properties are growing—thereby causing five-star hotels to be more competitive—is not because of millennials but rather because they set fire to the things we should have been talking about in hotels over the last 20 years.

What does a change in generation mean for hotels? I would offer this historic paraphrase for the modern era hotelier: Ask not what you can do for millennials, ask what you can do for your guests.