Millennials spend more than $200 billion on travel each year, according to FutureCast’s Millennial Brief on Travel & Lodging. That number is expected to increase as most have yet to reach their peak earning and spending potential, making them a valuable demographic for hotels.
Unlike previous generations, Millennials have very specific preferences as to how and why they book travel, and different expectations from the trip itself. The FutureCast brief reported that 72 percent of Millennials choose to prioritize experiences over luxury and material goods, and valued a great experience three times more than a bargain or great price. This is the basis of the Experience Economy—the business of creating memorable events for guests. When marketing in this economy, the memory becomes the product. Additionally, share-worthy travel experiences have added value for those looking to connect and engage with friends and peers with similar interests on social media.
Rather than just selling a comfortable bed, amenities, star ratings, or a brand name, hoteliers can better appeal to Millennial travelers by communicating the unique, share-worthy travel experiences that their property offers. Here are four ways to effectively communicate those experiences:
Share past guests’ posts to communicate personal experiences.
Engage with guests who post during their stay or about the property by liking or commenting on their post, and sharing it with followers across social media channels. This strategy can yield an increase in bookings as 86 percent of Millennial travelers were inspired by online content to book a trip, according to the FutureCast briefing. Personal connections and interactions with brands will resonate more on social media, so keep the tone of messages conversational and avoid formulaic responses.
Highlight videos showcasing experiences, not just photos of rooms.
If a hotel hosts amazing pool parties or local events, sharing those videos on social media would be more likely to inspire consumers to book than a static photo of a pool. Use this kind of content across all channels, from Instagram and Snapchat Stories to Facebook Live, all of which can serve as a highly effective showcase of a property’s unique experiential offerings.
Share valuable destination content.
By sharing informative content about a destination online (not sales information), a hotel become a valuable and recognized resource to potential guests. When it comes time for travelers to book, they are more likely to choose a hotel or brand that they are already familiar with because they have built up trust and may be more confident that their overall experience will be positive.
An added bonus to implementing this marketing tactic is that interesting and informative articles or blog posts about a destination will often be shared organically on social media, as most users want to share valuable information with their friends or followers. This can boost a property’s visibility with potential guests.
Use booking channels that appeal to Millennials’ specific travel booking needs.
There are hundreds of OTAs and booking apps available today, and some communicate with Millennial consumers better than others. By listing a property’s inventory on a variety of booking apps and online channels that specifically target Millennials, a hotel is better positioned to get the most bookings.
Today, hotels must embrace the Experience Economy and update their marketing to emphasize what potential guests will experience during their stay. If done right, hotels can increase both their occupancy and RevPAR, and better position themselves for the future.
About the Author
Mike Murray is the founder of Vir.al, a new content-driven hotel booking app and website.