For millennials — the computer-savvy 20- to 30-somethings — life is all at your fingertips, and with new technology mushrooming at unspeakable speeds, it’s time the hospitality industry take heed, especially of a group that’s been predicted to become its biggest customers by 2020.
According to the latest Grant Thornton report titled “Hotels 2020: Welcoming Tomorrow’s Guests”, the hotel industry is already late in implementing the much-needed changes to meet the needs of this quickly growing market. In the meantime, the sharing economy — enter Airbnb — has taken the lead by identifying the new demands of Generation Y and replacing obsolete items such as desks and closets with handy hooks, outlets and wall-mounted screens, making stays cheaper, more functional and closer to the local feel.
Leisure & hospitality industry advisors Thomas Thorton found that for major hotel players the challenge ahead is to turn their product into a unique lifestyle experience featuring all those hidden secrets of the destination plus exclusivity.
For the typical millennial, who turns to online travel sites and peer reviews to plan trips, travel is now about feeling like a local, hanging out in the neighborhood, plugging in any time and anywhere and all this at a lower cost.
The urgency for the sector is demonstrated in recent findings which reveal that 30 percent of all hoteliers worldwide are hiring social media experts while Europe’s largest hotel group, AccorHotels, will be investing 225 million euros by next year for its digital upgrade.