Captivating the Digital Generation
By David Hogan Executive Director of Major Accounts, Heartland Payment Systems | November 08, 2015
Millennials' needs and tastes differ from previous generations. Being raised in the digital era means millennials are not merely engaged with tech, they are tech dependent. But technology evolves so quickly that it can be hard for some businesses to keep up. Introducing new technology can be expensive, but if companies don't embrace the latest tech trends, they risk missing the wave entirely and becoming outdated.
Increasingly, hotels and restaurants can choose technology that is flexible. Ideally, any technology that is implemented should be able to grow with the business using an open architecture, meaning it will not have to be replaced annually by something newer. Technology should be viewed as a business driver, not a fad that can easily go the way of the hotel minibar. A TripAdvisor consumer study revealed that only 21 percent of respondents wanted a hotel minibar, making it the least valued hotel amenity.
Considering millennials, also known as Generation Y, represent more than 80 million people in the U.S., surpassing baby boomers as the nation's largest generation, hotels and restaurants need to research and make sure they know how this generation wants to be served. Though challenging, it is not impossible to find a general consensus on the tastes of this generation.
Mobility is incredibly important to millennials, making it equally as important to the hospitality industry. According to data from GSMA Intelligence, the number of active mobile devices in 2014 surpassed the human population on earth. Millennials are the largest group of smartphone owners. A second-quarter report by Nielsen in 2014 reported that over 85 percent of millennials own smartphones.
Gen Y feels the need to constantly connect and gain access to the internet. A study from HotelREZ found that the need for connection is so strong that 80 percent of millennials sleep right next to their smartphone, never letting their devices leave their side. So it should be no surprise that Wi-Fi tops the chart on a Hotels.com survey as the number one amenity hotel leisure and business customers want.