Millennials are more interested in experiences than things, so it’s easy to see why the hospitality industry is focusing on public areas.
The Global Business Travel Association tells us that Millennials are twice as likely to travel for business as the Baby Boomer generation. So, if you combine needs with preferences, it’s easy to see why the hospitality industry is moving away from a focus on the hotel room and placing it on public areas such as the lobby.
As Millennials flex their growing spending power, they’re checking into hotels and expecting flexible shared spaces for interaction, much like the coworking spaces where they get daily work done.
A quick check of their Instagram accounts is all a designer needs to understand the preferences that drive the Millennial choice of hotel rooms. They’re not interested in generous furniture and a full-size office desk – which likely didn’t work well with the laptop they’ve replaced with their mobile device, anyway.
Simple practicality is their design mantra. Millennials would prefer a headboard that converts into a mini desktop surface. If it’s furniture, please equip it with a sliding tablet holder or a pull-out lap tray. Extra points if you glam it up.
The social media nexus
Who do Millennials trust even more than the brands they patronize? Their online contemporaries. Millennials make their hotel choices based on Instagram and YouTube posts, which focus on the experience rather than the property itself. Social influencer marketing is a mainstay for the fashion and beauty industries – which are about experience. The hospitality and travel industries are even more about the experience.
Social media is key. Millennials will book most of their dining, transportation, and recreation selection through social media avenues while they travel for business or pleasure – and they’ll share those choices with their network. What do Millennials like about the aesthetics of your hotel’s design? Check the images they’re taking and posting on Instagram when they stay with you.
Does it align with the design features you’re most proud of? The proof is in the pictures – or the GIFs and videos.
All design roads lead to experience
It’s not that Millennials are selfish. They love to share, and they are the quintessential engine of social media. What they’re rejecting, though, are environments that require them to shift their worldview into a hotel designer’s vision. Millennials crave personalized experiences which allow them to insert their own personality into a hospitality experience.
It might initially sound like hotels are ceding design responsibility to the next generation of guests, but it’s not necessarily about customization as much as it is about optimization. Millennial guests appreciate personalization, even if it’s a moveable wall to redefine a room.
New lighting systems let them set the mood of their room with color and brightness.
A sense of place
A preference for experiences over things offers the hospitality industry to pull the entire local environment into the design pallet. Millennials equate traveling with the development of their personal identity, and most of them want an immersive experience.
An immersive experience is an authentic experience, where local flavor drives the design of a hotel property. What can local history contribute to what’s found in rooms and public areas? It offers hotel designers the opportunity to collaborate with local artists. Canopy by Hilton has embraced this approach. You’ll see it in the overall design, but the cohesion is in amenities and services that reflect locality and culture.
The Beachwood Custom team has been immersed in the hospitality industry since 1992 with a range of experience including design, purchasing, manufacturing, and installation – the art of opening a hotel. We know what design aspects appeal to the Millennial sensibility. Contact us today to see how we can help.