Target, Engage and Win Millennial Business in Hospitality

By Sharmila Chand

Today, Millennials spend 70% more on experiences than purchasing items. These young adults seek experiences with travel rather than settling down. They are passionate about travel and willing to spend extravagantly in hotels that cater to their taste and demands. 

This means hotels have had to accommodate this new generation. But what exactly attracts these millennials? We ask hospitality experts and get to know the tricks of the trade. 

Offers Exclusively for Millennials 

Sudip Sinha, Food & Beverage Manager, Bengaluru Marriott Hotel Whitefield

Group Discounts - Nowadays, millennials make the most of every occasion and enjoy celebrating in big groups. Our offers like 20% discount on F&B or a special beverage package of INR 1000++ per person offers unlimited IMFL for a group of 6 and above. 

Set meals - For Millennials, time is precious and they prefer having a set menu that saves them f r o m the hassle involved in choosing f r o m a regular menu. We at the hotel believe in offering a specially crafted set menu at our specialty restaurant - Whitefield Bar & Grill and Alto Vino. 

Touchpoints - The hotel keeps into account various touchpoints that will engage millennials. For example, we offer our guests tasting samples of the varied selection of beers at Whitefield Bar and Grill before ordering the one which suits their tastes best.

Fitness and Wellness Offerings - Millennials are more appreciative of fitness and wellness offerings during their stay than elderly guests. We therefore offer special physical training sessions to our guests along with complimentary rejuvenating spa treatments at Serena Spa. We also provide fitness center memberships for locals with personalised attention to their fitness regimes at our state of the art fitness center. 

Roopa Singh, Director of Rooms, JW Marriott Mussoorie Walnut Grove Resort & Spa 

Millennials are the next evolving luxury travelers. As a luxury resort we strive to target these millennials and provide them with an insight into the scenic beauty of Mussoorie through the experiences at JW Marriott Mussoorie Walnut Grove Resort & Spa. Catering to their needs, we have carefully crafted some exciting and unique packages to attract millennials to the resort. 

To name a few, ‘Pay less Stay more’ which offers a lavish buffet breakfast and 15% discount on F&B and Spa on minimum of 3-night stay; ‘Pay for 2 Stay for 3’ is a great option for a trio of friends or travelers. While, if one opts for the ‘Suite dream package’, they can avail a 20% off BAR rate or an exciting meal for a day. ‘The Family Retreat’ is the most exciting package that offers 50% off on additional room for kids making it a perfect family stay in the serene destination of Mussoorie.

Vikas Sharma, General Manager, Sheraton Hyderabad Hotel Gachibowli

At Sheraton Hyderabad Hotel we aim to appeal our millennial guests through various ongoing offers that are unique, vibrant and appealing to youngsters. 

Happy Hours at Link - Our 24/7 neighborhood café, Link, allows millennial guests to unwind post work and grab a drink with friends or colleagues with exciting Happy Hour offers. 

Zega Lunch Offers (Dim Sum Offer / Late Night Happy hours) – The signature Pan-Asian restaurant, Zega, provides guests with exclusive lunch offers for a quick bite during a work break and extended happy hour offers for those working late for a healthy and scrumptious meal.

Vikas Kumar, General Manager, The Westin Pushkar Resort & Spa

Millennials seek for exclusivity and are keen to explore destinations that are filled with exciting experiences and unique attractions. Keeping this in mind, we at The Westin Pushkar Resort & Spa have a host of offerings for them. Mix, The Bar is a lively, soulful affair that gives a new heart to Pushkar’s social scene. We serve an innovative cocktail portfolio- handcrafted by our mixologists, with two seating levels that allows privacy for millennials.

Somali Bajpai, Marketing Communications Manager, Crowne Plaza Today New Delhi Okhla

Millennials are undoubtly the largest consumer demographic group in today’s world. Hence, it is very interesting to analyse their spending capacity as well the spending behaviour that makes them crucial for any hotel’s revenue targets. At Crowne Plaza Today New Delhi Okhla, we have curated interesting offers and packages keeping millennial preferences in mind.

Happy Hours and Bond over Spa at Spazzo - We celebrate 11 am to 3 pm as Happy Hours at Spa where we offer 50 percent off on all spa and salon services during weekdays. We observed that while millennials love to indulge, a lot of them are apprehensive of entering a five star hotel. Happy Hours at Spa help us connect with a new set of customers who fall in love with us and come back for more. 

Another interesting offer is Bond over Spa where we encourage the guests to come in a pair to avail a special package at half of its original price. Again, it’s a new concept where we tell them to ditch the regular coffee meet ups and have a great SPA Party (we call it Sparty) with us.

Collaboration with food aggregators and online platforms - It would not be an irony if I say that this generation of millennials is married to their mobile phones.  Keeping this insight in mind, we have collaborated with various online platforms such as DineOut, NearBuy, Gourmet Passport and Zomato where we offer lucrative 1+1/2+2 offers for our guests. Since millennials depend a lot on ratings, online reviews, deals & packages before finalising a venue, our presence on such platforms is a must.

Corporate Lunch Deals - We are a business hotel with lot of corporate offices in the vicinity. To tap that market, we have recently introduced a special Corporate Lunch Offer at our global cuisine restaurant Edesia. Under this offer, the guests can enjoy lunch buffet at a special price of INR 1600 AI on showing a valid corporate id. This is a steal deal for all the millennials working at the corporates since Edesia boasts of one of the largest buffet in the capital.

Pheras by the Pool for weddings - Millennials love unique wedding concepts. With our Pheras by the pool side, the couple can exchange their vows amidst the picturesque surroundings, theme based mandap and the poolside ambience. 

Exclusive Experiences 

Roopa Singh, Director of Rooms, JW Marriott Mussoorie Walnut Grove Resort & Spa 

Uttarakhand is famous for mountains, valleys and rivers. So, we arrange for a unique dining experience close to a stream for the travelers who want to experience the natural beauty of the state far f r o m the hustle bustle of cities. The guests also get to experience the scrumptious local cuisine with a closer look at the culture and traditions of the Garhwal community during their visit to Sainji, the unique corn village of Uttarakhand. The adventurous treks and trails in the Himalayan pine forest and overnight camping is an additional incentive for the adventure seekers.

Neeraj Lumb, Director of Rooms, Sheraton Grand Bengaluru Whitefield Hotel & Convention Center

Knowing how tech savvy and dependent the millennials are on their phones, we have introduced mobile friendly services. At Marriott International we offer our guest- Express Check in, an option to check in f r o m their mobile phones. The feature notifies them about the status of the room even before they arrive at the hotel. Guests have an option to communicate with the hotel staff anytime through their mobile apps using the chat option. Online chat is a 24*7 service they can use for a quicker response and to avail any hotel service at their fingertips!

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Somali Bajpai, Marketing Communications Manager, Crowne Plaza Today New Delhi Okhla

Let me begin by sharing few insights about millennial behavior:

  • Millennials prefer self-service
  • They prefer customisation over generalisation
  • They are technology freaks and super connected over different devices and platforms
  • They appreciate and value brand engagement on social media and pro actively share their reviews and experiences online
  • They love to celebrate festivals, occasions, popular days with their friends and family and hence are on a look out for attractive deals and packages

Keeping these points in mind we curate special packages, theme based experiences in order to attract the millennials. While geo targeted ads and SEO remains our key online media strategy, we focus on content marketing in a story telling format to keep our audiences hooked. 

Presence on various online platforms such as TripAdvisor, Booking.com, Expedia and Make My Trip is a must considering the fact that millennials will research well before finalising on the hotel. A good way to attract a millennial guest would be to offer a virtual tour of the property on these platforms that would encourage them to make your hotel a preferred destination. 

Additionally, a personalised touch by the staff would not only be noticed but also acknowledged on the social media platforms. At Crowne Plaza Today New Delhi Okhla, we offer special rates and packages during festivals & important occasions to increase the foot falls. In a nutshell, it is important to think and act like a millennial to devise hotel strategies for this consumer group.

Sudip Sinha, Food & Beverage Manager, Bengaluru Marriott Hotel Whitefield

Millennials are tech savvy and quite open to change. At Bengaluru Marriott Whitefield, we understand this and go beyond to innovate and keep up with the ongoing trends. We have designed our lobby and Executive Lounge keeping all these factors in mind, with The great room concept, our hotel knocks down the architectural barriers creating adaptable spaces that are ideal to work and with easy access to the latest technologies. Also, the complimentary Wi-Fi and printer access allows our guests to prep for their meetings or get work done between their appointments.

Roopa Singh, Director of Rooms, JW Marriott Mussoorie Walnut Grove Resort & Spa 

JW Marriott Mussoorie Walnut Grove Resort and Spa has features like Jack Pack and I-Home that allows the guests to access all hotel services digitally and quickly. However, the need of the hour is to take a short break f r o m technology and steal time for oneself. So, we have come up with an initiative of The Freedom Box, wherein we request our guests to take a digital detox and enjoy the setting of the picturesque surroundings of the resort more than anything else.

Tips on How Brands can successfully Market to Millennials 

Sudip Sinha, Food & Beverage Manager, Bengaluru Marriott Hotel Whitefield

  • By offering affordable services and great deals on group bookings
  • Being technologically friendly is essential to keep with the momentum of millennial guests
  • Offering engaging and recreational activities appeals to our guests and ensures they have an enjoyable and amusing stay
  • Offering wellness and fitness services to guests during their stay allows them to have a holistic and wholesome experience even when on the go.

Somali Bajpai, Marketing Communications Manager, Crowne Plaza Today New Delhi Okhla

Up your online game - Ask yourself questions like - Is your website up to date? Does booking through it take less than a minute? Does your hotel have actively managed social media accounts across a range of platforms such as Facebook, Instagram and Twitter etc? Do they drive traffic for direct bookings? 

If the answer to any of these questions is no, your online booking channels are not optimised, and you are almost certainly losing customers to your rivals. It is equally important to request your guests to leave their reviews on these platforms that would encourage future business.

Engage with social media influencers to curate interesting content around your hotel - Be it rooms, spa, food & beverage or weddings. These stories go a long way influencing the customer’s mind without them realising it. Similarly, content on hotel’s owned social media platforms needs to be interactive and engaging for guests to connect with the brand.

Make your hotel instagrammable and experiential - This is a free yet most impactful kind of marketing that would reach the masses. The activity starts right f r o m the hotel décor, fun concepts, unique dining experiences, artistic backdrops, live performances which could be amusing for the millennials.

Sustainable offerings - As a brand, we need to be more environment friendly and socially aware. It is important to adopt and promote the sustainability practices at the hotel. This could be as simple as ban of plastic straw to water conservation practices. Millennials would appreciate such efforts f r o m the hotel and such endeavours go a long way.

Experiential concepts - Millennials are adventure seekers who want to explore and learn while they travel. Right f r o m curating interesting food experiences to spa sessions, fun activities inside hotel to local tour to the city, it is very important to create a personal experience for every guest that he or she will take with himself. Even a simple activity like coffee art or towel art can do the trick while a Farm-To-Table or Eat-Like-A-Local is a sure shot victory.
 

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