When I joined ResortSuite a year ago, the first thing I noticed within the hospitality industry was the trend of targeting Millennials. “According to HVS Global Hospitality Services, the average spending power of Millennials will reach a climax in 2017”1. So it’s a pretty relevant conversation to have. Depending on who you ask, Millennials generally are those born in the early 1980s to the late 1990s and consist mainly of 20-something’s.
As a millennial who enjoys traveling and frequent visits to spas, I want to give you a first-hand account of what drives myself and my peers’ booking decisions, so you can better understand this new generation of wellness travelers.
- Availability – Anytime, Anywhere aka “Online Booking”
The thing that turns me off the most is a tab on a spa website that says “Email us to book your appointment”. Or even worse, “Call us to book your appointment”.
In the 18 – 30 age group, most of us during the day are at work or at school. If I want to book a spa appointment this weekend or plan my vacation for the next month, I want to see what’s available and book in real-time. I want it right now.
And I definitely won’t have time to call between the hours of 9 AM and 5 PM to ask about what times are available for a massage treatment or get more details about the activities that I can book during my upcoming vacation, especially at a full-service resort with many offerings.
When do I really have the time to do this?
Well, I’m browsing through my phone constantly during my spare time, my morning and end of day commute, at home when I’m cooking dinner or eating my takeout food. This is where Mobile and Online Booking comes into play.
Trust me, it’s happened more than once that I’ve booked more than what I planned to just because I saw what was available online at 11 PM. If I’m already on your website and have booked a room, let me book more! It’s upselling without a salesperson or commissions to payout. There have actually been times that I just moved on to a different option just because there’s no easy way to plan my vacation within a single booking experience.
- Deliver an Authentic Experience that Provides More Value aka the “Experience Economy”
A few months ago, I went online to the Elmwood Spa website, located here in Downtown Toronto. At the time, I planned on booking a 60-minute Swedish massage to take advantage of my work benefits.
I had a quick look to see what else was available out of curiosity and ended up on the Signature Treatments tab. I ended up booking the LIT’YA Binhumarri Body Ritual –more than twice the price of that 60-minute Swedish massage that I planned to book.
Why did I book it? Even though it was twice the price, I got an aromatherapy massage, scalp treatment, and full-body exfoliation. It was also indicated that it’s a unique treatment not offered in any other spa in Toronto – which definitely heightened my curiosity. It’s been months and I can still remember how great that service was, and of course, I posted about my experience on Facebook, and have recommended it to others. Plus, it definitely made a great conversation piece with my girlfriends.
- Personalize and Build Loyalty
Personally, I love when technology greets me, knows what I like, and shows me things I may be interested in. My mom thinks it’s “creepy” when her phone or bank machine knows her name, but I love it. Almost every day, I order my favourite coffee on my Starbucks app, then I go pick it up without waiting in line and it has my (correctly spelled) name on the cup. And those days when I’ve collected enough points to get a free coffee? Makes my morning! I like my vacations to be similar. Easy, personalized, and seamless. And rewarding me for enhancing my trip? I’m in!
When exploring vacation options, one of my first thoughts is “How much can I save with my points?” and “How many points can I get from this trip?”. Most Millennials aren’t earning the highest salaries, but desire travel and adventure, and so we make sure we do everything we can to get the best deal. With rent and car payments due every month and student loans to pay off, aka #adulting, I usually sign up for loyalty programs or email lists for hotels and resorts whenever they’re available. And if I can get 20% off of a spa treatment when I stay 3 nights or more? Yeah, I’ll make it a long weekend with a massage. Especially if I can make the appointment on my phone.
I’m in this stage of my life where there’s no one else to think of but myself. It’s nice to be at a point where I’m not married yet, I don’t have kids, and I’m able to see places I’ve always wanted to go. With limited vacation funds and time off, I’m looking for a unique experience, and refuse to settle for a standard, mediocre, and less memorable one.
I strongly urge the hospitality industry to get on board with the new generation of travel consumers, as annoying as you may think we are. There is a lot of technology out there that can keep you up to date with Millennials’ needs. We are so ready to enjoy the best times of our lives at your properties, so grab our attention and make it easy for us! Because you’ve seen our attention span, we’ll swipe and the chance will be gone.
1Acton, Scott. “The Experience Economy: A Shift in Hotel Profitability.” Web article. National Viewpoint. Commercial Property Executive, 5 April 2017. Web. 25 April 2017.