By Ardalan Zandian on July 2, 2015 at 8:30 AM
They're demanding, the most difficult to please, and can be annoying; but Millennials represent a staggering amount of buying power and wealth that cannot be ignored. With a staggering 80 million millennials in America, this generation makes up about 25% of the entire population. More importantly, millennials represent more than $200 billion in buying power each year and have a high expectations for your small independent hotel. As a result, it's important to know what they are looking for and how to avoid displeasing this generation. Continue reading to learn 10 reasons millennials are not staying at your independent hotel.
#1 Invisible Online Presence
Millennials do everything online from shopping to dating. If your hotel doesn't have an online presence, you can count on never attracting a single millennial. In any case, millennials embrace today's technology and will always check out websites for photos and descriptions of the property. You can be sure they have browsed through social media profiles and online reviews to see what other guests have said about your hotel. As a result, it's important for your independent hotel to have a strong online presence.
#2 No Online Booking
If your independent hotel doesn't offer guests the ability to reserve rooms online, you are surely not attracting millennials. The millennial generation believes heavily in instant gratification and is more comfortable booking rooms online than they are over the phone. And they're not alone! According to Amadeus, 41% of business travelers and 60% of leisure travelers make their travel arrangements through the Internet. This means if your hotel doesn't offer online booking, you missing more business than just the millennial generation.
#3 Weak Mobile Experience
If millennials are nothing else, they are well connected with smartphones, tablets, and other mobile devices. According to SDL Innovate, millennials touch their smartphones up to 43 times every day, which includes researching and making travel reservations. If your website doesn't offer an excellent mobile experience, you can forget about tapping into that $200 billion buying power of the millennial. According to Google's 2014 Traveler's Road to Decision:
57% of business travelers and 38% of leisure travelers use mobile to get travel information
52% of travelers have used a tablet or smartphone to finalize bookings or reservations
#4 Failure to Immediately Confirm Bookings
As previously mentioned, millennials expect instant gratification, particularly with confirmation of their reservations. If your booking engine doesn't send an email automatically after the reservation is made, you are failing to give millennials the peace of mind they are used to. With the wide number of fraudulent scams out there, this is one way you can guarantee their information is safe and your hotel is legitimate.
#5 Unprofessional Response to Negative Reviews
It's difficult to not be offended when someone is slamming your hotel in an online review. It's even harder not to jump online and offer your opinion to the reviewer. However, if you argue or become overly defensive, it will further tarnish the reputation of your hotel. Why? According to HotelCluster, 81% of travelers find user reviews important and 49% of customer will not book a hotel without reading reviews. Simply put, your customers are looking, so always be on your best behavior. Instead of taking a negative review as a jab, take it as the opportunity to improve and another way to wow your guests the next time.
#6 No Pre Check-in Check Up
Since millennials are used to a high level of service, it's imperative you contact them before their check-in. This simple and personal effect lets them know you are prepared and looking forward to their stay. It's best to send this reminder about a week before their stay through your booking system.
#7 Not there for Check-In
Millennials are highly demanding and hate waiting, especially for a room that was supposed to be ready upon their arrival. In many cases, the moment you finally decide to sneak away from the desk is when they show up to check in. Even if you have hoards of things to take care of around the property, you must be there when your guests arrive.
First and foremost, you must be able to access everything in your booking engine, including reservations from your mobile device remotely. However, you don't have to be physically at the front desk to keep an eye on business. Just keep your tablet or smartphone with you at all times! In addition, your booking solution or PMS should enable you to request and stay on top of vital information, including check-in times, regardless of the sales channel you're using.
#8 Double Booked Rooms
If your inventory isn't updated across all channels in real time, it will allow more than one booking for the same room, which is something that simply enrages millennials. In damage recovery mode, you may instantly try to reschedule your guest for another date, but you realize that time is already booked and you didn't get updated on your calendar. Unfortunately, this cycle continues until your online reviews by millennials (and they do leave online reviews) warns others from staying at your hotel.
The problem of double booking frustrates millennials like not other. However, this problem is easily rectifiable by having a PMS that integrates your inventory across all sales channels. When one guest books through Expedia, your PMS should automatically update with the inventory on all other sites in real time.
#9 Forgotten Special Requests
Millennials are very particular and can be extremely specific with their special requests. For example, if they request having the Wall Street Journal instead of the NY Times at their door in the morning, it's important to meet their specific needs. In this case, your booking engine should allow you to add special request information or booking notes at the time of the booking. If you get it right, you increase the chances the millennial will rave about your hotel's attention to detail. If you get it wrong, you will have an annoyed millennial and bad review.
#10 Failing to Acknowledge a Positive Review
If you are failing to acknowledge or respond to reviews through online review sites, it could paint your hotel in a negative light. These reviews present an unparalleled opportunity for independent hotels to hear what your guests truly think. However, if a millennial guest takes the time to leave a positive review and you fail to cash in on the opportunity, you are missing a huge opportunity to promote your independent hotel to future guests. The first step is to stay connected with the various review sites through your PMS.
Millennials are demanding, picky, and have big expectations. However, you can effectively meet and even exceed their expectations by simply having the right PMS, which is FrontDesk Anywhere. With FrontDesk Anywhere, you can:
Engage your guests
Manage the details
Avoid double bookings
Present an attractive mobile booking experience
Bolster your online reputation
Contact FrontDesk Anywhere to learn how this booking engine is designed to help you tap into the wealth of buying power harnessed by millennials.