Knowing your market has never been more important for the travel industry. Fortunately, there is a wealth of information now available about the largest generational market.
Researchers have found that the Millennial generation (those born from 1980- 1996) in particular know and appreciate the opportunity for retreat: time to recharge and rejuvenate. Time to keep things in balance. They also happen to like to hang with mom and dad.
Spa-like retreats and get-aways aren’t unique to the Millennial generation, but given this 80 million customer-market now out of college (or close to it) these young professionals command a significant part of the economy, coupled with the growing interest in unique experiences, rethinking your hotel spaces is worth some serious consideration.
Better Than What’s at Home.
As hotelier (and Hollywood heavyweight) Francis Ford Coppolla says, hotel baths should be “better than what the [guest has] at home.” A get-away is just that: getting away from what the average consumer has at home. It’s not a get-away if the hotel’s bath is just a different color scheme of one at home. That’s utilitarian. Normal. Nothing to write home about. While there is always a need to be practical elements, hotels shouldn’t have miniature, en masse replicas of what the average consumer has at home.
And while spa-like bathrooms are the ideal that magazines often write about, most home owners/renters don’t have “spa-like baths.” They might have elements of spa-experience items. They might even fantasize about having that spa-like bath experience. But most of your guests won’t have the “total” experience. Hotels have a unique opportunity to create the “total spa-bath experience” in their guest suites. Consider including the ephemeral luxury of:
- Oversized soaking tubs
- Extra-large, plush bath sheets
- Rainfall or water fall shower stalls
Heath and wellness has infused itself into every industry – and the travel industry is certainly not immune. Taking a holistic approach to your overall suite design will appeal to all your guests senses. Consider including:
- air purification systems,
- local mineral-enriched water, or
- steam rooms.
Even small spaces can feel roomy and luxurious with the right design. Rethinking the hotel suite layout can change a guest’s energy. Consider blurring the boundaries between “work spaces” and “sleeping spaces” and bathrooms with the use of sliding screens, glass block or smoked glass. Such elements can keep natural light flowing in, open spaces, and yet allow guests to create privacy when needed.
Unplug – But Not Too Much.
Spas or spa-like environments evoke a sense of “unplugging.” But don’t think that “unplugging” means that you can skimp or cut back on technology. Just like a bad hair cut or old eye glasses, nothing dates a hotel faster than inadequate, out of date, or poorly implemented technology.
While technology means more than just well placed outlets, truly thinking through how your customer uses and carries their technology around. For example, do your customers use their smart phones as their alarm clocks? Do they play music on their smart phones while in the bath or shower relaxing? The savvy hotelier anticipates how customers incorporate their technology tools into their stay and tries to accommodate their needs.
That doesn’t mean you have to have the latest tech toys, but it does mean you need to think about the technology that will matter to your customers – and that it works. Consistently. Consider creating:
- additional self-check in capabilities,
- your own app to being able to text the concierge, make reservations, or order room service,
Incorporating the right mix of technology will create a unique extension of the customer experience – and one that would appeal strongly with a majority of your traveler market.
And maybe by thinking through how your customer really uses their technology, you’ll give them the peace of mind and the ability to relax that other market players don’t.
Learn More About Creating Hotel Experiences:
- Project Spotlight: The rise of technology in bathrooms – Hotel Designs
- Branded Experiences: It’s More than Just a Logo